Monday, 15 December 2008

Painting the night

Ok.... I did a bit of digging around on

(a) how to paint stars, moons etc... I had been curious about dealing with light sources in dark skies; wondering about mediums to do this in best, etc.
(b) changes in hue, temperature and mood as the sun sets.

I found a bit on each of these, but above all, I stumbled into a lively discussion on WetCanvas on plein air painters who paint by night. Here's a keyword search on the forums with 'nocturne'.

I also found this demo here on the artists' network site

It throws up all sorts of new questions around practicalities of how to paint at night, mix colours, use headlamps etc.

And, then of course, I got reminded of the current exhibition at the MoMA on Van Gogh's Colours of the Night. Brian had not long ago guest edited a review on Casey's Pastelblog.

Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889
Oil on Canvas, 74x92cm
MoMA, New York

The MoMA has a great online resource of the exhibition, if you follow the link here.

I've got a couple of sketches of evening scenes that I did over the past few weeks. They are all in ink, and I need some time to play with hues for them. But there are a couple of points on how to develop this. It'll go into my luggage for next week.


jafabrit said...

Gosh I never tire of Starry Night, so beautiful. It is quite a challenge though. I think I only attempted night once using conte crayon on grey paper on a snowy evening. I wasn't too displeased with the results, but I could see from doing it how I missed the nuances in the sky.

Brian McGurgan said...

Looking forward to seeing your night sketches, Gesa. I've been trying to work up the courage myself towards trying some night scenes - maybe over the holidays... Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

You would probably be interested in a new film by Alexander Barnett called The Eyes of Van Gogh. The official site for the film, which also has information about the production and cast, is

Gesa said...

Jafabrit - yes, what wonderful painting this is. I remember the challenge of merely drawing with pen by night; so: yes, I'm curious what unintended colour schemes I'll be developing.
Thanks, Brian: yes, let's do some night sketches and compare nyc and my parents' place. I'm looking forward to that :)
Thanks, Rebellion - I will have a look at the film. Can't say I know that much about Van Gogh... he keeps popping up and I have good intentions. Cheers.