Sunrise oil landscape - NH - Eileen Morey

Spring is on the way – Color study

I’m ambivalent about spring.  Oh, I love the warmer weather.  New England winters are lovely to look at… through a window! The other three seasons are among the reasons that we live here.

Anyway, as an artist, I’ve noticed that winter and summer are when the clouds are most dramatic at sunrise.

As spring approaches, the skies are more… well, suited to watercolor.  (That’d be fine, except that I’m not suited to watercolor.  I’ve taken endless classes, and… nope, that’s not a medium that flows — no pun intended — for me.)

So, I cross my fingers each day, hoping to see delicious clouds and juicy contrasts as the sun comes up.  That’s when I’m likely to paint more oil sketches from my living room window.

However, I’m realizing that we’re moving out of that time of year.

Oh, I’m pleased with this morning’s color study.  (A detail from it is below, on the left.)  However, I’m not seeing the vivid colors and stark light-and-dark of winter sunrises.

It’s not that I’m unhappy with the colors right now.  I’m just not as inspired by them.

The good news is, I can shift gears.  I have so many wonderful oil sketches from the past couple of weeks, I can use them as the basis of larger, semi-abstract paintings that represent those same scenes.

That is exciting!

Sunrise study - detail - NH - Eileen Morey - oil paintingsThe morning sketches served three purposes.  First, they restored the thrill of painting, and especially painting landscapes.  Second, they restored my self-confidence, that had eroded a bit over the past year.  Finally, these sketches give me the references I need to work on larger, more dramatic works.

So, though I may not continue daily oil sketches (based on the subject outside my window), I’m still painting.   Most days, I will at least work on a larger landscape, either semi-abstract or Tonalist.

When the weather turns warm enough to paint outdoors, comfortably, I’ll also be working on more plein air studies.  (That is, art created in the open air, under natural light.)

Frankly, if I’m not online, I may be on the road, driving to the seacoast or the White Mountains, to capture the sunrise colors there.

I’m excited about the warmer weather.  I’m relieved to be painting daily, again.  And, I’m looking forward to how these smaller sketches inspire larger works that help me appreciate the colors of Nature even more.

Update: In January 2011, I revisited this color study and turned it into a small gem of an oil landscape.  To view the results, see Spring 2010 – Revisited.