Sunset – New Year’s Eve 2010
This landscape painting was my second of the day on New Year’s Eve 2010. (The previous one was my sunrise sketch.)
I’m consciously working with greater contrast to convey the colors and emotional content of the scenery.
This oil painting was from after the sun had actually set. The colors still lingered above the horizon, but the night skies were moving in.
The foreground was already dark. During the day, most of the snow had melted, so most of the exposed ground was green.
What impressed me most were the subtle colors in the night sky, contrasted with the almost cheerful alternating stripes of white clouds and peach colors near the horizon.
There were also odd, interesting streaks of light on the landscape, reflecting the light and shadows from above.
As usual, I mixed most of my colors on the canvas. That is, I use my brush to pick up selected colors — such as ultramarine blue, pthalo blue, and white — and then blend them as the paint is applied to the canvas.
At right, the photo shows part of the canvas near the horizon, slightly to the right of center.
The hills were painted with a mix of ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson, plus a dab of white paint.
At the base, I began to include pthalo blue (a teal blue-green) and when I dabbed on the white paint to represent remaining snow, my brush still had some pthalo blue on it.
Closer to the front, I returned to ultramarine blue plus white. That was to provide a greater warmth to the snowy areas, since the colors were softer there.
Then, the foreground — the grassy areas in deep shadows — were almost a pure mix or ultramarine blue and pthalo blue, with some lemon yellow and cadmium orange.
The red at the very front is cadmium red showing through from the underpainting, though I added cadmium red touches as I completed this work.
The detail at left shows part of the sky in this painting. I wanted to include delicate, almost faerie-like pastel colors, in contrast with the shadows on the foreground.
I used almost every color on my palette to create that effect, but it’s mostly ultramarine blue with additional colors added to tint it slightly.
Near the bottom of this detail photo, the clouds are represented by thicker paint toward the horizon. That’s to give them more depth, and a heavier quality.
Higher up, the clouds seemed more wispy and like they were floating away on helium.
In general, the photo accurately represents the colors of this landscape painting… but not the full contrast or depth of the shades.
(I’ll need to experiment more with my new camera, to see if I can shift the “temperature” of the colors. Adjusting them in Adobe Photoshop isn’t enough.)
At right, here’s another detail of the sky. It’s not full-size. It’s reduced from the photo, showing the upper left side of this painting.
In real life, the green is a little darker and the wisp of a cloud (lower right) is whiter. However, this gives you the general idea of the color range in the sky.
This is a 9″ x 12″ painting on canvasboard. I used water-soluble oil paints (sometimes called water-miscible oil paints) which are formulated after the paints used the by Old Masters. They’re just as archival as traditional oil paints, but they’re far “greener” because they don’t use toxic oils as the base, and they clean up with soap & water rather than turpentine.
Once dry, my paintings are just as lasting — and resistant to water — as any other oil painting.
All in all, I’m pleased with the new direction of my paintings. The heightened colors and contrast are taking me toward the quality of work I want as I resume working on much larger canvases.