Helping artists see how to create what they are after is part of what I love about teaching. Brenda wanted to paint a very specific sunrise in watercolor - very challenging. Sunrises or sunsets with watercolor are fairly easy, but to capture what you really felt when you watched in awe as the sun disappeared or peeked above the horizon - that's hard. When I started the little demo, I told her it probably wouldn't work out to be a good sunset since it's just too easy to overwork them. Glad I was wrong.
The very edge of parts of the tops of the clouds was misketed first, then the paper was sprayed to dampen it everywhere. The excess water dripped down since my table is at a slant. Only three colors were used, in this order - permanent yellow deep, quinacridone coral, and cobalt violet deep. Cobalt doesn't move much on wet paper unless it's really pushed around, so it was pretty safe to paint it next to the yellow even on very wet paper. Though it looks like color was sprayed off, it wasn't. Because the violet stayed where it was brushed on, it was easy to make the sun rays accurately fan out from one point under the clouds. Adding it to the darker parts of the clouds helped give depth to them, too.

Clouds have some attributes that are different than objects on the ground. They are sharper edged farther away and softer edged closer. The bottom of clouds is nearly always warmer than the top due to the reflection of light off the earth below them. Unless the sun is behind your back when you take a photo of clouds, there is hardly any pure white at all in them. Often the darkest part of the cloud is right next to the whitest edge.

So what should I do to finish the painting? Suggest a shoreline..... add a soft but more distinct horizon..... put a boat in the water or a duck swimming..... stop and leave it like it is???

"SUNRISE" Transparent Watercolor on 140# Arches 8 x 8"



Though I seldom choose to paint commissions, the time spent painting this beautiful dog was special. Lynne commissioned me to paint it for her daughter, and there was no way I could say 'no,' especially after seeing the great photo choices that she provided. Painting animals is always fun for me. Thanks, Lynne, for asking me to paint this and for the excellent photography to work from.

"TOAD" Transparent Watercolor on 140# Arches 22 x 17" COLLECTED