The Colors of Shadows

California-based artist Judith Klausenstock’s primary subjects are often fruits or vegetables, but it’s actually the cast shadows that receive her most loving attention. “Shadows can make the difference between an ordinary painting and one that merits deeper contemplation,” she says.

While she tries to accurately match the colors in her subjects, Klausenstock takes more liberties when it comes to the shadows. One of her favorite approaches is to stake out the colors in her subject, then use their complements to build shadows. This tends to heighten the intensity of the lighter subject.

Equally important is the way Klausenstock links her shadows with the objects casting them. “I mix the color of the object itself, then bring it into the shadow,” she says. “That way, you can’t tell where the object ends and where the shadow begins. This creates a softness without hard lines around the object or the shadows.”

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