Ariel perspective: Sunrise, looking to Gibraltar

My aim is to create the illusion of distance and receding space. I will paint from my terrace looking out either towards the East to the mountains, or to the South, where the rock of Gibraltar is visible and on a good day a small lump of Africa. The light changes over the course of the day but is perhaps giving the best effect for this perspective early in the morning when the sun has just risen.

I have been looking through a book of Turner’s work for inspiration and also at the Tate site, which has some of his amazing sketchbooks, here:

Soundtrack: ‘Air on a G string’ (guitar version)

Normally, in the morning, it can look quite hazy, which I hope to describe with some colour washes. The shadows from the nearer trees will be dark and long and so the colours will be darker in the fields nearer to the start of the town. I need to decide whether to include  some building in the foreground or whether this might distract from the overall washes of this painting. I will start by sketching out the outline of the mountains and hills and finding the most pleasing vista.

I think the view out toward Gibraltar will be best, as the other one is too detailed. I tried a quick water colour sketch today. Mostly blues in the distance, turning to greens and some earthy colours in the fields and the track.  Already I can see how this will work; the pale blues look distant in comparison to the near greens. I need to be up early to catch that morning light and the mist which often comes.20170516_162649

I had a play with some acrylic colours in the evening light. It was cloudy this morning so I didn’t get to paint. I hope to try tomorrow but I may not have time in the morning.


painted in rough outline guide

20170519_153248_Richtone(HDR)I was up for 7.00 am and caught the good morning light as the sun rose over the mountain (to the left of the picture). The whole scene was much greener than I had thought,so I spent some time mixing and laying down more green. I am very pleased with the sky; it was a milky white with a streak of pinkish yellow across it and I think I caught that well. It was wonderful to be up there painting so early and I am pleased with the work I did in an hour. I do not feel it is finished so I now have to decide how much more to do to it. The foreground needs stronger colours and details to make it feel closer. And I also have that fear of messing up the work I have already done!

Today I added some warmer and darker colours and contasts to the front of the picture, so this looks clearer. I think I have managed to 1) use loss of focus, making the distant mountains hazy and blurred, 2) loss of colour saturation by making the foreground sharper and brighter and 3) the foreground has warmer, richer tones and more contrasts. Together these things work well, however individually I think it would depend on what end result you were trying to achieve. On a really sunny, clear day, there is much less loss of focus for example.

I believe I fulfilled my aims for this painting.  It is perhaps not particularly exciting, or in anyway like any of Turner’s work, which is where  was trying to draw inspiration. It is the sort of painting that visitors to this town might like, for example, but which other artists might think rather uninspired. 20170822_145340_Richtone(HDR) (1)

Retrospective-reflection:  My first action is to re take a photo of this painting as this one (I am deleting) does not do it justice. For some reason it does not photograph well. I think I caught the view from our terrace, and was able to select and edit so that I did not try and put everything in. I think the composition is good and I think my colours show the aerial perspective quite well, with Gibraltar in the background. However, the first hour’s painting gave a lovely, soft light to it  (which was more like Tuner’s work) which I seem to have lost a bit when I added more detail.




Author: Wendy Kate

Happily sharing my life in Spain with a tall bearded man from Dorset.

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