Dramatic Light in the Landscape

Ask any watercolor landscape painter what attracts them to a particular scene, and more often than not, light is the answer. So what happens when an artist is faced with a landscape endowed with especially dramatic effects — a spectacularly colored sky reflected in the water below, a mysterious moonlit alleyway, or a tree-lined sidewalk brought to life by the play of dappled light? Three artists give us a glimpse of the magic that can be achieved.

“McDonough Hall” (watercolor, 11 x 14 in.) by Stewart White
First Light (watercolor, 11 x 14 in.) by Susan Lynn
“I painted this piece while participating in the Borrego Plein Air Invitational in the Anzo-Borrego Desert in California,” says Susan Lynn. “The first moments of sunrise lit up the Santa Rosa Mountains with striking reds, oranges, and purples, in sharp contrast to the still-shaded desert floor. The brilliant color, however, only lasted about 20 to 30 minutes, so even this small watercolor required two painting sessions for me to capture the glow.”
“Loss, But Not Gone” (watercolor, 12 x 20 in.)by Brienne M Brown

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.

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