Oil Painting: Thomas Van Stein: Moonlight Reminders

In the fall 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, Thomas Van Stein taught students how to capture the elusive light of night. In this excerpt from the article, Van Stein offers a number of helpful tips for artists to keep in mind when painting at night.

by Allison Malafronte


Throughout the workshop, Van Stein offered a number of helpful tips for artists to keep in mind when painting at night:

  • When mixing your palette at night, remember to make the colors slightly lighter than what you’re actually seeing because when viewed in the daylight they will appear much darker and duller.
  • The moon is cooler on top and warmer on the bottom because, as it’s rising, there is more atmosphere below it than there is above it.
  • There is a warm “seat” around the moon, a halo of ambient light. By exaggerating the dark values surrounding that, you will create the illusion that it’s glowing.
  • The farther away from the moon in the sky, the darker the sky’s value.
  • As the moon rises higher its reflection will spread out wider over the ocean.
  • Stand directly in front of your easel to avoid painting an elliptical moon.
  • Everything else you can blend, blend, blend, but when it comes to the highlights on the moon, use clean, decisive brushstrokes.

Read the feature article on this artist.

To read more features like this, check out the fall 2006 issue of Workshop magazine.

Related Posts:


Oil Painting Blog