In the early evening, before dusk darkens the sky, there is a period often referred to as crepuscular or the ‘golden hour’. It produces an amazing glow across the sky and land that is uniquely translucent and luminescent at the same time. Nowhere in the world have I found this as pronounced as here in north Cornwall. Sitting back and reflecting on the finished painting I am pleased to think I have captured one of my favourite times of day – the amazing moment before dusk – looking out on a familiar scene.
Capture the light by Tony Hogan
Stretched primed canvas 16x20in. (40.5x51cm)
Brushes, Ivory and Evergreen long flat ranges by Rosemary & Co.
Pastel arctic blue
Tinting (pearling) white
In the final of three works depicting different light effects throughout the day, Tony Hogan demonstrates how he paints evening light
Paint the whole board with dioxazine purple and whilst still wet lift out with a long flat brush the basic construction of the image.
Block in a large area of the sky with tinting white and, whilst still wet, introduce Arctic pastel blue, cerulean blue and cobalt blue hue. With the Arctic blue nearer to the horizon blend upwards to the cobalt blue hue. Introduce
the first cloud shape.
Painting loose and quick with a No. 10 long flat brush, continue developing the sky and block in the first impression of the river. Here introduce jaune brilliant for the reflective warmth of the evening light. Also block in the large tree on the left with forest green. A mix of forest green with a little dioxazine purple is then added as it reflects in the river.
Add the more defined shapes of clouds using tinting and titanium white, jaune brilliant and tinting grey. To the right of the sky use tinting grey. Tinting white with cerulean blue and dioxazine purple are used for the flat cloud formations. Taking a smaller long flat brush use forest green to introduce the distant trees and bushes. Whilst the farthest hillside is blocked in with this
same colour mixed with tinting white and cerulean blue to make it paler and cooler in tone to represent distance.
Paint the cloud shapes and positions by introducing deepening warmth with jaune brilliant and shadow with tinting grey. During this process constantly add touches of these colours to the river to balance the work.
Add a small amount of quinacridone magenta to your palette as you continue painting the effects of evening light in the sky and river. Naples yellow and olive green with tinting white are used to change the colour of the fields, uniting them more to the evening light of the sky. Further block in bushes and trees with mixtures of the colours on your palette. A big move at this time is to start blocking in the dominant riverbank on the right of the work, before becoming brave and using pure jaune brilliant in a small flash of colour as the river bends in the distance. This takes the eye dramatically through the work.
Add terre verte to block in the right-hand riverbank. With jaune brilliant loaded on the side of a long flat brush and, whilst the first colour is still wet, texturise the grassed area. Develop the trees and bushes using the three greens mixed down tonally with dioxazine purple and lightened with jaune brilliant and Naples yellow.
Use touches of red gold and yellow ochre to the sides and tops of trees where the evening light catches them. The river is painted further with the three blues, tinting white and the newly added colours. Focus on keeping the colour paler as it disappears round the bend in the distance and stronger in value nearer the viewer. The reflection of the green trees is now started in the river.
The buildings in the housing area on the right-hand side as the river bends up stream are painted white in reality but, with the evening light playing on them, hues and shades of many colours come into action. Here use tinting white, titanium white, dioxazine purple, quinacridone magenta, cobalt blue hue, red gold and yellow ochre. Drag the reflected highlights down vertically into the river.
With the sky and background areas looking reasonably satisfactory at this stage I turned to the river once more. Now is the time to focus on the light reflecting and bouncing off the water along with the movement and flow of it. To achieve this work dry on dry with stiff paint, layering up and bringing depth to the water. I always feel if I can create the illusion of me wanting to dive in then it seems real as it should be.
As the finishing line comes near certain aspects need addressing further. Lift the left-hand riverbank with yellow ochre and paler shades of green. Touch the trees to the left with highlights using mixtures of tinting white, yellow ochre and jaune brilliant.
Add two small figures on the left-hand bank and a few of the many swans who live on this river near to them. Finally, complete the right-hand riverbank with a palette of forest green, olive green, tinting white mixed with yellow ochre and/or red gold. Concentrate on keeping the greens lighter in the distance.
The finished painting Evening Light, Atelier Interactive acrylics on stretched primed canvas, 16x20in. (40.5x51cm)
Tony Hogan is an artist, tutor and demonstrator. He leads art holiday breaks in Cornwall and Scarborough. Visit www.hoganart.co.uk; email [email protected]; or telephone 01208 895 088 or 0788 8852 503