I was taken by a sunrise picture of the Fire island Lighthouse captured by Mike Busch. I felt like I have been coasting along using colors that were too bright and unnatural so I challenged myself to paint this backlit lighthouse and capture it differently from how it would appear in full sunlight.

No bright red allowed, nor sunny blue sky. I did this color study on a 5 x 7 sample of Stonehendge 300 lb Coldpress paper.

First I toned the paper with a very light wash of gamboge hue, blotting it up where I wanted the emerging sun to be. When dry I taped off the edges of the lighthouse with washi tape. (a big mistake! it pulled up the surface of the paper a bit when I unmasked).

I also wanted to stop using Payne’s gray to gray colors down. It just exerts an unnatural heaviness in my unskilled hands.

For the clouds I mixed my usual burnt sienna and prussian blue, or maybe a bit of burnt sienna and cobalt blue.

My oranges were burnt sienna or brown madder. That lovely mahogany brown in the field was brown madder+prussian blue, and I overwashed the greens with this a bit to pull things togetner.

All in all, I am happy enough with this color study that I will do a larger version. Both for my son who looks forward to a summer here after working from home for so long in a tiny NYC apartment.

I used my new crystal dip pen to draw in those reeds. It gave me a steadier hand than I can obtain with a liner brush.

An exciting exploration is happening over on artistcoveries in 2020. I have always loved the Hudson River School’s majestic wilderness paintings. The detail, the colors, the aerial perspective, and a natural follow-on to her tonalism studies.

One thought on “Color

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