It was one of those Carolina days when the “magic hour” was absolutely amazing. Magic hour? Yes, magic hour. The time of the day when the sun kisses the horizon. Oranges overtake the powder blue horizon. Clouds take on purple and red hues. Color paints the sky like no other time of day. Trees become silhouettes as the sun sneaks behind their cover.
Dave Robbins, artist at Grapes and Gallery, first introduced us to the name of this magical time of day. In fact, the magic hour inspires many of his paintings, which feature tree silhouettes.
If you are used to painting objects as they appear in full light, challenge yourself to paint a silhouette piece. Emphasis shifts from painting a detailed object to determining a perspective that best captures your tale, developing a background that conveys meaning, and forming an object that tells a story through its shape alone.
Think about Dave’s paintings. Even though the trees are black in color, you have a sense of the environment. Each painting tells a complete story. The perspective of the observer is central in each piece. In some cases, you are placed on the midst of a group of trees. In others, you are clearly standing at a distance from the trees.
Once you have decided on a perspective, focus shifts to building the background. The backgrounds in Dave’s paintings place the observer in a specific setting. The shading of the sky and clouds, for example, can indicate either a pleasant day or a brewing storm.
Finally, the object itself, even though devoid of color, conveys meaning. In some of Dave’s paintings, the trees are bending as if under pressure from a gale force wind. In others, they stand still as if a complete calm has taken over.
You may be saying, “I don’t want to paint a tree.” That’s ok! A silhouette is by definition “the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background.” Any object can be a silhouette. The Grapes and Gallery logo, for example, contains the silhouette of an artist painting inside the wine bottle. Surprise, if you haven’t noticed it before now!
You might also be thinking, “I don’t want to paint my [insert name of your object] black.” That’s ok, too! Maybe you are feeling a bit more abstract and you may choose to make your silhouette neon green or hot pink. The idea is that the [insert name of your object] is a solid color, and only the general shape, not the detail, is shown.
Tonight at the gallery, we had a group that painted the "Palmetto Sunset." Each of the paintings brought to life a small piece of the magic hour that colored our sky tonight.
Challenge yourself. Make your next painting a silhouette. Your entire perspective will change.
We hope you will look at the magic hour in a completely different way now. Embrace the colors. Notice the details. Experience the calm inspiration that this time of day offers.
Explore your inner artist. Paint your day!