“Fresh Wind,” by Russian painter Bato Dugarzhapov. Everything I love about ocean beaches is beautifully expressed in oils. The light, both sparkling and diffuse. The misty atmosphere, breeze, mood, color. The primal expanse of the horizon. This design is dichromatic. Almost entirely violets and lemons. The dog’s panting tongue is a red accent, and my eye is drawn to the little keyhole of light between the figure’s left wrist and hip. High key value structure. I tell my children to evaluate a scene by searching for the darkest dark and the lightest light, then assessing the distribution of values between those points. Is the dark black? Is the light white? Usually not, not even close. Here the darkest dark seems to be the shadow beneath the blanket touching the hem of her dress, but still quite light. The lightest light is along the left edge of the dog’s coat. Neither are pure black or white. Composition is most often considered the division of the frame and placement of subjects, sure. But it’s also about the design of the light and color.


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