acrylic on canvas, Brighton Beach, South Australia

The transit of Venus has been today’s big event. An oblique connection here, through the sun (sunset?)  The images were beautiful, if a bit like watching paint dry. Do artists ever do that?

Sometimes it seems the more exquisite the beauty, the more elusive the moment.

This is the particular challenge of capturing a sunset on canvas. At one level it is a trite subject. An overdone cliche. As a colour study it is interesting if not downright difficult!

With digital photographs and a strong memory of the overall visual impact, I had a go. It had been one of the hottest summer afternoons with a very calm sea which turned palest silver-blue just before sundown. After the sun had set, the sky coloured softly with warm orange-pinks but the reflections on the water were much more powerful because of the juxtaposition of colours. The effect was electric.

For painting the water I used tints of icy aqua (ultramarine with a touch of pthalo turquoise for the silver blue) alongside slashes of clear apricot (orange with white) . In the dusk, the soft grey sand along the top of the sandhill fringed the view. The sky was a bit smoggy after the still hot day. Perhaps I could have done more work on the foreground and background but before that happened I gave this painting to some friends who had enjoyed many sunsets here before they moved away. I am sure it’s the water they look at. I hope so.

So, do artists ever watch paint dry?

0 thoughts on “It’s not about the transit of Venus

  1. clinock says:

    Ah, you are so lucky to have had clear weather to observe the transit and it’s effects – here in Vancouver it was heavy cloud and rain (same for the recent eclipse). Your painting, as always, is gorgeous. I often “watch paint dry” – it’s what I call the time after a painting session when I sit back with a glass of tequila and observe what I have just done. I do the same in my garden – ‘watching the flowers grow’ – I find it nourishing…

  2. seascapesaus says:

    Confession needed here! I watched the live feed while I painted. didn’t have the special glasses although I did dream of a pinhole camera on my way back from the letterbox. that’s as close I got to the real view. I like your idea of a recovery session post-painting although tequila is a bit extreme for me! Would reduce my work ethic for the next few days.

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