How Do I Depict a Strong Late Afternoon Light in an Aspen Oil?

"Follow the Sun"







“Follow the Sun”  20×16 Oil

In “Follow the Sun,” I actually changed the time of day by the colors I chose, but how did I emphasize this to the fullest to depict late afternoon? First of all, late afternoon light is very warm and golden. I know this because it’s my favorite lighting (also because I don’t make it up and out to see a lot of sunrises). Therefore, by choosing a golden/orange and complimentary blue palette to “set off” my lighting, even repeating the color in the stream and snow in light, I was able to show what time of day I wanted.

Caution: when adding other colors in with the greens (in this case, some violets and burnt sienna), consider what is going to mix with what. If you are adding violets, do NOT let them mix "with" the greens - you will get mud. Instead, place the violets BESIDE your green and let it touch, not mix. In the case of Burnt Sienna, it's okay to let it mix with the greens because it's not opposite on the color wheel (it's considered an orange and is close to the green part of the color wheel) and will not turn most greens gray or "mud."
To further emphasize the orange light, I warmed up the sliver of light hitting the main aspen with Brilliant Yellow Light and also put most of the other aspens in a blue/gray shadow. This pulled the main aspen forward and using so much of the complimentary blue color made it stand out even more. The blue shadow on the snow gets even darker as it approaches the foreground, emphasizing the middle ground even more. Notice how the background pine trees get warmer and turn a lighter, more orange -green, nearest where the sun is setting. The water reflects more of the orange light nearer the sun. All of these factors tell the viewer where the sun is strongest.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Be sure to click on the painting to enlarge it. See my web site for “Follow the Sun,” plus some other new ones I’ve added!