Thursday, November 01, 2007

Early morning light in Cheshire

Sunrise from Jan's Study
8" x 11", pencil and coloured pencils in Daler Rowney sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

One of the tips I remember being given a very long time ago is "never neglect a chance to sketch in early morning or early evening light" as the light, colours and shapes can be a lot more interesting. So if I'm occupying a bed away from home I always look out the window very early to see what the view looks like and lots of sketches over the years have been done before breakfast!

I was staying at the home of my cousin and her husband in Cheshire earlier this week and found the clocks going back on Sunday meant I was getting up earlier than usual. So I took some time to sketch the views in very early morning light from rooms which look out from the front and rear of the house over gardens and fields. I even managed a sunrise!

Sketching a sunrise is a tricky business - the light changes really fast and I had to draw even faster than usual, plus use my memory of what colours had been there. The nature of the tonal range and contrasts and the speed with which these changed were a real challenge as well. As I think I've explained before, I usually get some colour down fast and try and indicate its area very loosely without trying to get a more 'finished' sketch. That way I can finish the sketch after the light effects have changed.

I'd like to have a go at working the sunrise one up. I've just had a peek at my camera card and I've got a couple of photos which provide me with good information about the cloud formation but of course the camera has then made everything else completely black - such is the way in which cameras cope with areas of dark values when faced with intense light! I guess I'll work something out....

The view from 'bedroom 5'
8" x 11", pencil and coloured pencils in Daler Rowney sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This next one is a favourite view of my cousin's and I've been on a promise to try and produce a drawing of this for some time. The combination of the sunshine and colours of the early morning clouds juxtaposed with the autumn colours of the beech hedge and silver birch in the garden plus the other hedges and trees in the fields creates an attractive vista. Again, this is potentially one for working up but I think I maybe need to experiment with a different crop or format for this one.

Have you ever tried sketching a sunrise?


  1. Hi Katherine...LOVELY work. And yes, but more often sunset--hard for me to get up and about too early. The lighting is delicious, at the tag end of the day...alas, last time I was out at that time I only had a burnt ochre pen with me, no color!

    And while I'm commenting...not too long ago, you shared a post with your method of sketching, from ink rough to guidelines to adding color, and I can't find that, now, even on your there a handy link? Thank you!

    I hope things have calmed down for you, and all is well...

  2. Thanks Kate and thanks for asking - all seems fine now.

    In relation to my method of sketching I think you might mean this one Sketching Plein Air with Coloured Pencils. Thanks for the reminder - I need to get that one on the website!.

  3. Just passing through and couldn't resist going through your wonderful blog. Full of useful information, expert tips and best of all, the artwork. Such a joy to go through. Thanks for sharing.



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