Friday, November 3, 2023

Sunrise, Sunset

Maybe the only good thing about the shortening days, which we really start to feel by early October, is that I can sketch sunrises again (at least until we have to turn back the clocks). Looking southeast from a small livingroom window, I can’t quite see the sun itself as it breaks the horizon, but enough of the color leads the way.

A glimpse of Mt. Rainier behind the house across the street.

Mixing complements in the sky
Most intriguing to me was the sky on Halloween morning (at right), which was peachy yellow-orange until it blended with the lavender clouds: It was a live lesson in mixing complementary colors. In Kathleen Moore’s watercolor class, she is constantly encouraging us to experiment with complements to find neutrals that are far more beautiful than straight-from-the-tube grays and browns. Mixing violet with orange in secondary triads is one of my favorite ways to make a lovely neutral, so I was delighted to see it on nature’s palette.

Sunset, on the other hand, inconveniently falls around dinnertime, so I often miss it, but I had two hasty opportunities last month. While a solid, formidable wall of dark blue was against the horizon, the dusk sky above it was clear with a sharp, bright line edging the clouds (below). The dark blue bank looks more like mountains than clouds in my sketch, and I wished I had taken a different approach.

The next evening, I had another opportunity when the sky showed a similar effect. This time I used the idea I got right after I had finished the sketch the previous night: I grabbed my dark blue Uglybook, which gave me a color shortcut. 


  1. I love winter skies too. These are beautiful!

    1. Colorful skies are a rare winter treat because we so often have solid cloud cover!

  2. I'm glad you were able to do a few sunrises and sunsets. I miss seeing both because the trees are in the way. These are nice.

    1. Thanks, Joan! Good to see you back as yourself... while you were traveling, you commented as "anonymous." :-)


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