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A Sunrise Painting Tale

Above are pictures depicting mixing colors. These colors were pre-mixed with the intent to paint a sunrise. The palette was prepared the night before and a dark toned panel was selected. My gear was readied and awaited the morning. The start to my day went a little differently than planned. At 4:30 AM the house woke to two cats hissing and growling outside in the yard below. Being up earlier than planned afforded time to watch the very early dawn of the day. The sky was still dark but there were tell tale signs that the sun was soon to rise. Quick preparations and a short walk down the road, my gear was set up and I stood waiting for the magical moment for when the sun would break over the horizon. Knowing speed is critical for painting a sunrise, the land masses were massed in and I anticipated the sky to burst into color. I glanced over my shoulder to track the progress of the sun in the sky when I noticed a cloud bank moving up towards the sun. In the distance a large bank of fog was visible. The first light of the day started to illuminate the sky overhead and a very very faint glow of rosy pink touched upon the wispy clouds in the distance. Then it happened. The fog moved inland and shrouded the sun. The plan to paint a sunrise was disappearing in the fog! I frantically painted in the water and the sky before everything was lost behind a veil of moisture. In a matter of minutes the fog enveloped the bay and obscured everything from view. The painting session was probably about 20 minutes or so and I was thankful that I had taken the time to prepare my palette etc. The preparation helped me to paint quickly. To be candid I was a bit disappointed to not have painted a glowing sunrise but on the other hand I was happy to have experienced such a unique moment something that I may have not seen otherwise. It is moments like these that stay with you and make for an interesting tale. An image of the painting from that morning is below.


  1. Beautiful! What intense preparation goes into this type of painting!!! I never knew...

  2. Hi Techie Trekie! Yes it is true, there is a lot of prep work involved with plein air painting!


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