How to create a sunset watercolor painting was the topic for my Monday watercolor class this week. For this work I chose a sunset scene with lots of warm colors and interesting reflections.
- Firstly we had just completed a work which was predominately green and I wanted my students to have experience with a work with very little or no green in it.
- Secondly this photo required very little editing to turn it into a nice watercolor painting.
- Thirdly I wanted to teach them how to capture the light in a beautiful sunset.
- Finally I could show my students how to tackle soft water reflections in barely damp paper. If not done at just the right time you can end up with unwanted backruns or cauliflowers. On the other hand if you wait too long you end up with hard edges which would not look right for this watery scene.
Lake Bonney, South Australia, reference photo kindly supplied by Robyn Lovelock
Painting design decisions
- I placed the distant shoreline lower than in the photo to keep it well away from the center of the work.
- I also decided to leave out the diagonal shore in the foreground as well as the tree on the left hand edge of the photo. They did not add to the painting and the hard edge of the diagonal would have acted to lead the eye out of the painting rather than keeping it in it.
- I moved the position of the sun to the left for a more pleasing balance.
- When I paint a scene like this I never slavishly try to paint everything that is in a photo - if I wanted to do that then I would just frame the photo. As artists we have the ability to extract the essence of an image and hopefully improve on it.
|Watercolor painting of "Sunset on Lake Bonney" by Joe Cartwright|