Colors After Dusk

Around dusk yesterday, our area lost all electric power.  The silence was wonderful — no humming appliances — and no streetlights to influence the colors of the landscape.

As the skies darkened, I decided to sit near a window and paint.

The difficulty when painting in low-light conditions is that… well, in the darkness, I can’t see what I’m doing.  Not really.  As the sunlight faded, so did my sense of tone (light & dark).  Without light to see clearly, I couldn’t judge the color intensity on my palette and on my canvas.

However, I completed two colors studies that may influence my future snow scenes.

Snowy evening - NH landscape at dusk - 8 x 10 oil paintingThe first is an 8″ x 10″ oil painting.  It reminds me of some of my mother’s paintings, when she’d fall back to the style she used when she designed greeting cards and gift wrapping papers for Rust Craft.

I may use this as the basis of a Christmas card image, next year.  I’m not sure.

Mostly, I’m pleased with the colors in the snow.  The light was still adequate to see what I was painting, so I captured the subtle yellows, pinks and blues, particularly in the foreground.

The house is actually based on a store that I can see from my window.  Without electricity lighting the signs in its windows, it looked more like someone’s home than a business.

After that, the light was really failing, but I kept painting anyway.  It was mostly to observe the color; I knew that I probably wasn’t matching the landscape shades and hues.

Second painting - 19 Jan 2011 - snowy landscape during power outageThe result is at right.  It’s an 11″ x 14″ oil sketch.  I’m surprised at how well the colors turned out.

However, it’s not an interesting painting for me, so I’ll probably paint over it.

Right now, it reminds me of the pale colors of the heavy brocade drapes in our living room when I was little.  Though that’s a happy association, I’ll see how I feel about this painting when it dries.  With time, I may decide that I like it.

Generally, I’m drawn more to vivid colors.  Though these colors are accurate and represent the landscape at dusk… well, I’m still not sure how well I like it.

I’m sort of talking to myself about these two paintings.  They’re not my usual work, but each has merit for different reasons.

I kept looking at them this morning as I completed another large Pandorica piece.  This new one is for my son; I’ll be seeing him this weekend.

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