Sunrise and Sunset Lighting

by Armand Cabrera

I am defining Sunrise/ Sunset paintings as images where the sun is placed in the picture. These situations are more difficult to pull off and the approach needed is counter intuitive to the way a painter normally handles an outdoor sketch.

Sunrise and Sunset painting are the two extreme situations of lighting that are the most tantalizing for the outdoor painter and they are the situation we all try eventually. Personally I think painting a scene with the sun it, unobstructed by anything, is an impossible task. Even paintings by my favorite artists of this subject fall short, in my eyes.

A much more effective approach is to have a scene facing the sun with its orb blocked or partially blocked by some object or meteorological phenomenon. These scenes are possible and there are many fine examples of them in the history of representational painting.
There are two general ways to approach these kinds of scenes. The first is to focus on the contrast between sky and land, relinquishing strong color for one or the other major elements and relying heavily on strong values of light and dark.

The second way to approach this subject is to key the values and color to a narrower range to heighten the overall effect of light in the scene. Both of these approaches take skill to execute effectively. The composition and the design of these scenes take on a higher degree of importance to coordinate all of the elements successfully.

Making the scene brighter around the sun requires to raise the saturation of the paint, to make it look lighter you raise the value. Many painters confuse these aspects and their paintings suffer because of it. In these kinds of scenes you must lower the saturation and the value for the rest of the painting away from the sunlight.

In my opinion paintings that are keyed to a narrow tonal and hue range are more successful than ones that rely on full range contrast for the effect.

Paintings in this article from top to bottom are, Frederick Church, William Trost Richards,Peder Monsted, Thomas Moran, William Trost Richards, and Albert Bierstadt. All copyrights belong to the respective owners.

Charles Muench Workshop

I want to announce a great opportunity for artists. Charles Muench is offering a workshop in June.

 I’ve known Charles for quite some time now and he has become one of the best painters around. I know that phrase gets thrown around  a lot these days but in Charles’ case it is backed up with a string of top awards from some of the most premiere events in the United States.

  Charles just recieived the Southwest Art Award of Excellance at the California Art Club’s 100 Gold Medal Show this year. In 2010, Charles won the Edgar Payne Award for Best Landscape at the California Art Club’s 99th Annual Juried Exhibition. He was unanimously elected a Signature Member of the California Art Club. Charles received the First Place Award at the 2008 Heritage Art Exhibition presented by Joan Irving Smith as well as the Collector’s Choice Award at the 2008 and 2005 Maynard Dixon Country Invitational. Charles was awarded the First Place Award and “Best Painting of the Cove” Award at the 2007 and 2005 Crystal Cove Alliance Invitational in Laguna Beach, CA. He also was honored with the Best of Show/Artist’s Choice Award at the 2006 Telluride Plein Air Show. Charles received the Gold Medal Award at the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Event in October 2002. Charles has had his work included in the Arts for the Parks Top 100 Exhibit. His work is accepted annually in the California Art Club’s Annual Gold Medal Exhibit and the Gilcrease Museum’s American Art in Miniature Exhibition
Don’t miss your chance to study with one of the best contemporary painters in the country. Here are the details
Five Day Workshop Painting the Eastern Sierra
Locations include the California Sierra alpine of Hope Valley to the high plains desert of Nevada- all within 30 miles!
Two states and a lot of scenery!
June 13 – June 17th
E-mail Charles Muench for deposit and reservation information.

There’s a lot of land between the eastern Sierra and the high plains of Nevada to paint! Come on out and catch the transient beauty of spring in this unique country. We’ll make the most of each day- demonstrations, painting, critique, and taking in the gestalt of a group of artists painting together. We meet each morning at a different location. Having lived in this area for over ten years, I know of a lot of sweet painting spots and late spring in the Sierra is a truly unique experience. We will paint the ranch lands of the Carson Valley. We will paint the vast landscape of the Pine Nut Mountain range looking across to the Sierra range. We will paint the architecture of the rural Sierra town of Markleeville (my personal mountain Wobegon!) I will also offer a special hiking trip, for those who want, to paint the spectacular spring run-off of Markleeville Falls- less than a mile but some up hill (and with the amount of snow, this will be a record year!) For those who don’t want to make the hike- no worries! I will do two demonstrations during this day! I have attached a class description as well as a materials list.
There are many good hotels in the Carson Valley. Here are a few. Budget hotels are also available.

Road Trip

Armand Cabrera

Sorry for the delayed post. I’ve been teaching in California and have had limited access to the blog for some unknown reason. Here are some of the outdoor paintings I’ve painted while here. I will post the complete process for a couple of them when I get a chance.

The weather has been mild and perfect for painting outside. Painting the ocean from life is always satisfying. I’ve been working  on 12×16 linen panels. Just having one size makes travel a lot easier.
I shipped the OMS to the hotel ahead of time. and there was only one slight hitch with that.

It seems you can’t ship OMS or any solvent in containers larger than 32 ounces in CA anymore. Of course the way the law is written, you can ship as many 32 ounce containers as you want ; go figure. So instead of shipping a gallon can of OMS in one box, I had to buy and ship four 32 ounce cans in one box, which is still a gallon last time I checked. So all this law has done is made it more expensive to buy  and ship OMS because you are now buying it in smaller units. I love government.