Hello, my friends…today I will be painting a sunset in acrylics….so you will get to see me up close and personal. I thought for my milestone 100th post I would do something special for you. The one thing that has been limiting for me lately is that I am not very well-versed on the issue of video editing. I know of art blogger/vloggers who have all kinds of special effects that allow them to speed up the “long” parts. But I’m still going to do the best I can with what I have.
Anyway, moving along…I love sunsets. nature’s masterpiece, am I right? Sunsets provide the perfect backdrop to a beach, urban cityscape, meandering river, so many possibilities. I’ll be doing something very similar to the multi-panel painting you see here, so you can replicate it for yourself. In the front will be a silhouette scene.
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I’m beginning with a small canvas and I’ve got the underpainted backdrop started. I’ve got everything set up so here I go. Beginning with a large shader brush, since we have a wide swath to cover…
I am also using a blending medium as well, this is critical. That last painting with the sunset backdrop you saw, I did that one in oils and the 4-5 days it took to dry meant I could re-work and blend at a little more leisurely pace. I won’t have that advantage here, so the use of a medium is important.
I’m starting with the first coat this is orange with a small amount of white.
When you’ve looked at sunsets in real life you may notice they always have those intoxicating swirls of pink, red, yellow, and lilac shades. So any combination of those that you work into the background will qualify. Then there”s that horizon line…you know, the sun sets on the horizon, under which there’s usually elements of nature like mountains, or tree. I want to keep that area darker.
I’m adding more peachy tones to the top and slowly bringing it down with long, sweeping strokes. Trying to be careful not to overwork it. Sky tones where the sun is slowly creeping down in the sky, are subtle and I am trying to capture that reality, by layering the colors together. I’m doing that by adding a little bit of titanium white and cadmium )also known as “lemon” yellow to the mix.
Where the sky is the darkest, at the horizon line, I’m finally adding in the sun, which is a quick dab of creamy white.
Next I’ll be getting to the silhouette of the city – that part will be easiest as it won’t have much detail. I’ll add outlines of trees and city elements, like power lines, antennaes, and building tops/ Your silhouette could be something else, lilke a beach, in which case, palm trees and the outline of the water.
But that’s the general idea. Next time it’s early evening, maybe think about taking a picture of the setting sun with your phone camera and use as a reference, and pay special attention to the colors as they intermingle with each other. Having a picture to go by always helps me when I work.
The sun itself, easy, white and a swipe with a small flat brush, don’t overthink that one!
Link to video tutorial:
Next I wanted to focus on the foreground details. Instead of a country/rural setting this time, I went for an urban looking backdrop, with power lines and towers in the background, in addition to trees and foliage complete with wayward branches. For this I used black mixed with Payne’s Gray and some Titanium white.
Other details I included are: the slight addition of a house in early-evening shadows – on the right, where you can see white/gray highlights. The last and final touches were a few birds -whoops, bats, in the sky, since they are in the distance, they don’t look that different. Do you always have to have setting accuracy in art?
Then I added a slight halo of white around the sun. You’ll notice a setting sun is always white to the naked eye. There’s probably more I could have added, but I decided to pause for now. Hope you will try this on your own, and good luck to you, I’ll be back again!
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