Sunrise Stroll

Back in spring as I was packing up and/or discarding my earthly belongings, I had imagined that by fall we would have begun working on a new studio at the new house. "Oh, I'll be up and running by winter," I thought. Well, I may have been a "tad" optimistic as we haven't come close to deciding how or even where we will fashion one.  In light of the constant waffling, we finally decided to rent a little temporary workspace for me, to take the pressure off a bit.

Viola! My little space. It's certainly a far cry from my former studio. It's tiny, it's dark, it's plain...but it's mine (at least temporarily). And I couldn't be happier to be back at work. :-)


What's missing in this picture is, of course, the easel. I will keep things simple (and light) by using my Soltek in here. I have also added a few additional lights to brighten things up a bit and make things a bit easier on the eyes.

To kick off the occasion, I dove into a subject I have been dying to develop since I painted it on location this summer- The Outer Banks of North Carolina. I was especially keen to dive into the concept of the sunrise, having tackled in en plein air in July:

Outer Banks landscape painting ©Jennifer E Young "Sunrise Stroll" Oil on Linen, 20x24" Contact me to purchase!

 Because I am renting this space and the ventilation is poor, I will only use water miscible oils here. So this, friends, marks another inaugural moment, of sorts--my first studio painting with Royal Talens Cobra water miscible paints.  I have to say, I am loving these paints in the studio. They stay open longer than my traditional oils, which makes it easier to manipulate edges  and build up to lovely, lush texture without having to do it all alla prima.  The only criticism I have at the moment is that the Titanium White in this brand is rather weak. Maybe I just need to get used to the tinting properties of the other paint colors,  but I used  almost half of a 150 ML tube of paint on this one 20x24" painting. (And that's not *much* of an exaggeration.)  Otherwise, though, I am having a great time and am so happy to have a room to call my own to create and leave all of my toys lying about.

"Early Risers, Southern France" (WIP painting complete)

Another milestone... I'm christening this painting as the first studio piece in my new art studio! Since I've made a commitment to myself become an earlier riser lately, I thought this title was appropriate:

southern france landscape painting pastoral by Jennifer Young

"Early Risers, Southern France" Oil on Linen, 24x30

SOLD I shooed away the pig that had wandered in on the left hand side of the painting in the last version and finally got the hang of painting sheep.

french landscape painting by Jennifer Young

I think I'm getting the hang of painting these misty, foggy scenes. They're a lot of fun, as they really challenge you to pay attention to your edges. I've kept almost all of my edges soft and values fairly close together.

landscape painting by Jennifer Young

I also feel that it helped immensely having painting a study of this scene on site. I remember this morning so well. This scene was just a walk up the country road from the old convent where I was staying last year in the Lot Valley. It was very early and mist was rising off of everything. The sun was just trying to poke through and gave everything a lovely cool rose glow. It really was a magical moment!

 I'm off to drawing class this morning but I should have the painting uploaded to my website by this weekend. Note: website has been updated. Click on the image or links above to purchase or for additional information.

Plein air on the James- a class and a painting of my own

Yesterday I held a small plein air painting class down by the James River. It was actually scheduled for today, but we came to a consensus to switch the days due to the impending weekend cold front heading into the area. It was a good move. Yesterday we had lots of sunshine and temperatures were in the 80's. But by the afternoon the clouds were rolling in, and this morning there is a soft, steady rain. As for the class, it was a great day of teaching, sharing, and painting but by the end of the day I was thoroughly pooped. Meanwhile on the home studio front, we now have a mountain of building material on our property, which means that if the weather clears the builders can start their work as early as tomorrow. According to our builder, the shell could be up in five days (or less). I was shocked when I heard this, especially since this is stick-built rather than prefab. But I was reminded that basically this is a rectangle we're talking about, with no custom framing for the windows or doors. So apparently by building standards it should be a fairly simple project. I'll have to be on my toes if I want to document the build in photos--if I blink they'll be done!

Lastly, I do have a small painting to share of my own--another one of Brown's Island--not done in the class, but earlier this week. I just haven't had time to post until now:

james river plein air painting by Jennifer Young

"Morning at the Levee" Oil on Multimedia Artboard, 6x12" Contact me for more info.

I was very happy with my work on this painting but stupidly did not store it properly and my backpack fell right across the middle of it on the drive home, causing a huge smear! I've repaired it mostly, but I think I'll bring it back to the site to adjust the distant trees.

