A Blog About Oil Painting

Sunset

/ / Landscape Sky Sketch

Painting of the sunset

Sunset (cell phone pic of the painting). 5x7, oil on linen panel. 2015

A cloudless sky at sunset seems to dwarf the land and I am always drawn to the continuum of the color changes in the sky. The contrast of the warm sky against a flat landscape feels like something worth trying to capture.

I came across this scene while out walking at sunset during the fall and the clear, cloudless weather today made me want to paint this as soon as I got to the studio this morning.

I used an unusual palette: chromatic black, alizarin, cad orange, cad yellow medium and violet gray (Holbein). The first four of these are like a modified Ned Jacob palette - I used this in the fall for a larger landscape painting and thought it would work for both the warm parts of the sky and the dull landscape. The addition of violet gray comes from my plein air work: it's a versatile paint for use in the field. None of the colors are used straight out of the tube, of course; everything is mixed.

When working on these small pieces I paint directly. That is, there's very little under painting or block-in, if any. I usually trowel on the paint with a small knife, work the paint and edges with a large brush then apply a little more paint where needed. I'm also content with a random surface texture, a mix of knife strokes and brush marks next to each other - something that I would try to avoid in a larger work.

As always, the most important thing is to know when to stop