Daybreak, at this time of the year, is not a familiar sight. After all, its currently 5.30am and a month ago it was 4.30am. Unless you’re a night worker or insomniac, you will miss this natural spectacle. The colours are different from the orange reds of sunset and tend to be more pinks and purples.
The colour I find best for these pink shades is Alizarin Crimson. Its transparent and a reasonably good mixer with the other colours I use. In this morning sky there were pink and lemon colours. The yellow used was Cadmium Yellow. The difficulty was using these two very strong colours closely together without producing the brilliant orange you normally get when these are mixed. Orange colours are the sunset colours not the cool morning light.
Also the sky colours had to be the faintest hint of pink and yellow. Mixing these colours accurately at such low concentrations on the palette is difficult as its all relative to the colours in rest of the sky. I painted these two strong colours as raw unmixed solvent-only layers and allowed the solvent to evaporate. As I said previously, they were not allowed to mix as this would produce orange colours.
Pure white was painted on top and the paint was blended some of the Cadmium and Crimson began to mix with the white. The depth of colour was controlled by the brushing process – the more it was brushed the more colour was picked up from underneath, the deeper the colour. As I said its relative to the other colours in the sky, so the entire sky was painted as a single item so the emerging colours were seen as part of the whole.
Also notice that these two strong colours (Cadmium Yellow and Alizarin Crimson) were also spread over the entire painting surface. This was to unify the colour scheme and tie sky and ground together.
The painting is 18″ x 13″ and was completed in a single 2 and a half hour session. The colours used were Cadmium Yellow, Raw Umber, Alizarin Crimson and French Ultramarine plus black and white. I did not use any medium only the solvent, White Spirits.
Here’s the video, see you soon.