Art Demos

How to Paint Dramatic Light with Patrick Howe

How to Paint Dramatic Light with Patrick Howe

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Paint Dramatic Light

Whenever I talk to artists, I find that they always have one thing in common, no matter what their subject or medium is: they talk about painting the light. How the light falls on your subject, whether you’re painting a landscape or a still life, determines the depth you see and provides the sense of a three-dimensional form on a two-dimensional surface. Learning how to paint light is not just fancy artist talk; it’s vital to creating a sense of distance in a landscape, or indicate the curve of a vase, flower petal, or cheekbone. Every time you look at a painting, you’re looking at how the light illuminates it.

For the artists, painting the light also provides a way of breaking down the image into shapes and parts. Using value to capture the sense of an object allows the artist to simplify it and break it down in relation to other objects. It’s a great way of learning how to paint: by seeing the subject in shapes and values, you can put your brush to canvas to get accurate results.

Patrick Howe tackles this very subject in his video, Dramatic Light.

Paint dramatic light using watercolor and oil painting techniques to create stunning landscape art and still lifes. In this video, you’ll start simply with just one color and a brush for a watercolor painting exercise to capture the form of an apple, getting the sense of where the lights and shadows are with a few simple strokes. Then, learn how to achieve the different qualities of light, and contours, shapes and gradations of tone that give an object that three-dimensional, lifelike effect. Finally, learn how to paint a rich, vibrant oil painting of a night-time street scene, lit with the glow of street lamps and shop windows, start to finish.


  • Painting techniques for creating dramatic light using watercolor and oil
  • A step-by-step demonstration and exercises for practical applications
  • Art lessons that focus on capturing the various qualities of light, from sunlight to the glow of street lamps in a nighttime cityscape.

How to Paint an Apple

PreviewDramatic Light with Patrick Howe now to learn how to paint a monochromatic watercolor painting of an apple to create depth and form through the use of values.

Then, head over to to get the full demonstration, materials, and more!

Watch the video: Episode 17. Dramatic Spooky Lighting (June 2022).


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