Thursday, March 6, 2014

Winter Sunset

I decided to do a large sunset painting near our place.  My goal was to capture the look of the sky just after the sun disappeared below the horizon. I knew that I would have to try on a couple of nights, so I first picked the spot and then I started with a pencil sketch.  I thought that by having the land already drawn in on the canvas I could then concentrate on the sky and not loose time struggling with the land drawing - instead I lost time with the ground color and values. Below is the pencil sketch.

The grid pattern helped me transfer the land shapes to the canvas.  I was able to pencil in the outlines of the basic land shapes and then start blocking in at home.  With the land roughed in I was ready to start.  There was not much time to get everything down before it was too dark to see, but since I could paint easily on more than one night, I didn't have to panic as everything disappeared into darkness that first night.

never enough time

It took 2 nights and a lot of re-touching at home.  The sky was mostly done in one go, but the land colors and values took some work.  I was determined to keep the land dark, and I was happy to finally paint green grass in a dark value.  That curving driveway made a nice foreground lead- in.

When painting clouds it is important to think of them as 3D forms, especially the close clouds. In this way your sky will have some depth.  Cloud shapes way back there in your sky can be more flat.  With this large cloud I used a finger and cotton cloth to soften the edges here and there. 

 cloud detail

Poggio Corno  o/c  40x50cm

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