(My "On the Easel" posts give you a behind-the-scenes look at what I am working on, what went well, what went wrong, and things I learn.)
Below is Caloundra, Early Sunrise. It captures the initial moments of the sunrise. I was about to hit the water with my kayak. It was quiet and the sky was mostly dark, but warm light was starting to burst through the clouds.
This follows on from my Caloundra, Dramatic Sunrise painting, which is based on the same sunrise. The composition is roughly the same, but the colors and overall feeling are not.
Reference Photo and Study
Below is the reference photo. Feel free to try and paint it yourself.
I didn't paint a study for this. I wanted to just pick up a brush and palette knife and jump straight into it. Sometimes, the best results comes from spontaneous action.
- Oil on Ambersand gessoboard. 18 x 24 inches.
- Main colors: Ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, cadmium yellow deep, and titanium white.
Refer to my supplies list for more details on what I use.
- I utilized both brushes and palette knives. It's an effective combination. Brushes are perfect for mixing, blending, and subtle strokes. Palette knives are perfect for bold strokes of distinct color.
- Painting the same scene allows me to gain a deeper understanding of color and light. Claude Monet explored this idea with water lilies, the Rouen Cathedral, the Waterloo Bridge, and many other subjects.
- I stopped whilst the painting still appeared fresh and spontaneous.
- Movement is a key feature of the painting. I was constantly thinking about the swirling wind and the ebbs and flows of the water.
- I painted with instinct rather than calculated thought. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. It doesn't take much for instinct to turn into a sloppy mess on the canvas.
Step 1: A simple sketch, focusing on key lines, shapes, and movement.
Step 2: Thin washes of color.
Step 3: Wipe down and refine using paper towel.
Step 4: Build up color using brushes and palette knives.
Step 5: Add dark accents, highlights, and finishing touches. Then sign and photograph the finished painting.