Framing the Focal Point


“I apply a light application of pastel to describe the local colors, then I gently wipe the surface down so the pastel floats over the paper,” says Albert Handell. “My concern then is about the placement and proportion of the shapes on the toned surface, and about painting from dark values to light ones. 

Albert Handell painting on location in Taos

“I also use strong cast shadows to frame the focal point of the picture, and softer shadows to suggest the distant shapes. I continue working for about three hours on location and bring the painting to a satisfying resolution. I then take photographs of what I’ve been painting and of the surrounding areas. Those photographs can be useful in the studio for creating larger oil paintings of related subjects.”


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