Little did I think this afternoon that I was going to get home so late from running errands. I pulled into my driveway after 5pm. It was dark enough to know I had missed all the last light and dusk views.
Then, as I was walking around the back yard checking out the different views and looking for a spot to set up my easel, I saw a brilliant star in the west. I walked up onto my back deck and saw the crescent moon shinning through the big pines trees behind the studio. By the time I had my easel, paints and brushes, the moon had climbed above the trees and was moving south west toward the bright sparkling star. This star was so bright I realized this was not a star but a planet. It was Venus. It was quiet and peaceful. No wind and the temperature was still a warm 35. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be outside painting this lovely evening as the waxing crescent moon and Venus were meeting in the sky. Last night and tonight are the only times this happens this year. What a delight!
I started painting just before the sun set this evening. I could see the houses clearly in the rapidly declining light. I knew one thing was for sure. I had to paint the structures fast before they disappeared as the light dimmed. Suddenly the overcast sky was not so gray. The sun must have found an opening in the clouds and had dropped to that spot where the light was bouncing back up into the clouds. I saw a slight pink, then a violet , then more pink and peach. It was so quick. Maybe I saw it for 3 minutes before more clouds moved back in. It was enough time for me to paint it.
I love times like this. The whole scene was warm and rosy. Cars drove up and down the street and people parked cars into their driveways. I could see headlights and red tail lights at different houses here and there. Then the house lights came on and it was time for dinner.
A quick reminder! The special pricing (half price) on this 31 in 31 series of paintings ends on January 31st.
Another warm quiet day! How lucky we are that this is not a sub-zero Arctic January like last year! It started off sunny this morning, then big, gorgeous clouds swept in. Oh, I thought maybe there will be a nice sunset tonight…wrong. More and more clouds came in and it got a bit gray. So I waited till it got darker and the lights came on. When you’re painting en plein air in a short time frame you don’t always have what you expect. I can roll with it.
The focus this month is to make a painting every day. I don’t have time to jump in the car and drive around till I see something I want to paint. Instead I’m slowing down, stopping and watching. I’m waiting till the light changes and reveals what I am looking for. Plus, there is the challenge of limiting myself to my neighborhood. This is all great fun. Sometime I’m surprised when I see what I painted. Not my usual stuff. So this adventure is really delivering the goods!
It was warm today. Clouds pushed through this afternoon on a cool, light breeze. After sunset the breeze sent a little chill into the air as it got dark. Still it was way warmer than it was a few weeks ago.
The houses and outbuildings across the field caught my eye with their back door lights and kitchen windows all lit and glowing. It was another day I stayed in the neighborhood and painted what is nearby and familiar. I’m trying to see how many different paintings I can make from the views of my neighborhood. This collection of house and street lights and the patterns they made among the dark shapes of the trees added just the right bit of mystery and softness to the landscape. I could make out the shapes of some buildings where the light hit them, or where window lights glowed. Other buildings faded into the darkness with only a hint that they were there.
It was another overcast winter evening with lovely soft light. It was a warm 38 degrees and quiet. Rain is expected later tonight. I looked across the back field and saw the house lights glowing in the deepening twilight. I am a fan of Fredrick Remington’s night time paintings of deep darkness and indistinguishable shapes. I wait everyday for it to get dark enough before I start painting. Now, during this time I’m waiting for darkness, I see things I want to paint. Today as twilight set in I noticed the cluster of houses across the snowy field. The fact that there is enough snow around to create interesting shapes and forms is what keeps me coming back to this scene of the field and houses. I really like that I am limiting my area of interest. It makes you go deep. You notice more. I am seeing more than I would if I was traveling every day to a different location. I’ve stayed in town a lot this past month of painting and I’m surprised at what I’ve discovered.
It was totally quiet, warm and calm this evening. It was overcast so the light was very restrained and the sky was a warm violet gray. The snowy spots of the roof tops were little islands in the trees and brush. Once again I didn’t have to go far. I stayed at my studio and painted the view across the field. I didn’t plan to paint this. I was working away in the studio and stopped to check the weather when I glanced out the window. There it all was. A nice soft light was making all the houses and buildings look gentle and muted. Of course I was checking the weather for our next snow forecast. The snow is what is making these landscapes look so good! I hope it doesn’t all go and melt now that I am on a role !
It was gorgeous painting outdoors this evening. It was so warm that my paint behaved normally! Wow, did that make it easy to paint. I even relaxed while I was painting and didn’t hurry to get the painting finished and back inside. When I went inside my studio after I finished I checked the temps and it was 25 . I could have sworn it was 40 !
This is the view behind my studio looking across the field at the back of my neighbors barn and the lights from the other houses on their street. I’ve been wanting to paint this since I saw all these lights on last night but I didn’t have the right sized panel. I was lucky the lights were back on tonight. I prepped more new panels today so I could just dive in when the lights went on. I love the mystery of the different shapes and lights in these nocturnes.
I went out late today. It was calling me. No wind, a bit on the chilly side but much warmer than yesterday. It was 22 degrees so my paints didn’t seize up from the cold. Its usually below 20 that they act like concrete.
I stayed near my studio and looked out to the south west after sunset. There was a deep golden sky but it was so dark in the trees that the houses and building weren’t easy to to see. Everything seemed to be very soft edged and they blurred into the form that was near it. The houses melted into the trees. Nothing had edges except some trees closer to me. I painted what I saw. I love this time of day. I’m going out again at dusk later on this week when it will be even warmer like, maybe 35 at sunset? How radical is that?
It was cold today. I think it went as high as 18 degrees but I wasn’t outside for very long. I was out this morning in the full sunshine and it felt fine. But, I didn’t get any time to paint until this afternoon after 3. It was not “toasty warm” then. So I thought I’d paint an interior scene with gouache. I didn’t see anything that caught my eye. The best light show was happening outside. I walked around the first floor of the house looking at views from the windows. Then I noticed the shadows were getting really nice outside .
I headed out to the studio. It was cold. The heat had been off since last night. The temp indoors was around 20. Still it was warmer than outside. I turned on the heat and pretended I was outside. No problem. It was 40 degrees in no time. I was toasty compared to 18 or whatever it was outside. The light wasn’t quite right yet. Then the light changed. It was perfect. I looked around and saw the afterglow in the east over my next door neighbor’s house. He had just sprinkled some birdseed on the ground, and a flock of morning doves were having dinner. It couldn’t have been any better. I painted it in 20 min and headed back to the toasty warm house.
I’m at day 20 in this challenge. It was a toasty 20 degrees today in full sunshine. Later this week we are promised some really warm temps in the 40’s. I’m looking forward to that as my paint behaves very differently when the temps are above 20 degrees.
I noticed this month my time is really focused on prepping for classes. This keeps me busy in the studio. I haven’t had much time to get into the car to drive around looking for scenes to paint. So far this month I’ve kept my focus on something nearby to catch my eye. I’m painting a lot of scenes based on design challenges. And I’m mixing it up with a variety of subjects and lighting situations. I notice I really like painting after dark. I think its the design challenge and the mystery that attracts me.
Today I painted the neighbor’s garden shed in the afternoon sun. They are snow birds so his house and garden waits quietly for him to return every spring. I’m using a limited palette of quin.red, azo yellow and ultramarine blue. I’m painting everyday with Evergreen Daggers (Rosemary), Ivory White Brights (Rosemary), Silverwhites and Silver Bristlon brights. The daggers and Ivory Whites are new. I’ve had them around but haven’t had much time till now to use them. They are definitely great brushes. I’m going to buy more of these for sure.