Friday, June 21, 2019

Sunny or Overcast, Part 2

6/14/19 Maple Leaf neighborhood

As per normal, June is serving up a mix of clouds and sunshine, often in the same day (heck, often in the same hour). When I plan the sketching part of my day, my usual habit is to look out the window, check the outdoor thermometer, and finally scan the hourly forecast on Usually I want the benefit of the full sun, but lately I’ve been in the mood to go out on overcast days just for the challenge.

6/16/19 Maple Leaf neighborhood
Last month I showed some values studies made on both sunny and cloudy days. Here are two more. The one above was on a thickly overcast afternoon – the kind that forces me to squint hard to distinguish the values. I couldn’t fake the shadows even if I wanted to because I could hardly see where the sun was. And yet values are always relative, so even in that flat gray light, some things appear darker than others.

A couple of days later, the mid-afternoon sun was brilliant, and the temperature was 70 with a soft breeze . . . sketchers heaven. I went out to sketch the last (I think) of the alleys I’ve found on the same block of Eighth Northeast. The strong light made it easy to see the values, and using two colors to indicate them was a snap.

Although sketching in sunshine is almost always easier and more fun, I also enjoy practicing when the sun is hiding. Today is the solstice, and I’m looking forward to a summer of sketching, but I’m also arming myself for the vast majority of months when the sun is an elusive friend.


  1. Your method is working nicely for light and shadow. We have been blessed with nice weather for 3 days now...a nice change from all the rain...rain expected again tomorrow.

    1. We get a little of everything every day, so if I just wait long enough...!


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