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Watercolor Techniques Using Color & Light For Ultra-Dramatic Paintings

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Part Two, Step Six

Myths About Shades and Shadows

  • Shades and shadows are the “absence of light”: Shadows are not the absence of light; light is always present in shade and shadows. See for yourself; go outside and look at an object in the shade or a shadowed area. You can clearly see and differentiate between every object in the shade or shadow! If there truly were an absence of light, you wouldn’t be able to see anything.
  • Shade and shadow are a “universal color”: There is no “universal” shade or shadow color such as gray, violet, blue, or “shadow green”. The color of a shadow is derived from the color of the ambient illumination and the colors of the objects on which the shade and shadow fall. For example, the shadow on a brick walk is not the same as the color of the same shadow on the adjacent grass. And of course, you can also choose your own colors for your personal painterly effect.