I'm becoming more and more enthralled with painting down at the James River. Brown's Island alone offers hundreds of painting possibilities. As I've noted before, it's also a fascinating site for Richmond's history, where Civil War and turn-of-the-century industrial ruins stand right alongside our modern architecture. I found some additional info about the levee on a nearby sign upstream:

james river plein air painting blog

It's somewhat ironic that I've only recently begun to explore this particular point along the river just at the point that I'm moving out of my downtown studio. Looks like I'll still be coming downtown to work from time to time, even after my home studio is built.

On painting that ever changing light

This post is inspired by a comment Molly left for me yesterday on the challenge of painting sunsets en plein air. As I've noted before, this golden hour of the day is my favorite time to be out painting-- but it's also one of the most challenging because the light changes incredibly fast. Since I've made my share of stinkers (and had a few successes too) I thought I'd offer a few tips from what I've observed along the way.

  • At first, try keeping it small! This will ensure that you can cover the entire canvas within the time limitations you have.
  • Broadly tackle first the overall light and shadow pattern and don't give into the temptation to lose yourself in details in the early stages.
  • For as long as you can, try thinking in terms of light and dark, shapes and patterns instead of objects and things.
  • Simplify.
  • Squint.
  • Develop what you know is going to change the fastest.  In the recent harbor paintings I did in Annapolis, those clouds were such an important element in the paintings and I knew they'd change quickly as the sun was breaking through them across the sky. So I set about developing the sky and clouds first, even though I'd merely blocked in the dark shape of the boats.
  • Make a commitment. Try not to change your entire painting with each change of the sky (or light). This will drive you crazy and it will quickly start to cause  your painting to look confused. At some point you have to decide on the statement you want to make with your painting and commit to it. Learn to develop those memory muscles so that when the light changes you can recall the moment you were trying to capture. This is why blocking in the overall light and shadow pattern is so very important at the beginning.
  • At the same time (and this is going to sound like a contradiction to the previous statement,) if you want to capture that elusive golden moment, you almost have to try and anticipate what's going to happen next and be ready for it. The best way to do this is to observe, observe, observe. Paint at different times of the day often enough and you will really begin to notice and observe what happens to the quality of the light. I find myself doing this mentally now, even when I'm not painting.
  • Color is seductive, and it's understandable to want to change and tweak it as the sky gets more and more beautiful with that rosy/golden evening glow.  Sometimes it is necessary to add that flourish of color at just the right moment  in your process to get the feeling you want. If you feel you really must change the color, I'd first try changing the color without changing the value.  It's not as simple as it sounds. Those sunset colors can be pretty intense. Too much white will kill the intensity. Too much change can shift the value (and/or color temperature) to the point that it throws off your whole design. It really is a dance.
  • Don't be stingy with your paint. Many don't put enough paint out on their palette, and/or mix smaller piles of color than they'll really need. While I usually keep my shadow areas relatively thin, I can really load it on in the highlight areas.
  • Be grateful for the stinkers. (I am still working on this one.) Nowadays, while I still indulge in a brief tantrum, I am more and more appreciating the duds, and how well they teach me. Each one gives fuel to the fire and helps to inform a future masterpiece :-)
  • Time is of the essence, but remember, this is a process of both measured intent and spontaneous response. These two approaches may seem to be at odds, but really they can work in tandem. For me, they are easiest to apply if I can relax, have fun, and enjoy the moment.

Dueling Brushes

After having what I felt to be a successful morning on my 2nd day in Annapolis, it was my expectation to have as wonderful an afternoon. NOT! There are times when I have to push myself to paint, even if I don't feel like it. This is usually a good idea, but not always. Sometimes giving yourself a chance to "recharge" is the best thing you can possibly do for your work, and this was one of those times. Once I finished "Daybreak", I decided to take a "lunch break" and get out of the midday sun to check out some of the local Annapolis galleries. My plan was then to find some charming street corner where I might set up in town. There was plenty of material to choose from, to be sure. So even though I was pretty tired, I set up in a quiet spot to paint a pretty B&B surrounded by flowers. 

The thing that attracted me to the spot  though, was the pattern of the light, which was steady and strong in constrast and formed an interesting pattern of interconnecting diagonals....At least when I first started. But soon a heavy cloud cover set in.....and lifted....and set in again. By the time the clouds had cleared for good, the pattern of light had completely changed and I finally found myself scrapping the whole painting in frustration.

