I knew it would be tricky because the light moves so fast at sunset. It's a reasonably simple subject in terms of the drawing so that makes things easier to handle. For now I've been starting from scratch on each study but I might be tempted to map out the basic compostion on future efforts to save time when in front of the subject. Apart from the time issues, one of the hardest things is trying to find an equivalent in paint for the brilliant light and colours. I end up having to work part observation and part memory as the subject changes so rapidly. What I try to avoid is 'chasing' the light but it's inevitable to a certain extent. In some ways it's not such a bad thing since I want the painting to serve as an account of the whole experience of being there, not merely a snapshot. It's a fine balance. After about 30-40mins the subject will have changed so much it's probably best to start another one but I'm sometimes guilty of carrying on a bit longer than I really should!
Anyway, the three paintings...in the order they were painted (each done on separate evenings after work):
First effort above, earlier in the evening, not so exciting but it got me familar with the scene and the light was a bit more steady compared to later on.
This one above was done earlier in the evening with a higher sun. I don't know what possessed me but I went with an 8x20in board....rather ambitious for such a fast changing scene and it reminded me to keep things smaller for next time!
This was a better size (about 5x13in) and worked out quite nicely in terms of composition and balance of light. I was guilty of chasing the light a bit in this but it seemed worth it as every time I looked up the scene just got better and better!
Detail showing brushwork and sky colours of the above painting
All of the above are as they were when they came off the easel. As you can see, they're rough around the edges but far more valuable in terms of information than any photograph could give me. I might be tempted to do a larger studio piece based on these 'sketches'. I put the detail shot in as it shows the marks, colour choices etc. I couldn't really look at the sun as it was so bright so it's more a case of trying to make a judgment whilst it's in my peripheral vision. Clearly, the sun is many times brighter than the yellow paint I used so it's interesting to see how an equivalent is arrived at. It's important to try and keep colour mixes clean so I get through plenty of brushes (saves time on cleaning them whilst in action).
My palette for this one had less cadmiums as the colours in the early evening were less intense
I had the idea of doing two in succession but only managed one on this occasion. I'll use the spare as a starting point for next time.
See how the camera lies!!