Sunset on Blue Paper

I’ve been looking again at Turner and at Hercules Brabazon Brabazon. I like their work on toned paper. I’ve also been looking back at pastel artist Loriann Signori’s blog. She does a lot of 6×6 studies of light and skies. I really like the way she works with all the colors and values, so I wanted to see what I could with watercolor on toned paper. I cut a sheet of Canson Mi-Teintes light blue paper and drew out this composition. I liked the depth established by the crossing power lines and the brilliance of the sun on the horizon.

Working on pastel paper is tough because it stays wet for longer than I am used to and buckles. I thought toned paper would lead to more efficient sketching–and perhaps it does when used for more suitable paintings where much of the paper is left untouched or touched less. The other key is to not work with very wet brushes. Washes on this are not the same as on watercolor paper. All in all a fun challenge with good results.

I started by painting the light with titanium white gouache. While that was drying I started putting in the magenta clouds at the top. Then I laid in the bottom ground. I worked in the yellow light next, leaving space for more white gouache for the brightest sun. I worked in more clouds throughout. Finically I painted the utility poles and wires.

I think I will do this more, especially on location once the weather gets better. I toned a 12×16 sheet of 300lb arches paper a grey blue. When that dries I will cut if down to four 6×8 sheets for sketching. That surface will be more familiar to work on, though there is something pleasant about the pastel paper.

Thanks for reading.



6 thoughts on “Sunset on Blue Paper

  1. laber1 March 7, 2015 / 9:11 am

    So pretty! Your compositions are so natural looking I almost forget to notice how intricate and well done they are. The power lines here make an interesting plaid pattern on the pink sky.

  2. cavepainter March 8, 2015 / 1:16 pm

    With blue paper, I’d be worried about the yellow turning green on it. Is the yellow just very opaque? 🙂

    • coreyaber March 8, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      I thought about that too. I laid in some white gouache on the bottom 1/3 of the sky first. It wasn’t thick, but it was enough to tone down the blue so it didn’t make transform the yellow totally.You can see my tests on the left of the paper where I didn’t use gouache to see what happens without it. Also, the yellow is semi-transparent. You can see a little of the blue showing through, but I applied it fairly thickly. I used Sennelier Yellow Sophie (py93). Because of the honey content in Sennelier paint, you can apply it with some concentration, even when you take it from a pan (I squeeze my paint into the pans, let it dry, then use it). I find also Sennelier paints activate quickly with high concentration much better than MaimeriBlu, or even in some cases Daniel Smith and Winsor and Newton. That’s not necessarily better overall, just preferable in this case. You can apply from the pan almost as if it were from the tube. On the other hand, I suspect that Sennelier has less interesting paint particle behavior. For example, their ultramarine blue barely granulated, while Daniel Smith’s french Ultramarine has a really interesting texture.
      Around the sun to get the yellow to be really bright I mixes it with Titanium White gouache so the sunlight goes from white(pure gouache applied thickly) to cool yellow to warm yellow. I think that makes the effect more potent. On white paper I just leave white space.

      • cavepainter March 10, 2015 / 12:02 am

        Oh I actually have PY93 from Sennelier in oil paint, which they call Turner yellow. For watercolor I think I only have one of their tubes because by the time I tried any I had already built up a collection from other brands, mostly Daniel Smith. The DS French UMB really does have nice granulation. The cobalt blue deep (PB73) from W&N is a very similar color, just a little less reddish, and granulates even more. Too bad it also costs a lot more though. 🙂

  3. lesliepaints March 22, 2015 / 12:08 am

    The criss crossing wires really set the mood for me in this painting. There is a quietness, here. The wires suggest the existence of many yet there is all that space! Love it!

    • coreyaber March 24, 2015 / 8:37 pm

      Thank you Leslie. I think the square format contributes to that. I plan to work more in squares

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