The key to painting sunsets convincingly involves portraying how colour and tone gradate steeply between horizon and zenith. The shimmering colours of sunsets can also be achieved by juxtaposing contrasting colours with neutrals.
Painting of a Sunset
using impasto medium and palette knives help to give the painting a sense of texture. More about impasto medium in a moment, for now, the following tips might help the beginner get to grips with painting sunsets.
Art Materials Required
Tips on Painting Sunsets Using Impasto Medium
Impasto medium is an alky-based gel that adds bulks to the paint for impasto techniques. Do not be put off by its brownish colour, it will not affect the hue of the colour. Simply mix a little into the pigment in a proportion of no more than fifty-fifty.
Demonstration on Painting a Sunset
With a medium palette knife, pthalo blue, white and a little viridian was mixed with some impasto medium and ladled onto the area just above the horizon. The two areas of colour were then carefully knitted together.
To avoid unwanted dirty colours bands forming when blending two contrasting colours within the sky, dabbing a little white onto the mixture will result in delicate pastels or neutrals often featured in sunsets.
With a thin palette knife, streaks of permanent rose and cadmium yellow was applied onto of the pale blue area of sky. Stark contrast between hues was brought out by ladling neat pthalo blue towards the zenith of the sky.
The Colour of Sunset
The sun skidding over the bases of the cloud was suggested by dabbing permanent rose and white onto selected areas of the dark blue areas of cloud. Care was taken that the two colours did not mix together, resulting in a muddy mix. The painting was then completed by mixing ultramarine and burnt umber and dabbing it onto the silhouette of trees in the foreground. This immediately brought out the bright colours at the horizon.
Read about the anatomy of the color orange on my science of color site.
My other book, Oil Paintings from the Landscape can be purchased direct from Amazon. © Rachel Shirley 2010