The reality of the early morning sun (“intercoastal sunrise” day 4 & 5)

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INTERCOASTAL SUNRISE • 24 inches x 36 inches • in progress

DAY FOUR: This morning I have been filling in the fence boards that I started yesterday.

The fence is starting to appear...

It's amazing how much the brown boards change the character of the painting. I think it really ties it together.

The fence boards are done. Next step will be the fence rails. I can't wait to get rid of these white lines! They are truly messing up the composition of this painting.

I debated about starting the fence rails until the boards were done. I decided to throw caution to the wind and very carefully do the rails -- while trying not to smear the wet fence boards. All because I couldn't stand looking at the white stripes for one more minute.

The fence rail is done and the white is GONE. That's much better! Time to add some final details to the rest of the entire painting.

I've been adding details to the grass, highlights to the trees, and covering some faint pencil lines that were showing through the sky. I think it's DONE!

DAY FIVE: I walked in this morning and thought -- it's not QUITE done -- so I added some more blades of grass and highlights in the trees. I'm not sure if you can notice any of the tiny little touch ups I've done. But they make me happy, and more importantly --they make me confident that this piece is NOW done!

I finished my sunrise!

This has been a very stretching landscape project to work on. Mostly because the lighting is so different in the early morning compared to the mid-day skies that I normally paint.

The inner struggle I’ve had all week was this: “Do I paint what’s shown in the photo, or do I paint what’s in my heart?” I decided to be true to myself and turn this painting into my interpretation of what a sunrise FEELS like–not how it actually looks at the break of day.

Here is the reality of the early morning sun: If you actually get up early enough to watch the sun change the darkness into light, you’ll see that everything in front of the sun is completely black.

So for example, if the sun is coming up behind a fence, it will just be a row of solid black shapes. This is because the only light in the world at that moment is coming from behind the fence. Until the sky is light enough to light the front of the fence, you won’t see any detail on the fence.

And by the time the sky is light enough to cast any light on the front of the fence, the sky is not colorful anymore.

Trust me on this. I’ve been closely watching the sun come up for weeks now, in preparation for this painting. I finally decided that if I painted this sunrise true to reality, it just really wouldn’t be all that interesting to look at. And more importantly, it wouldn’t have the same feeling of warmth and light that I work hard at weaving throughout all my paintings.

All this to say, I hope I captured the peaceful beauty of the early morning sky that my client Ron experienced during his vacation along North Carolina’s lovely Intercoastal Waterway.

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