Obviously, without light, you can't see. It is only the reflection of light which reaches your eyes that causes your mind to see the object. But from an artistic sense, there is more to it than this simplistic statement of physics. When a painting has light, it glows and lives.
There must be millions of good drawings and paintings which don't make the best use of light, and therefore remain only good pieces of art rather than great pieces of art. In the illustration, each tiny bead on the blouse reflects light. There is a prominent shadow under the chin, and a strong highlight in the hair. Her knuckles reflect more light where they protrude.
Often, in western society and those that read left to right, the observer will tend to also 'read' a painting or drawing from left to right. For this reason, it is common to find the light coming from the top-left as it is in this illustration. However, such 'rules' should be flexible, and some dramatic effects can be had by using two or more sources of light, and lighting the subject from below or directly from one side. Whatever you choose to do, try to make the light work for you.
(C) Jeremy Lee 2010, all rights reserved.
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spOOk's art is owned by Jeremy. He has practiced drawing and painting for about 40 years, and might get good at it one day. spOOk's art is focused on graphite portraits.