By the time I had gotten back to the hotel, it was late and I was even more tired. I had actually scheduled myself to compete in a little quick-draw competition called "Dueling Brushes", on the next (and final) morning. But before I went to bed, I called my husband and told him I was considering skipping the event and just coming on home. "Come home if that's what you want," he said, "Nobody's making you do this."

He was right, of course. But I guess the night's rest was restorative, because the next morning I figured, what the heck? I'd go ahead with it. After all, I'd registered for the event, I was in town, and I'd spent a couple of days painting this subject matter so at least I'd had a little preparation. Plus I'd already been through the "agony of defeat" and I was still standing ;-)

The event rules stated that we all had two hours to create a finished painting, after which time we were to scurry our paintings and easels over to the judging area. The judge would then award cash prizes and we'd have a little exhibition in the public square.

To make things easy on myself I decided to set up to paint the open harbor that was pretty close to the judging area. There were surely other interesting spots in town I could have scouted out, but I just couldn't see myself running through town like a maniac with my easel trying to make it in time for the judging.  

From the position I chose along the open harbor, the boats in the scene were pretty far out into the middle ground. It was looking like I might be stuck with a rather placid composition on an overcast day with no foreground interest. But the clock had started and  there were some subtle shimmering light patterns on the water that I thought maybe I could make something out of.  So I settled on a design in my head, set up all of my gear, and began my composition--just in time for a huge tourist boat to pull up and park right in front of my view. ARRRRGH!

I moved all of my gear as quickly as I could to a nearby spot. The view was a little different, but I recovered fairly quickly with a revised plan and got to work. Then I lucked out. What started out as an overcast morning with flat light soon began to give way to breaking clouds backlit by the morning sun.  I had found my interest (and actually, the sky I had painted on the previous morning served me well in this moment.) I quickly changed my plan again and lowered the horizon--this was going to be a painting about the sky.  

 Annapolis coastal marine painting en plein air by Jennifer Young

"Changing Sky" Oil on Multimedia Artboard, 8x12" sold

To my surprise and delight, I really began to have fun. And when it came time for the judging, I was surprised and delighted again. The painting received "Honorable Mention," which seemed a pretty good accomplishment for a newcomer to these events, especially considering I was thinking about skipping the whole thing!

Annapolis Day 2- A fine morning with guidance from Gruppe

Had a few technical difficulties to overcome before I could post again, but I'm picking up where I last left off writing about the Annapolis paint out. Day two of the paint-out started off great, mainly because I had been able to do a little planning the day before. Painting in an unfamiliar place can always be a little overwhelming. It takes a little bit of time to get your bearings and find locations that appeal to you. This task can also be a little more daunting if you are also painting unfamiliar subject matter. (In my case, not living near a harbor or having much boating experience,  that subject matter would be the preponderance of boats.) To tackle the first obstacle, I spent some time on the first day (in between my morning and afternoon paintings) just wandering around scouting out possible painting locations along the many small harbors. One thing to consider is the path the sun will take across the sky throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. Having already done one morning painting the first day, I began to get a feel for which locations would make good morning setups and which would work better for me in the evenings. (I will also sometimes carry a compass with me to accomplish this task.)  As a result, I found a location in Eastport that I knew would be perfect for an early morning sunrise scene. And in contrast to the first morning when I got started late, I was able to arrive early on day 2 and start painting between 7 and 7:30 a.m.

As for the second obstacle.... the first thing I had to do was to recognize that no matter what I am painting, all I really need to do is paint shapes and the play of light on forms. If you can accurately see what is in front of you as abstract shapes and light patterns (and get a good grasp especially on painting the shapes of the negative space between the forms as well,) form naturally happens.  Having said that, the mind plays tricks on the untrained eye--even sometimes on the eye that has had a bit of training. Boats (like trees and the human face) are some of the things that the mind has long tended to see as symbols. They're some of the things that so many of us drew when we were kids --a sort of half-circle topped with two triangles. So one can easily fall into the trap of painting a symbol of a boat (or a tree or a face) instead of painting the actual shape.

While intellectually I know that all of the above is true, for my own peace of mind, I found it also helpful to consult one of my favorite art books of all time by Emile A. Gruppe. Gruppe was a fine New England painter of landscapes, townscapes and most notably to me, marinescapes . He was active in the 30's on up until the 70's and received training at the Art Students League in New York, and from famed American landscape painters Charles Hawthorne and John F. Carlson. Gruppe was also a wonderful teacher in his own right, both through the school that he established, and through his series of books on painting ("Brushwork," "Gruppe on Color" and "Gruppe on Painting; Direct Techniques in Oil" ).   

