01 February, 2013

Plein air at Night

Things that go bump in the night......

I have thought of painting the nights sky for years. I try it every now and then, especially inspired during the summer months when the skies are clear and the weather conducive to being outdoors at night. Because there are few cities and the quality of the air is good, the night sky is incredible.

My closest city is Hamilton, a hamlet on the scale of cities worldwide, and a just a vague blip on the horizon from my eyrie.. I painted on the verge of our country road , last night, camp torch headlight illuminating my palette. Four cars passed me( what must they have thought!!?) .Friday night , 10 pm, and I am painting outdoors. My 18 year old self is hysterical with laughter at the idea...she was off partying at this time!At least I am always having a good time, no matter what age!

As a first attempt en plein air painting a night scene, called a nocturne, I am pleased with the result. I only spent about 30 minutes out there till I scampered back indoors for a cup of tea. I preloaded my palette with Pthalo Blue and Pthalo green, permanent Alizarin,ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, raw sienna, cadmium orange and white.

Here is what I learned:

  • have a plan!
  • work fast if you are working in dusk!
  • know what colours do what...mixing on the palette with artificial light relies on experience
  • squint....even in the dark
  • do not shine the light in your own eyes...you will be blinded for a while
  • photos are fairly useless!!!
I am going to do this again! It was fun!

20 x 30 cm oil on archival paper
Friday nocturne

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