Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sunsets and Smugness

The first local exhibition of the year is entitled "My Stour Valley", and held at the big church in the middle of Sudbury: St Peters. I can find two of my paintings that will fit the theme, but I needed another so I decided to do a sunset. I am quite comfortable with painting them, and have had success in selling others:

The one above was nearly sold several times. A (somewhat shady) business friend of a friend admired it, and negotiated a discount. Then he said he would take it and pay next time he saw me. I smiled and declined. Perhaps I would supply him with my bank details so he could make the payment? (This was years before anyone used BACS), no, I thought not. A cheque then, he would send me a cheque. Fine I said, and after it had cleared he could collect the painting. I never saw him again and nor did my friend who he still owes money. Two years later I sold it at full price to a lovely local lady, and boy did I feel smug.

Speaking of feeling smug, which is always fun, I must as a conscientious vegetarian mention horsemeat. Every couple of years inevitably some scandal appears in the meat industry and it is a good opportunity for us veggies to point, laugh and feel smug. Not the noblest of sentiments I admit, but we get so much flack the rest of the time I hope you will not hold it against us. Boyfriend, who lives on processed junk food said he was delighted to find there was some meat in his burgers, he had never suspected as much. He will however draw the line if he finds any bits of saddle (apologies to horse lovers)...
 Anyhow, changing subject before the hate mail starts; back to sunsets and the above one was sold to my friend Peter. It was the first successful snow scene I managed to paint. My early attempts always looked so cold (no pun intended) and a snow scene needs some warmth, odd as that sounds. My moment of clarity came whilst chatting to my friend D, oil painter extraordinaire, and master of snow scenes. "They need to look as if you would actually want to be there" he said. It all became easier after that.

As for sunsets there are several tricks I have discovered:

Ensure you leave plenty of light areas,

Be careful your blue and yellow do not meet, lest you get green in the sky!

 Ensure that the foreground and parts of the sky are dark enough; without darks the sky will never look 'lit up',

And finally, avoid using black or too much grey paint, the darks should be colourful.

Let me know what you think of the paintings, and if you haven't bought a copy yet, I recommend this month's Craftseller Magazine (and not just because I am in it), the business advice supplement is really helpful for any self-employed artists and crafters:


  1. Gorgeous as ever Michelle. My favourite is the second painting down, and I love the snow scene! I can't wait for lighter nights, I always paint more in the spring/summer. Love reading your blog, it makes me itch to paint!

    H :-)

  2. If I ever got to paint half as good as you one day I would be happy, loving the sunsets.

    Not a veggie but I was smug too as I eat organic, gave up anything processed a good while ago. However the OH has not, and he said the same as your boyfriend about the burgers, and the ready meals he took to work.

    Thank you for the info on craftseller, must bag a copy.

  3. Your sunsets are really beautiful Michele, I would so love to be able to paint!

  4. Michele, I love the one that was nearly sold - and the story that goes with it!

    Snow isn't easy to paint and you're quite right, you have to find the warm colours in it. I think I must have some sort of thing about snow paintings. I seem to have four of them hanging in my hall!

  5. Thanks for the kind comments everyone. I am hoping to put a tutorial on sunsets up on the new website I am planning later in the year. Although I enjoy the beauty of snow, I couldn't bring myself to have a reminder of the cold on my wall, although one of my snow prints is probably my biggest seller, so obviously not everyone feels the same!

    Dawn if you want to paint then you can learn, anyone can, it just takes time and patience, and finding a medium/style that suits you.

  6. Love the sunset paintings. With you on the horsemeat saga :)