All three of these books are fabulous. They are also out of print, making the ones that are still available quite pricey and difficult to acquire. I haven't written much about these books before because there is just sooo much I would want to to say. I can't give proper honor to each of them now without making this post even longer than it already is, but suffice it to say that despite the cost and the regardless of sad quality of the painting reproductions within, they are three incredibly worthwhile and inspiring (if not essential) additions to any landscape painter's library.

For my money, Gruppe was a master of brushwork and composition. Living in New England, he was also a frequent painter of harbors and coastal scenes, which made his book, "Gruppe on Painting; Direct Techniques in Oil," a perfect traveling companion on my trip to Annapolis. I'm glad I grabbed it as I was walking out the door, especially since this particular book has a whole section on painting harbor scenes.  This is not a book of formulas, but rather a thoughtful book with a wealth of things to consider. For instance, here is an excerpt on drawing boats:

"...students have  preconceptions about what a boat should look like. They think of boats they drew as children, boats that were shaped like wooden shoes or bananas, curling up at the bow and stern. And that's how they draw them. But probably no shape could be less like that of a real ocean-going dragger; all those concave lines suggest weakness while the character of the dragger is strong and tough......Remember that the gunwhale of the boat is straight as it nears the bow--it doesn't sweep up like a gondola! And the bow goes into the water in a fairly straight line--it doesn't cut under sharply. Use strong lines to suggest a strong subject."

Just that one snippet helped me immensely, and yet there is so much more in this section alone; on cast shadows, masts, rigging, refraction, smaller boats, and docks and wharves. The conversational tone and the passion in Gruppe's writing helped me to internalize his teachings and carry them with me as I addressed the subjects and painted them from life. Here, finally, is the painting that resulted. I may need to touch it up when I return to the studio, but I was pretty happy about it overall:

coastal marine plein air painting annapolis 

Daybreak in Annapolis Oil on Multimedia Artboard, 11x14" SOLD

On this second day of painting, I was happy to meet more of the artist members of the MAPAPA, so I felt a little more connected and a little less lost. In fact, as I was finishing up the above piece, an artist came up to me with a rather dazed and confused look. She said it was her first day at the paint-out, and she'd been driving around for an hour trying to decide what to paint. I had to chuckle (not at her, but with her.) Been there, done that!

Hatteras Pier

It's been absolutely beautiful here in Hatteras. I've done more relaxing and eating than anything. But after watching a most gorgeous sunrise with my husband, I finally decided to get the paints out yesterday and do a little something down by the Hatteras Pier:

obx coastal painting

"Hatteras Pier, Morning" Oil on Multimedia ArtBoard 6x12"

This pier looks like it needs some serious repair, but the rickety state of it made for fun painting. Now back to doing nothing! :-)

Early morning at Byrd Park

With so much going on this week, I have to get out pretty early in the morning to have time to do any painting at all, let alone blog about it. But it was really beautiful this morning at the park. I left the house at around 7:15 a.m. to do a little plein air painting, and the light was still low, soft and luminous.  Here is the result of my morning's effort--another one of these backlit little islands on the water:

plein air painting of water by Jennifer Young

"Dawning" Oil on Multimedia ArtBoard, 8x10" Click here for more info.

La France Profonde- countryside painting (wip)

Time was of the essence during this painting holiday. While not overrun with museums, there are so many living, breathing, and lovely places to experience in this area. What I mean by that is that this region is considered by many to be "La France Profonde". What I mean by THAT is that the Lot and the Dordogne embody so many of the characteristics of what one would think of as truly and profoundly French. The production of their food and wine, farming, and, well, their manner of living, is still very much practiced in traditional ways. Yes, there is a lot to see, (chateaux, winding and ambling river valleys, lovely medieval villages, and of course French markets and shops). But this is a place to be experienced.

There were a thousand potential paintings right around the old convent where we stayed. So to make the most of our time, we decided  to paint the sunrise. We got up extra early and headed out to paint a lovely sheep pasture that had been spotted by a the "early morning walkers" in our group. Only, there was no sun to be seen. Instead, (and even better) there was the most beautiful soft fog lifting off of the grass:

Pastoral French countryside landscape plein air painting Work in Progress (as yet untitled) Oil on Linen, 11x14"

When we set up to paint, we had a couple of dilemmas. The sheep were in the neighboring pasture. But who could resist painting this little chateau? No problem. We'll just paint the chateau and move to the next pasture to add the sheep. (Hey, that's the beauty of being an artist, right?) 

