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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sky on Fire

Sky on Fire

The other morning in Kentucky
we had the most gorgeous sunrise.
It was stunning and it really felt like the sky was on fire.

You know what had to happen next, I'm sure.

Yes, I had to get out my paints and have a go at it.

Many artists, including the old masters,
paint on what is known as a toned canvas.
Nope, it's not in tip top shape from exercising,
but it means it has an under painting of gray or burnt sienna.
A favorite religious painter of mine from the 1600's is Carl Bloch and often he painted on copper.  

There are several reasons why you would under paint your canvas.  One is to cover the canvas so as you paint, there aren't tiny pieces of white showing through.  The second reason is, you can give your painting a warm glow or a cooler look depending on what you under paint with.
If you want warm tones you go with burnt sienna and if you want cooler you would use a gray.

 This is what I started with 

Then I started blocking in the darkest clouds and the foreground area.

I added the tree line knowing it will probably be moved or changed.  I'm just trying to get a feel for it at this point.

I'm beginning to get the dark part of the fire in
and I'm defining the darkest clouds.

Started putting in the brightest lights.
One thing artists often are afraid of is going too dark or too light.  If you don't do that, you loose the impact and it is difficult to see one without the other.

 Here I started adding varying colors in the clouds of cad orange and cad red, mixed with some alizarin crimson and defining the lightest yellows.

 At this point, I got out my trusty palette knife because I thought it was too tight.
I always loosen up with a knife as opposed to a brush.
I also added some even darker clouds using the knife and ultrmarine blue and dioxazine purple.

 Starting at the back of the foreground I added trees and  some orange highlights on the ones farthest back.

I added lots of trees and a road with my palette knife.  I've never done trees like this with a knife before, but I wanted a loose foreground.

Finishing the road and giving highlights to trees.
Also adding rocks in the right front corner.
I don't like where the road is going,
so that's one of the things I need to fix.
 Re-worked the road and brightened up the rocks.

However, after looking this over, I didn't like it either, so it's going to change again. 

 Changed the road here, but didn't like it either.
I did add some highlight back where the road meets the horizon and that I like, so it's staying.

Now, here is the final, (I think) painting.
One thing I don't like, is this photo isn't as close to the real thing as I would like.
I'll try photographing it tomorrow, but you can see the changes I made on the road and the rocks.

Anyway, you can see sometimes it takes a lot of adjusting to get it right.  It doesn't mean it was wrong necessarily, but to me it was wrong.   

Beginning online painting course.

 If you'd like to learn how to paint from the ground up,
you should check out the new online course I created especially for the beginning painter. 

Click HERE to view the course. 

What you'll learn:

How  to create and use a color wheel 
How to create a color chart and why
Which brushes do what
How to practice
video directions to complete two paintings.


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About Me

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Ghent, Kentucky, United States
I'm a nature artist and I love to paint old barns, rivers and lakes, trees and fence rows and flowers. I work almost daily. You can purchase paintings by contacting me at and there is also a tab across the top of my blog for available paintings and one for small paintings with buy now buttons. You can also purchase through my Etsy shop using the name of Fine Nature Art. . Thank you so much for stopping by.