Contrast-The Eyes Delight!

By: Linda Riesenberg Fisler

May 23, 2022

“As one of the major art principles, contrast in art, is by many considered to be the golden rule for creation. In essence, the definition of contrast is the juxtaposition of difference, used to intensify the properties within the work, the contrast in art is closely related to the variety.” from What is Contrast in Art?

It was a bit of a gray day when I scrolled through my newsfeed. Suddenly, a burst of color in the foreground of a tonal background of schooners.

“Dingys & Schooners in Camden Harbor” by C.W. Mundy. Copyright owned by C.W.Mundy. No copying, reproduction or use without Mr. Mundy’s permission.
C.W. Mundy, an American impressionist, was born in 1945 and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated with a B.F.A. from Ball State University, in Indiana, in 1969 and then shortly after that traveled to California, where he painted, played music, and worked on his M.F.A. at Long Beach State.

Like many artists, C.W. is talented in more than one way. He is a musician and a Master artist, popular with many because of his charming, funny, and vibrant personality. I met C.W. during the Weekend With the Master conference in San Diego over ten years ago. C.W. has also appeared on many Art Chat podcasts, which you can find at the bottom of this blog.

I tend to scroll through social media feeds, not taking in the ads or posts until something catches my eye. Fortunately, the painting “Dingys & Schooners in Camden Harbor” did just that! My mind began thinking and processing the beauty in this painting. But what caught my eye?

C.W. says that “I pushed the Schooners & Homes in a fairly tonal background & pushed the ‘VALUE and CHROMA ON THE DINGY.’” Those who know C.W. can hear his voice emphasizing the capitalized words—not shouting them. He used contrast to grab the viewers’ attention and the position of the dingy to draw us into the painting.

Contrast can take many forms. Like C.W.’s painting, it can be value and chroma. Or it can be texture, edges, and any juxtaposed of two elements in the painting.

“Reading” C.W.’s Painting

The dingy’s luscious, thick, bright colors bring us into the painting, stepping in from shadow to light. We automatically absorb the orange, yellow-tinged white absorbing the light. But don’t leave the shadow too quickly. In the cool shadow white of the dingy, notice the lavender/red-violet and gray-green warmth that the dingy absorbs from the sun on the grass. Notice the use of the dark greenish-tinged “black” and its strategic placement in this area of the painting. Notice how C.W. arranges the path to the first schooner by opposing shadow areas and the color choices in each spot. We hop from boat to boat, enjoying the surprises in the background: the dingy being rowed ashore, the light playing on the water between the schooners, the texture, and the differences in the schooners themselves. Notice the grayed-down stripe of light red on the furthest left schooner and in the water reflections that make our eyes jump to the houses on the shore across the water. The yellow-tinged house on the hill brings our eyes to the sails as we start another journey around the painting.

There is so much to enjoy in this painting. Take some time to study it.

Our thanks to C.W. Mundy for allowing us to share his work.

All the best,


Catch our Art Chat podcasts with C.W.!

Weekend with Masters Art Chat Interview with C.W. Mundy

C.W. Mundy and Kevin Macpherson discuss keeping it fresh!

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