Sunlight and Shadow by Humphrey
Humphrey’s Sunlight and Shadow contrasts with other works in his oeuvre due to the strong presence of darker values that are usually not as prominent in his sunlit and colorful vistas. In this composition, the river’s path cuts through a dense forest that the sunlight struggles to penetrate through, creating passages of shadow throughout. Somber tones are employed to depict the depth of the water and the areas alongside the river that are untouched by the sun. Even though shadows are momentous throughout the design, they further serve to emphasize the light by providing visual contrast.
Light is the primary focus of this composition, concentrated in the center of the painting. The light illuminates the water unfettered by forest canopy. Where light manages to break through, it sparkles on the surface of the water, and highlights the multicolored rocks glistening in the shallow embankment. As the river meanders around the bend, its destination is obscured; an enigmatic mist has settled upon the horizon.
Radiating out from the center of the picture plane, light travels in a diagonal towards the viewer's gaze creating a balance to the lustrous haze in the distance. In the foreground, upon the surface of the dusky blue water, fiery red leaves have fallen to continue their journey upon the river's current, serving as reminders of the turning tide of the season and the miracles embodied within nature.
©Katherine Shevchenko - Art Consultant, J.R. Mooney Gallery, Boerne