Most Difficult Painting?

I was just sitting looking out of my window, nice sunny afternoon with lots of light and shade so I was playing a little game of 'guess the value' and 'how to mix shadow colours' in my head.
I then started wondering what the most difficult painting would be with the widest range of values and colours and came to the conclusion it would be something like a fire outside in the moonlight. The range of values and warms and cools would be quite the feat to mix.
Anyone else have thoughts on difficult scenes to achieve?


  • I think the Gerhard Richter candle paintings would be difficult to pull off. 

    I have been wondering along a similar line lately. ….  
    How would I be able to paint an emotion?  Music seems to hit me more emotionally so like when I hear music I get strong feelings.  I am sure the feeling is unique to everyone, but then I think, how could I paint such that someone viewing the painting would feel the same emotions?
  • edited March 8
    Interesting thoughts, @Intothevoid and @GTO

    In terms of the range of values and colours, @intothevoid, I think close-up ruffled water reflecting bright sunlight is the most difficult.  Not only can there be a huge range of values and colour but the shapes of the ripples are very complex and can be quite irregular. Also, it's impossible to match the real brightness of the full sun glinting off the side of a ripple with paint. 

    @GTO, I've wondered about the expression of emotion in art, too. Some music seems to effect me viscerally but leave others cold. Some paintings do the same for me, and I've wondered, when considering whether to paint a subject, whether it will effect others the way it effects me. I don't think we can know for sure. I guess we just have to try it and see.  

    These questions would have been great topics for one of our Weekly Questions.  :)
  • Fire outside in the moonlight. The range of values and warms and cools would be quite the feat to mix.
    Both by Marek Rużyk, a Polish artist.
  • Exactly my thought, @tassieguy!  It's a great question.

    I always wonder how painting a patterned fabric would work, such as the ridiculously expensive gold colored shimmery dots fabric in this portrait of the Empress Josephine by Pierre Paul Prudhon (I snipped the photo to a portion of the dress)

  • edited March 8
    Yes, that would be a be a challenge, @allforChrist. I guess that one could approach it in stages. Maybe paint the gray fabric first with its shadows and highlights and then the shiny dots on top of that, varying their brightness in line with their position on the fabric with respect to the light.  :)
  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that, @tassieguy!  It helps me to be less intimidated in my own painting... certainly more than once have I decided to skip details on fabric.
  • @Abstraction
    Wow! They are wonderful paintings and also an example of what @GTO was talking about with an expression of emotions through painting.
    It is what I have always been interested in, the hidden language of art and it's ability to communicate ideas, feelings and emotions between minds.

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