The sky of the reverse sunset or sunrise approximates the midday sky, but with less veils of atmosphere. The predominant light from the setting sun often gives the blue (cerulean) a slightly warmer yellowish feel on the horizon. The red-yellow light rays come from behind the viewer and strike clouds and solid objects bathing them in a warm orange glow that contrasts nicely against the cooler blue. The effect can be strikingly subtle.
In this example the polished floor reflects the blue of the distant sky as well as the highlights and darks of the foreground figures (thus establishing the polish). The sun also casts more shadows forward (the girls dress) that overlays the polish. This scene is completely imaginary but is nonetheless constructed using logic and first principles. It was made without stepping outside my imagination.


Without moonlight or clouds the night sky is theoretically black but a hint of star light gives us a blue violet feel. The moon behaves exactly as a small sun with the earths atmosphere giving the moon at moon rise its distinctive yellow glow. As it ascends the moon becomes piercingly white. As with the sun it seems best to show its effect by way of clouds and reflections rather than a direct representation. Note the violet shadows on the distant buildings.


Painting lines in seascapes that define the horizon.

You will note in the example above I have neglected to show exactly where the sea ends and the sky begins. We all know that if the day is clear and you are standing on a seashore you will see a definite line separating the sea from the sky ... unless you are atop a high mountain and looking out to sea. In the former instance you are looking only 7 miles to the horizon and in the latter maybe 100 miles or more. Obviously there is more atmosphere that gets in the way over 100 miles and therefore the separation line tends to disappear.

In my painting above ... and in many other of my seascapes ... I make the deliberate decision to allow the conceptional idea that you can sea (see) forever to take precedence over nature. It is also less distracting. My advice is to consider if the horizon line helps or hinders your composition before making your decision.


Clouds, mists

and other

shadowy veils

For Cities in the sky ...

GO TO ... how to paint clouds

............or back to main lesson list