by Bob Bahr, Editor PleinAir Today

Jane Hunt’s painting of North Boulder Pond titled “August Sunset” recently won the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico’s 2016 Summer Nights Contest. Her approach: Preparation allows intuitive painting in fleeting light.

“This piece was painted during the Plein Air Rockies event this August,” reports Hunt. “For events like this, I aim to create at least three paintings a day. For this piece, I showed up 45 minutes before sunset to prepare. I used my phone app (Lumos) to pinpoint exactly where the sun would be setting. I then chose my spot based on this info, positioning myself where I knew there would be pond reflections. I then blocked in my big shapes, lowering them a couple of values in preparation. I also premixed some grays, knowing that I could easily adjust if needed and that it would speed up my process. The light effect I captured here only lasted about 15 minutes, and during that time I worked frantically to capture the colors — laying in loose color shapes and not worrying at all about detail.”

Hunt says, “Sunset is my absolute favorite time to paint. The fast-changing light eliminates overthinking and encourages intuitive painting. If you’re considering painting a sunset, I say go for it — show up a little early and enjoy the exhilarating challenge.”

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