Tutorial – Jamaican Sunset
For today’s Gaia Fine Art Insights #1 we will be reviewing the creation of the “Jamaican Sunset” oil painting in an impressionist style. (Click to purchase the Original Work).
There is something so magical about the way our skies dance and play with light and color. Nature manages to create such softness with subtle shifts and sparkles of light. Yet, it manages to carry with it so much power. For this piece I knew I wanted to capture that magical display of color.? The goal, take viewers on a journey from the dark island jungle and into the warm Caribbean skies. Truly stunning.
Preparing my Palette
Because my focus was on all the brilliant little colors hidden in the sky, I spent a long time preparing my palette (30+ minutes). I knew that the colors all needed to blend and balance together perfectly for the artistic goal. Skies can get away from me quickly if I don’t keep my values and color saturation in check. We must always use our own fine art insights when possible. By creating a nice spectrum to work from, I know that my end results will fall within those colors. This harmonizes the piece before it even starts. If all goes to plan anyway.
Getting Started – Thoughts on the vibrancy of Greens
Once I got my colors moving in line with the goal, I began with a light reddish wash applied to the entire piece. This was to help keep my green shadow shapes alive and add the illusion of bounced light within the bluer skies. For this piece, I knew the greens in the foreground ran the risk of becoming dull in comparison to the skies. So I recalled info from one of the best books on the subjects of the best books on Color and Light, by illustrator James Gurney. (A man full of fine art insights to take anyone to the next level.) Inside he discusses the human eyes ability to see more green than any other color. This truth can lead to viewers quickly noticing dead and flat forests. A nice solution is to use little splashes of reds and other warm colors to add contrast to those greens.
Into the Darks
With the painting prepared and primed, It was time to explore, play and push the limits of what I can achieve, because it’s what creatives do. I first started with the land masses in the fore and middle ground. I was loosing light at this point, so I did my best to capture the shadows colors before I left the scene. Of course, when I awoke, the paintings shadows were almost as bright as the sky. I knew it was because I over compensated for my lack of painting light towards the end of the day.
Glazing back over the piece with a variety of colors, mainly reds and purples (complimentary, to help punch the orange and greens) was the best choice to shift the values and add some nice transparency. I, then, pulled from my experience as an illustrator and decided to simulate a “dark frame” around the painting, by glazing slightly around the whole piece. This helps to drive the viewer into the light. And of course I want just that.
Light Notes and the Final
Throughout the entire painting process I added splashes of all ranges of color to the light portions. Every time I explored both light and shadow colors mixes, I considered its application in the sky and water. By slowly incorporating every color available in the painting, I achieved a vibrancy that it needed. This sparkle would never occur with the blending of 2 or 3 colors with some white. Even better, it unified the piece, helping it to become one full experience, rather then a few, broken up. And as a result, we have Jamaican Sunset, Original oil by Andrew Gaia. I hope you enjoyed the Fine Art Insights #1, and if you want more let me know by sharing, commenting and creating your own beautiful works!