It’s not about the transit of Venus

acrylic on canvas, Brighton Beach, South Australia

The transit of Venus has been today’s big event. An oblique connection here, through the sun (sunset?)  The images were beautiful, if a bit like watching paint dry. Do artists ever do that?

Sometimes it seems the more exquisite the beauty, the more elusive the moment.

This is the particular challenge of capturing a sunset on canvas. At one level it is a trite subject. An overdone cliche. As a colour study it is interesting if not downright difficult!

With digital photographs and a strong memory of the overall visual impact, I had a go. It had been one of the hottest summer afternoons with a very calm sea which turned palest silver-blue just before sundown. After the sun had set, the sky coloured softly with warm orange-pinks but the reflections on the water were much more powerful because of the juxtaposition of colours. The effect was electric.

For painting the water I used tints of icy aqua (ultramarine with a touch of pthalo turquoise for the silver blue) alongside slashes of clear apricot (orange with white) . In the dusk, the soft grey sand along the top of the sandhill fringed the view. The sky was a bit smoggy after the still hot day. Perhaps I could have done more work on the foreground and background but before that happened I gave this painting to some friends who had enjoyed many sunsets here before they moved away. I am sure it’s the water they look at. I hope so.

So, do artists ever watch paint dry?

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5 thoughts on “It’s not about the transit of Venus

  1. Ah, you are so lucky to have had clear weather to observe the transit and it’s effects – here in Vancouver it was heavy cloud and rain (same for the recent eclipse). Your painting, as always, is gorgeous. I often “watch paint dry” – it’s what I call the time after a painting session when I sit back with a glass of tequila and observe what I have just done. I do the same in my garden – ‘watching the flowers grow’ – I find it nourishing…

    1. Confession needed here! I watched the live feed while I painted. didn’t have the special glasses although I did dream of a pinhole camera on my way back from the letterbox. that’s as close I got to the real view. I like your idea of a recovery session post-painting although tequila is a bit extreme for me! Would reduce my work ethic for the next few days.

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