A painting by Yvan Favre, a french painter from Clermont-Ferrand.

I love Yvan Favre’s paintings, because they elevate everyday scenes into beautiful works of art, such as the painting above which is simple a woman riding the bus. Whilst looking over Yvan Favre’s other work it becomes clear that he finds inspiration in the everyday, rather than inspiration in the surreal. But when you closely at his paintings you realise that just like in films, this painting also ‘reproduces reality’. This painting is not simply a paint by numbers version of what Yvan Favre saw in front of him, but rather a reproduction of what Yvan saw but edited to be much more ‘visually pleasing’, by adjusting things such as the colour palette and the contrast of the scene itself.

The woman in this scene is lit by a key light coming in from the window on her left, which looks like a relatively soft light, that doesn’t have particularly defined ‘shadow edges’ even though it does have quite dark looking shadows. As I said earlier I think some ‘reproduced reality’ is going on here, so I think Yvan has really deepened the darkness of the scenes shadows to provide more contrast and to give the scene an overall greater oomph, which makes it slightly unreliable for understanding what kind of lighting Yvan has painted into this scene, as it may be inconsistent with the kind of lighting you’d actually see in real life. As you can see in the image above, everything the sun is directly touching is illuminated within the scene, whilst the shadow areas virtually fade away into darkness. But nowhere in the image do you see really distinctive shadow lines, expect maybe the woman’s spinal shadow – which may been exaggerated for purely aesthetic reasons.

Within the image above you can also see parts of the woman’s head and shoulder, which in camera terms would almost feel ‘overexposed’ as the colour is almost completely removed by the blown out white which appears to take its place, as the windows sunlight strikes those particular areas. Whilst this image may be a creative reimagining of one woman’s bus ride, it most certainly imparts that feeling of being sun drenched, whilst also simultaneously hiding in the shadows.

Until next time,

Louise Wilson