Landscape: Capturing the Light

Breaking Through
Oil  18" x 24"
artist Lisa Larrabee

I created this painting in an attempt to capture the brilliant but fleeting  moment when light breaks through the clouds after a rainstorm.

I generally like to begin on a warm toned background.  It allows for additional depth and richness in the colors layered over the top.  I blocked in the main shapes loosely to get the composition set.

One aspect of this image that I liked was the two light areas.  They each had their own character and color temperature.  I wanted to make sure that the top right added interest without competing.

At this point, the light in the upper right felt too flat.  I was also having some difficulty finding the right colors for where the sun breaks through.  I needed to lay down some of the neutral mid-values to build my highlights on.  However, the warm under-painting made these colors look exceptionally dull.  I trusted what I saw and continued with them.  Although I liked the orange, I wanted to capture the subtlety of what was there.

When I was nearly through, I felt the painting was thin and lacking something.  I took a chance and repainted over the whole piece.  I used the opportunity to experiment with Winsor & Newton Liquin Impasto.  I love how it allowed me to create translucent color while maintaining painterly brushstrokes.  I started to get a feel for what this medium could (and couldn't) do for me, and I have continued using it on my current piece.  It is yet another reminder to never be afraid to experiment when painting!

~ Lisa