Art theory Oil Painting Painting Still Life

Simplified Shadow Mass with Kwan Yin, Pepper Sauce and Camelia

Kwan Yin, Pepper Sauce,  Camelia in Soap Dish, oil on 8x10" panel
Kwan Yin, Pepper Sauce, Camellia in Soap Dish, oil on 8x10" panel

In the Simplified Shadow Mass exercise you practice visualizing the darks and shadows grouped into as few shapes as possible and paint them in one dark color. Then you can vary the colors for the rest of the painting. I tried that in the two top studies.

In the bottom two I allowed myself to use two different colors for the shadows instead of just one. I like the last one best (bottom left) and the first one second best (top left). I hate the muddy second one (top right).

It was fun experimenting with massing shadows and playing with composition by sticking to two objects and changing only one at a time.

5 replies on “Simplified Shadow Mass with Kwan Yin, Pepper Sauce and Camelia”

What an interesting exercise! Is this another from Peggi Kroll-Roberts? I think my favorite is the first one, and my second favorite is the third one….I like the really dark shadow masses apparently.


Hi Carol, Yes, this is another of Peggi Kroll-Roberts exercises. For some reason I’m afraid of darks and shadows in my painting so I really need lots of practice to go dark enough and these exercises really help. Jana


I know what you mean. It seems like there’s either time to paint “real” pictures or do exercises. But I’ve realized that all my paintings are really studies or exercises since I’m always working on something. Jana


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