Working on a new set up

edited August 2015 in Post Your Paintings
I recently purchased a laptop stand at an office supply store. It has a black top, perfect for still life set up the Carder way. It holds a small set up the tri-fold black card board panelling that I use as a light box. I'm not able to paint my walls black at this time for a true, Carder studio, but I do what I can. Now, with the lap top table, I can do a set up where it is most convenient for me. I'm no longer confined to the one spot in the whole house that can be used as a set up surface. This set up is much brighter in real life than in the photo. I'm pretty excited! I did not finish the painting with the white pitcher. The Western blanket was too 'busy' and the painting was too boring without it.



  • Brighter in real life than the photo? Or did you mean darker in real life? The photo is overexposed. If you want the shadow areas to show more, I would recommend not painting on in an all-black box (lay a tablecloth underneath for example). Otherwise, if your intention is for the shadows to be lighter, you will have to blow your highlights out (or get all your values wrong in the painting), both of which are no good.

    By the way, don't feel bad about the walls, you really don't need to paint your walls black. Just hang a curtain behind you to make sure you aren't getting glare on your painting, and make sure you're not getting glare from above and beyond your shadow box if you're using a color checker (which you can also solve with a curtain or something, any dark obstruction).
  • I meant brighter in real life.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] admin
    edited August 2015
    You might have a value range problem then. Since your highlights are blown out in the photo, and your shadow areas are black in the photo, this generally indicates that you will not be able to use accurate values in your paint (which is limited in range just like photos are). If you're not painting realism this is no problem, but if you are, it will be a lot easier to fix the lighting than to try to make the painting look realistic with the light as is.

    This doesn't cover the entire topic, but it might be helpful:

    That's dealing with photos, obviously, but when painting from life you still have to "balance your whites" so to speak, which is more or less the same as setting exposure in a camera.

    This contrast between the highlights and the shadows is a VERY common issue when people set up still-lifes in all-black shadow boxes. It's kind of like trying to set up a still-life in outer space or something, and cameras and paint aren't equipped to deal with that kind of range.
  • edited August 2015
    I see what you're saying, but this is just the set up stage. I've not gotten into the balancing part yet. Just trying to see if the set up works. also, I do tend to 'blow out' the highlights in photoshop (Gimp really). AND. I have skylights in my kitchen. It's a bit of a hot mess with light bouncing all around. Plus, the lamp is pretty close. I also may have had the camera on the wrong setting.
    P.S. Thank you for the info, David! It is appreciated.
  • If you are just setting up, may I suggest moving the pear to the left a little more and break up the gapes by removing one or two and leaving them laying around. You could try putting a cloth over your direct light or move it back some to eliminate some of the glare on the objects. I really like your colors and objects. The flowers are lovely. Breaking up the table edge with a cloth is sometimes a good idea and can lead your eye into the painting. Just some minor suggestions. Take them with a grain of salt. ubr
  • @oilpainter1950 Those are great suggestions! I'm going to try them out today. Thank you.
  • I look forward to seeing this painting @Melissa. I think it will make a very nice painting. I'm going to look up laptop stands to see what this looks like. It sounds interesting. Thanks for the info.
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