Strong evening or early morning light, when it is low on the horizon, can produce some powerful atmospheric effects, such as losing detail, creating a dynamic sense of drama and changing the actual colours of various features. However, it’s not always easy to look into fierce sunlight and observe the scene for any length of time, even with sunglasses. Taking a series of photos, each with a different aperture setting can reap rewards, but if you are able to quickly capture the essential elements of the scene with a colour medium, so much the better. Watercolour pencils can be very effective for this, as watercolour paints can be quite a challenge in such fastly-changing effects.
In this painting carried out on Waterford 300lb NOT paper I created the light area in the sky with Naples yellow around a white spot and then introduced quinacridone gold and permanent alizaring crimson. Working quickly I brought in washes of weak French ultramarine, in places mixed with cadmium red for the stronger wisps of cloud. These wisps were applied with a large swordliner brush. After allowing the paper to dry I painted in detail of trees and buildings with mixtures or French ultramarine and cadmium red in various strengths, sometimes with hardly any ultramarine. Aussie red gold also enlivened things up in places, particularly the right-hand bush.
By leaving out certain details like one end of a building on the sunlit side, the sense of mood is increased, with the colours becoming cooler the further away they are from the centre of the light. You may well have existing photos that can be used to create a work of this nature, but do take care when looking into fierce sunlight and wear dark sunglasses to protect your eyes. Avoid staring directly into the sun.
Well, Christmas is upon us once more, and hopefully you will find some artistic present in your stocking! Have a great Christmas and I wish you every success with your paintings in 2024, and good health.