Twilight Painting en Plein Air--No Vampires, Please

16 Feb 2011

Plein Air Painting - Painting during twilight
Painting during twilight often means the added
complication of using artificial lights to illuminate your canvas.

This blog has been adapted from an article written by Allison Malafronte.
Plein air painting during twilight is exciting but challenging. The lighting conditions change so rapidly and the landscape looks totally different all of a sudden. During this time of gloaming (vocab bonus points!), the moon casts light and shadows on objects below it, just like the sun does. But there's more atmosphere below the moon as it rises than there is over top of it, so the light from it will be brighter, bluer, and cooler than during the daytime.

When you are painting outside during twilight, you'll likely need to introduce artificial lights into your process in order to shed light on your canvas, literally. Any lamps you use, you'll want to angle them down roughly 45 degrees to prevent the light from bouncing back in your eyes.

Artist Thomas Van Stein, an expert nocturn painter, recommends changing the bulbs in any flashlights or book lights you use every two hours. The lights will usually start to dim after this length of time, and that can lead you to unconsciously strain your eyes. Van Stein also always neutralizes the warm book lights he uses with a blue gel, though his palette warms up as a result.


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