How am I going to paint a sunrise? (“intercoastal sunrise” day 1)

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INTERCOASTAL SUNRISE • 24 inches x 36 inches • in progress

Here's the photo I was given. My client Ron took this photo of the Intercoastal Waterway in North Carolina. He said he really liked the yellows in the sky.

The first thing I did was edit the photo. I bumped up the yellows to make the photo warmer, and adjusted the contrast so I could see the fence more clearly.

The next thing I did was make another copy of the photo in black and white. I wanted to make sure that I had a enough contrasts to really see the lines of the composition. In the color photo, the bottom of the fence gets lost in the grass.

Here's my drawing. I edited out everything that was behind the fence as I thought the other things were distracting.

Here's the paint I mixed up for the sky.

I'm starting the sky. I've NEVER painted a sunrise before. This should be interesting...

Here's how my sky and water look before I start to blend the colors.

Blended but not done.

The sky isn't completely done, but it's a good start. I layered a base of the same colors into the water. Since the water acts like a mirror, I use the same color paint as in the sky.

Before I stopped working for the day I filled in the blue areas of water, painting between the fence boards. I also added in a base of darks which will make up the trees and islands on the horizon.

My assignment for last week was to paint the second of three oil paintings I have been commissioned to do. In the previous week I completed “milk can” and then this past week I completed “intercoastal sunrise.”

Two paintings down, one more to go!

All three of these paintings are from photos I was provided with. So the challenge is to make these photos into something I would have been inspired by, had I seen the “scene” myself.

My own photos never truly capture what I see anyway, so I’m used to using the photo as a reference only. The goal I have when I’m painting a landscape is to create a magical-looking place that you would want to step into.

I actually finished up this painting called “intercoastal sunrise” last Friday morning (August 27th), and now that it’s complete I think I actually may have accomplished my goal.

But on MONDAY–the day these photos were taken–I wasn’t too sure how I was going to actually make this happen.

You can watch my blog this week to see this sunrise painting come to life! I’m so happy it’s done, and that I figured out how to paint a sunrise. 🙂

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