10 March, 2019. It’s sunrise and the clock says one time, my body disagrees: there’s exactly one hour in dispute. It’s very still outside, and the waking temperature is just above freezing. It is, in fact, much warmer than the past several months of gloom.
Still, the ground is frozen as I crunch around the yard in house slippers, and the gloom is still clear in my mind. In the distance, the water tower is a mixture of Cerulean blue and Quinacidone red, the hues neutralizing each other into a luminous gray. In the ground below I see a favorite, Perylene green; I’ll have to mix in a red and blue to darken it further if I want to do more than paint it in my mind.
The sky changes fast and I notice that the cloud cover is a mixture of periwinkle and violets that contrasts lusciously with the rising sun, a brilliant, if somewhat diffused ball of orange.
Looking down at the sketching pamphlet I began yesterday, I suddenly realize I’ve been unconsciously digging colors out of my gray world.
Sometimes I rely on memory and impressions to sketch out an idea, but memory is a funny thing and subject to vagaries and everything with which one comes into contact between the actual experience and the time one attempts to manifest it in some way. This morning I felt the need to supplement my impression with a quick pencil sketch and notes. It seemed as though getting the placement and ideas of values was important, and little thought was given to the colors of this sunrise.
Realizing this was an error, I ran to the studio to grab my travel kit. Not finding it immediately, I instead picked up the butcher tray I use for studio work and returned to a room full of windows facing east. Two minutes later I had a satisfactory color study.
Not content, I decided to spend a few more minutes making a second color study. The graphic curve was added to create a sense of leading lines that complimented the diagonal bank of clouds.
Even still, the composition seemed unresolved so I played around with various croppings, eventually settling on this. And now, satisfied with the design, perhaps I’ll work on a more “finished” painting this evening.
Right now, the day is beckoning. Hiking boots and jacket won’t be in the closet for much longer, nor my sketchbook on the shelf.