Frank Tenney Johnson was a master of nocturnes. It’s from studying his paintings that I learn about nightime light, and look ward to going out at night to paint myself, as he must have done. It seems like quite a task, to carry a lantern to light your canvas, as well as an easel, a paint thinner can, and all of your brushes and paints. And then to try to see color in the landscape accurately without being blinded by your lantern or influenced by the warmth in the light source. I did actually visit the scene from my painting myself, but it was in the day. I used what I learned from F.T. Johnson to paint it as a night scene. Among other things, it interested me to learn that although moonlight is cool (in temperature), the shadows cast from moonlight are cooler still, so that the highlights and halftone of objects in direct moonlight become the warmest parts of the painting. And the darkest darks are also cool! That doesn’t work so well in a daylight painting but it seems to work in this setting. The last thing, of course, is that there isn’t as much contrast in the gradient of the sky value, and in this case the sky is darkest close to the horizon since the moon is high in the sky, as opposed to the way I saw it in the day, where the sky was light near the horizon. I recommend everyone try this – it was a blast!
This painting was a lot of fun. I tried a few new things I’ve been wanting to try with texture, and could play around with shapes since the composition already had a strong value pattern.
I love new beginnings, including new years, since they give me a fresh chance to start over in just about everything and do it better. This year I have a new baby, a new schedule, and a new goal to paint from life every weekday that I’m home. Every painting that survives the trash I’ll post here, and hope you enjoy!