I often visit WetCanvas, the website for artists. And I look at the work of the artists who contribute, often showing their work in progress for comment and criticism, sometimes just showing finished pieces.
One of the things I have noticed recently is that many of the contributors work from photos - which I discussed in my last post - and they often choose, frankly, quite dull images to work from.
That is, I believe, because they are concentrating more on the subject matter than any other consideration. A street scene with people; a landscape with a stream; a field of hay bales; fruit on a table. The people in the street might well be quite interesting; a stream is often visually beautiful, hay bales are fascinating almost-natural sculptures in a rural environment; fruit always appeals.
But how often is the LIGHT taken into account? I have regularly seen flashlight used for portraits. flattening the form with its blandness. Landscape photos taken at midday, when the sun is at its highest and least interesting. Still life photographed on a table with no directional light at all.
Yet - using the magic of light to add atmosphere to a scene, no matter what the scene might be, is SUCH a powerful tool. That is not to say that a dull, overcast day is not beautiful - a clever artist will be able to make use of lack of sunlight - look at this Ken Howard image, he once told me that he just loves overcast days since they give him a chance to use beautiful greys: