How to Paint a Sunset
I've used my imagination in the sunset painting - I'm creating from my imagination, as is the usual with my sunset paintings. I start how to paint a sunset with a concept and ask myself the following questions.
What kind of clouds?
Will the sun be behind clouds?
Below the horizon?
Will it be a quiet and subdued sky?
Will it be a riot of warm colors?
Light airy sky?
In this particular sky I decided to have some light airy clouds. I wanted some of the pinks in the clouds that were just wisps of clouds. I also wanted to contrast the pinks with some greens in the sky. Light and color always hook me. It's what I love to work with and sunsets have both. I want the sky, clouds and ground to feel as if light is bouncing all over.
As I paint any sunset, I'm am always balancing the warm and cools in color along with the values, light and dark.
At this point, it looks like dabs of color all over the place. But, there is a strategy here. I'm starting with the sky itself, not the clouds. You can see the pinks of those wispy pink clouds and the greens I was talking about. Also it is warmer down at the bottom of the sky. That will be where my sun is. That was the first choice that I made, where the sun would be.
I've got more of the sky painted above. It is a play of colors next to each other. My next decision I wonder about is how much blending and how much of the brushstrokes should I leave. I like a mix of thinner, soft edges and thick paint. The two together is an interesting mix.
I have quite a bit more done here, I changed my clouds shapes as I painted. I felt they were too heavy for what I wanted. I also felt that I got a little carried away with the bright pink. I didn't want to overdo it. So, I scraped some paint out. I have the overall shapes here, but a lot more work to go. I was at a good stopping point for the day. I did notice that my oranges are a little too dark in value, so I'll be tackling that tomorrow. I will also be adjusting some of the colors. I want the clouds a little more gray with the use of juxtaposed color next to each other.
So tomorrow, stay tuned, more to come.
If you want to learn more about how to paint a sunset, check out my online workshop on painting sunsets.