Painting Morning Light, By Still Waters, studio painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

By Still Waters

Here's my new studio painting, By Still Waters. It's the first large painting I've done in a few weeks that isn't a commission, and I'll leave it for a day or two before doing a final check. The composition is a bit unusual, maybe too direct, and I may want to further define some directions for the eye. On the other hand, I like how it carries the eye up and around, so we'll see on a fresh look.

Different times of day require different lighting and color considerations. Here are some ideas for a painting you want to portray morning light. The colors are softer and more pastel, as the cooler purples and blues of the night sky still have an effect in shadow as the light comes up and brightens at the horizon. The morning sun is warm, so add a touch of yellow to the greens in light. Shadows can be laced with blue-greens to help portray the remaining coolness. Yellow Azo, or Lemon yellow are good yellows for morning, and can be toned down if too intense. Use a cooler yellow, like ochre or Naples in the distance and added to your greens as the foliage recedes.

The value of the shadows won’t be as dark as some other times of the day, so leave off some of the darkest darks. Remember that shadows are darkest near their source and lighten as they move away and are influenced by reflected light. Here the foliage is still in deep shadow. The tones will lighten as the sun climes higher in the sky.

Some mornings have a pinkish aspect. Portray it with a warm red with a touch of yellow, giving it a salmon glow. Near the distant horizon there may be both warm and cool tones in the sky. When the light is pink, the shadows will be warmed with reflected light taking on browner tones.