Painting the Light

by Lisa Larrabee

Westward Moon
2nd Place Acrylic & Oil, Richeson 75 
International Competition
24" x 18"
artist Lisa Larrabee

Sunrises and sunsets are so beautiful that it can be hard to take your eyes away from them and turn around. When you do, the reward can be equally as great.  Capturing the blazing red-orange light hitting the tops of the trees with the moon still overhead was my goal.  This began as a demo that I did over two painting sessions for my Acrylic & Oil painting class.  The final session was painted in my studio.

In the first class, I used Gamblin Gamsol (OMS) to thin Transparent Earth Red to cover the panel (oil primed linen).  With a little OMS on my brush, I lifted out the moon and wiped it white with a paper towel.  The trees were blocked in with a little Cobalt added to the mix.  What I love about this method is that I can adjust and move around elements on my panel with incredible flexibility.  It is my new favorite way to begin!

Again, I don't know why the color changed when uploading to my blog.  I tried to adjust and upload again, but it is just off.  I began painting the sky with cobalt, titanium white and yellow ocher to warm it up (that is the part you can't tell).  As it transitions down, there is more ocher and then cadmium red. This first layer of color is applied thinly to allow for some of the warmth of the under-painting to show through.  I switched to translucent sap green with some cobalt to glaze or scumble over the land and lightly over the trees.  I brought in some ocher and a bit of white to add opacity.  I needed to cool off the green from the bottom up.  By sandwiching the light part of the trees between the cooler sky and ground, it appears much more red-orange, but I actually painted very little on that part today.  I  toned it down with green, but it seems much redder than it did in the under-painting because of the relative colors.

During the third and final session I repainted the majority of the painting.  Overall, I feel that I captured the light that wanted to of the sun rising behind me and hitting the trees.  I am happy with the result.  I hope that you enjoy it as well.

~ Lisa