The other challenge was the that we knew this etherial effect of fog would soon burn off, so we had to work quickly to capture what we saw as best we could, alla prima. Actually, the opposite happened. Instead of lifting off, the fog actually settled in thicker, nearly obscuring the upper part of the hillside trees.

This was as far as I got. It's almost there but I feel there are some areas that need to be resolved, like the foreground and the area just above the chateau. I'd also like to develop a bit more surface texture. The trick will be not to lose the freshness that is so characteristic of plein air painting. We'll see.

In any event, one bonus for us is that the sheep actually (eventually) decided to head over to the pasture with the chateau. Those critters can move, so you never know which way they're going to head. But we got lucky. Merci les moutons!

sheep doodle

Landscape painting of Lake Como, Italy

 landscape painting lake como italy

"Morning Quiet in Pescallo" Oil on Canvas, 20" x 24"

Fresh off the easel is the painting I blogged about a bit earlier. It shows a view from Bellagio looking down on the tiny fishing village of Pescallo.  This was our morning view from our hotel room balcony. What a way to wake up!

For more information, please click on the image or contact me.

On the Easel- Lake Como Painting

 I thought I'd share a new painting I have up on the easel:

 Painting of water Lake Como Italy

 Not sure how much more I'll get done today because I'm getting the studio ready for the First Fridays art walk tonight. If you come out to the gallery on the art walk tonight you'll probably see it on the easel in all it's unfinished glory (along with a number of other paintings that are actually finished and framed :-) .)

 This scene is an aerial view of the little fishing village Pescallo in Lake Como, Italy. It was my view every morning from the balcony of our hotel room in Bellagio (*sigh*). What I'm painting is the village rooftops and  the placid lake with docked boats in early morning. I hope it turns out, because I really loved that scene.

All of this work I've done for the "Luminosity" show, has really helped to get me into painting water scenes. For the longest time I had a fear of water-- not "real" water, just water as subject for my paintings. I don't know why. I guess it was just a mental block or something. So this past summer, I made a point to "just do it" and I really tried to focus on water scenes, especially when I went out painting en plein air.

On another note, I'd like to send a shout of thanks out to artist Boyd Greene for giving me a nod of recognition yesterday on his own fine art blog. I just discovered that I was among the artists he honored with a "Shibumi" award. According to Boyd;

 The ’shibumi’ award was originally created by Hawk and has a deep and profound meaning: ‘Shibumi is a Japanese term which used in the following context is a noun. Its meaning refers to a ‘particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty� which can be applied to almost anything.’

Thank you Boyd! I truly feel grateful and honored by my fellow artist bloggers this week. :-)

Thanks to for featuring my landscape paintings!

A few weeks ago, Dan at Empty Easel was kind enough to feature my plein air painting demo on his art site. I'm thankful to him again, because today he's given me a very nice a write up about the latest landscape paintings I've created for my current show  about the luminous landscape. If you have an interest in the arts, do check out his site. He regularly features the works of artists he's reviewed from around the internet, plus he has wonderful tips for art and painting as well as Internet art marketing. If you're an artist, consider submitting your work or an article yourself for a possible feature.

...And if you're in the Richmond area, my show "Luminosity" is still on view until December 1st, so come by my studio/gallery this Friday during the art walk if you can,  or just contact me to visit the gallery at another time.

Art opening tonight: "Luminosity"

I've been scrambling this week to get everything finished for the opening  for my exhibit of new landscape  paintings tonight here at the gallery, and I'm officially pooped. The good news is, the show looks great, and  I can now take few hours to rest before we open up tonight. Come out and see us if you are coming downtown tonight or are doing the First Fridays Richmond art walk! Here are the details for tonights event:

"Luminosity" Art Exhibit at Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery

Richmond, VA –  Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery will feature new paintings of the luminous landscape by Jennifer Young.  The show opens on Friday October 5th, 2007, with a reception from 6 to 8:30  PM. Opening night music provided by Russell Young. The exhibit continues through November 30th.   Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery is located at 16 East Main Street, two blocks east of the Jefferson Hotel. Click here to view a map and get directions from your location. For additional information please contact us!

