An Indian Summer Day

Sunset Oaks. 11 x 14. Oil on linen panel.

Sunset Oaks. 11 x 14. Oil on linen panel.


It was a perfect Indian Summer day that seemed to stretch on endlessly. I walked through the tall grasses inhaling the sweet smells of freshly cut hay and stopped to draw and paint. Just as the sun slipped behind the trees, two deer loped gracefully across the empty field. Their hooves cleared the fence with an easy grace. The shadows cooled, and the field rested in twilight. I returned home, watching the golden lights of the farmhouses come on and the first star of the evening quietly appear.

I thought a great deal about the lighting in "Sunset Oaks." One of the elements of a strong painting is the portrayal of light. Light can be soft and subtle or filled with boldness and drama. At sunset the light is very warm in tone, and the shadows are long and cool. Near the horizon and closest to the sun, the distant fields are warm in color. The sky is lighter and warmer near the sun, and it is cooler overhead. Notice how the sky goes from orange near the sun to blue at the top of the painting.

In the work above, the light is coming from within the scene. When you look at a painting you like, ask yourself which way the light is coming from, where the source is located, and what time of day it is. As an artist plans a painting, all of these subtleties are considered to create a particular moment or mood. The light is key to a painting's magic.

Sunset Oaks will be auctioned in March at a charity event for the Rural Arts Commission in Texas, providing art supplies and instruction for rural Texas Schools. If you are interested in bidding on it, please contact me or The Gallery at Round Top.

Thank you so much for letting me share my thoughts and ideas about art with you this year, and I wish each of you a holiday season that is filled with warmth, light and love.