|Mt. Doug Tree Study, Oil on panel 9x12|
It's so much fun to be out painting the landscape live. It's both an exercise in slowing down and working slowly to develop your painting at the same time trying to paint as fast as you can before the light changes! Or the bugs get you...:). For this study, when I started the painting it was an overcast afternoon and I was in the trees enough that I thought that if the sun came out it would not change things too much. I was wrong. About midway through the painting (1 1/2 hours in) the sun came out and was penetrating through the tree coverage enough to change the lighting a little for me. I had to then decide what to do. I decided that when the sun was very bright I would wait a few minutes until the clouds would dull it down a little and then I would paint and wait and paint and wait. I'm happy with the way it turned out.
The second painting was painted later that evening at Swan Lake. I love painting the sunset, the colours and lighting are very beautiful to me.
|Swan Lake Sunset, Oil on canvas panel 8x10|
When I'm painting the sunset, I try to setup around an hour or so before sunset and tone my panel with some umber and ultramarine blue or some of the muddy colour that was left on my palette from earlier in the day. I use some mineral spirits and rub the colour on with a paper towel. The point of this is to dull the white of the canvas so it's easier to judge values and hue as you start to paint. After toning my canvas, I do a line drawing of the major shapes with oil and then wait for the sun to go down.
In this case, when there were no clouds to block the sun and shield it from my eyes, I had to wait until the sun was almost at the horizon before really starting to paint! I was able to put some of the sky colour down before this but not too much. So as the sun set, I madly started to paint! I try to burn the image in my mind as the sun disappears over the horizon. I try to balance the big picture of value and colour on my painting in a mad dash to the finish. I will at times make a few adjustment when I bring the painting back to my studio after the sun has set. The colours and image are still in my head enough to use it to unify the painting as a readable work of art!
For those of you interested, I'm teaching a week long landscape painting workshop on Quadra Island, BC, Canada. Sept 12-16th more info here.