Guest posting today

Today I'm posting about my Outer Banks paintings as a guest blogger over at the Queen of the Surf Pirates Blog. It's a fun and informative blog with the latest Outer Banks surfing info, beach news and more, courtesy of Paula Degatto and Sammy the Surf Dog from Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Check it out, and thanks Paula for the invitation!

Expression through movement in landscape painting

Recently I gave an interview to a very bright young lady from the UK who was studying my work for an A Levels school project. Here is one of her questions, and the response she inspired: "I really admire your style of brushwork in your images, especially in  "The Cypress House", where your strokes around the top of the trees and in the grass make me feel as though the painting is moving. I really like this and wondered why you choose to use this technique in your work?" -ST

Dear S.T.,

That is a wonderful observation and a great compliment. Thank you! I paint the landscape for several reasons, but mainly because it evokes in me a strong positive emotional response. So when I'm painting,  I try to convey the emotional energy I feel from the subjects I paint. There are many ways to express this emotional impact--through use of line and color choices, through composition, and yes, through brushwork (movement), to name a few.

There is movement all around us in nature if one will sit still long enough to observe it. A perfect way to practice this is to go down to the ocean shore and sit on the beach. Just sit and see how much life is moving and teeming all around you that we often are too busy to even notice.

Last week when I vacationed at the beach, I did this very thing. I noted the hundreds upon hundreds of  tiny crabs popping in and out of holes in the sand. I saw thin veils of sand blowing in the wind and subtly changing the shape of the shoreline. Small schools of fish zipped past my feet as I waded in the water. And if I really wanted to watch the world change before my eyes all I'd have to do is watch the sun rise and set. Thousands of miracles take place before our eyes every day if we take the time to notice.

In my paintings, I don't even attempt to compete with the miracles of nature. But I do try to celebrate them in my own small way. The use of movement in my work is one of the ways I capture these fleeting moments. On a more mundane, formal level I also am aware that showing movement through brushwork and through the composition is a way add interest to a painting and move the viewer's eye around the work of art. Thanks for your questions and good luck with your project!

Back from Hatteras & a plein air sunrise

I'm baaaaack. Everything about my Cape Hatteras vacation was perfect (weather, house, food, beach). And for the first time in a long time I took a true vacation, where lounging was required and painting was optional. Even when you do something you love for work, you still need to recharge. All work and no play make for less good work overall, in my opinion. HOWEVER....the sunrises were spectacular and I couldn't resist making at least one attempt at caputuring it en plein air. Here it is:

Sunrise plein air oil painting Hatteras Sunrise Oil on cavas, 6x8"

For more information, please contact me.

Beach Sunrise

Today I finished a painting of a sunrise scene from last summer when I stayed at the beach in Nags Head North Carolina. For some reason I was intent on seeing the sunrise while we were there. We saw a number of gorgeous sunsets in the evenings but the sun sets over the sound and the sun rises over the ocean. So I nagged my husband to get up with me one morning and catch the sunrise over the ocean. Why I couldn't go alone is beyond me now; but for some reason, he HAD to come. Unfortunately in my exuberance we were about an hour early, so my romantic vision of togetherness under the morning sun soon turned to sitting on the beach in the dark and listening to Dave grumble and shuffle around, trying to find a spot to lie down and finish his night's sleep. Eventually, however, we were rewarded with a beautiful soft misty sunrise over the clouds. Here is the painting inspired by that morning:

sunrise beach painting by Jennifer Young


I painted this scene with a limited palette (alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow pale, ultramarine blue, and pthalo green, plus white.) This is a scene that called for using a lot of "colored grays". Colors that may even read as "mud" in other paintings, created the soft, barely there light that I was going for. At first I thought I'd have to dip into my arsenal of more vivid colors (like permanent rose and cadmium orange) to get the sunrise effect, but because so much of the painting is muted and soft, my crimson and yellow mixtures really popped. My favorite part of this scene is the way the light skips across the water.

I painted this little study en plein air, and since that time I have been wanting to create something similar, but larger and more dynamic.


I used a very limited palette on this one too, mainly because I was under such limited time constraints and didn't have time to squeeze out a bunch of tube colors. One thing I learned from this little painting is that when painting sun/sky paintings on location you really need to keep your brushes and turpentine clean. You also need to paint extremely fast. Screaming at the changing light doesn't really help, but it may possibly make you feel better.