Colour/light and atmosphere tests


Nico Delort on twitter posted these series of studies by Hiroshi Yoshida of the same scene with different lighting conditions and atmosphere. I’ve been aware for ages of wanting to expand my knowledge of how light works and not being shy of trying new colour combinations.

I think one of the aspects of sketching out doors is that you can end up drawing when the weather is great, this can unintentionally end up with paintings that look rather same-ish. A nice blue sky, green grass and if you’re painting buildings especially with sandstone tenements the end results can look a bit primary red, blue, green (I’m guilty of this).

Rhu parish church graveyard

Here is the original sketch it was a beautiful day but again its the classic colour palette.


I redrew the scene and after scanning it in I brought it into photoshop and tried the different colour combinations. I thought this might save time as its much quicker and easier to change and try out different colours and see how they work together. From here I printed out the pencil sketch onto watercolour paper to add the paint.


I didn’t stick too closely to the photoshop tests and really used them as jump off points and by the end had more confidence to ditch them all together.


After a while I started to think more how some parts of the landscape are lighter than others. For example the hills furthest away is obviously lighter, the sea is generally darker than the sky but lighter than the hills. It feels like you’re slowly building a scene with its particular rules and its something I started to really get into trying to work out how it all fitted in together.


A glowy sunset, slightly exaggerated.


A moonlight version with a colder/greenish light.