“Sky Study … Moon Setting just before the Sun Rises”
(Oregon Coast Range)
Oil Sketch on Ampersand Gesso Panel
5” x 7”
Last November after leaving Bandon, Oregon where I’d been painting for a couple of weeks I drifted north and found a clearing in the National Forest up in the Coast Range, and a few miles inland from Cape Perpetua; here I spent a couple of days. One morning I saw this wonderful pink cloudscape and put it down while it was fresh in my mind. It’s always worth turning to the sky opposite from where the Sun I rising or setting; you may just see the Moon doing the opposite of the Sun, as well as catching some colour schemes not seen in any other way. I have seen similar morning clouds before, both before and shortly after the sun rises, and these wonderful soft clouds fill the sky and seem to promise, and usually does, a fine day; this day was no exception. This work is a Study and as such I could have left the forested mountains out, but I added them so that there would be an anchor to show where the clouds were in relation to the ground and to remind me that this was in the Oregon Coast Range and a few miles from the Sea; I didn’t actually have a view, but only glimpses of the mountains and the Sea through the grove of Red Alders.
After I completed the study I explored the area, driving a few miles further inland down into the valleys searching for a couple of covered bridges; I found one, but there was nowhere to set up to paint it, nor to really take good photos, although I did take some average, informational ones. The valleys were frosty and cold with frost building up thickly on the north facing slopes, while up at 2000 feet where I camped remained much warmer, even at night; camp at altitude, boys, and stay warm!
I’ve always been good at painting my skies in Watercolour, but since I never liked working outdoors in that medium I never did a series of cloud studies, as Constable did throughout his life; with these small Oils I expect there to be more to come. I reckon Constable would have taken photos for reference material as well as his small sky studies … yes, he would have … don’t argue!