Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sunset Cloudscape

Sunset Cloudscape, 8" x 10" in Pan Pastels on orange Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper. I used the smooth side, definitely didn't want to wrestle with the weave texture on this skyscape.

Once again I used just the 10 color Painters Set. I'm getting some practice in with the limited palette so that I can prepare to bring it with me when I go out to paint plein air. I'll be doing various paintings just using those 10 Painters colors until I'm completely used to mixing my tints and any hues not included in them. So far I'm very happy with the results - and happy with how small the 10 color tray is. It's reduced the sheer amount of stuff stacked up next to my chair. Nothing needs to be moved around when I use the small set.

This one is completely from imagination. I set out to create abstract shapes in the clouds, highlight around them and play with their shapes and colors. As I developed the cloud shapes, I decided I liked the orange color of the paper and brightened it with a sunset gradient. The net result is a lot of fun, very dramatic, expressive, colorful sunset that brings together the memories of thousands of blazing sunsets I couldn't paint at the time I sat watching them. Fat puffy cumulus clouds always fascinated me anyway, so this painting is an exploration of those shapes among other things, as well as the values and hues that shift and play within them.

It started out to become a storm and then turned into a sunset. Sometimes it's fun to just see where the painting is going and change my idea as it gets there.


  1. Great job painting from imagination, Rob. Love the complementary orange and blue sky. Your clouds look very fluffy and well formed. Now I am wondering what I can do with Pans and MT paper. lol We may soon find out.

  2. Thank you! I really appreciate that, was focusing on the forms of cumulus clouds with this one. I'm going to come back to them again in other skyscapes too. Definitely looking forward to see what you do on MT paper with Pans! I've had little or no trouble with it, though the PastelMat is a lot easier to layer on than anything else.

    I actually like MT smooth side better than using sanded paper, the texture of the grit comes through more when I'm doing Pans on heavily sanded papers. But I may not be dabbing enough pigment the way Deborah Secor does, she uses Wallis and makes it work.