SUNLIGHT TWO WAYS
Heading up to the American Academy in Rome earlier this week I noticed how brilliantly lit the Acqua Paola was on a mid-summer morning, when at other times of the year it only gets glancing light for a brief while. I came back the next day around 8:30am to watercolor it, with my back to the sun and sitting in the shade. The new horizontal format watercolor block I’d just bought forced me to crop down to the lower register, which forced some interesting compositional issues. Like in my earlier posts about not painting the light, here was a chance again to show the brilliance of the façade by its juxtaposition to saturated trees and some translucent shadows.
But not being fully satisfied with some aspects of the drawing, I went back the next day to try again, but this time, just a little later, I found my bench occupied by someone who didn’t seem ready to leave for a while, so I took another tack: this time, roughly from a symmetrically opposing point of view, I say mostly shadows, and I was in the sun. The result, for all the heat I was feeling personally, is a much cooler image.
I’m a sun person, so I prefer the first iteration. My wife, who likes the cool, preferred the second. De gustibus…