Class Notes: Painting The Evening

We are into the summer "monsoon" season which brings afternoon and evening rains to Colorado. This can be trouble for evening painters but if you are patient sometimes the sky will break apart with amazing late light effects.
On this Tuesday night our class met north of town, in what used to be a dairy. This spot has given me great long view paintings of Mt. Blanca and in the other direction, flaming sunsets over the San Juans.

One thing we have observed about early evening painting tho',  the sun seems to linger high in the sky - so it can be difficult to anticipate just WHAT the light will do as the sun sets and where the best scenes will be. We stare into the sun, block in landscape shapes, it feels hot like high noon, then bam - the sun drops suddenly, daylight vanishes and you are caught trying to frantically capture the most fleeting light.
This evening was just like that. Rain had come and gone all afternoon and clouds flew around the sky. Here Lara and Judith struggle with glaring afternoon sun while trying to make decisions about how to proceed. 

Richard and I set up looking west to the horizon where a bank of clouds sat blocking any sky.  It was a gamble but I was just betting that the sky would break apart, lighting up the clouds for a nice sunset - and it did.  As it turned out tho'- the best stuff was going on in other parts of the sky: rich alpen glo on Mt. Blanca, virgas that looked like fire falling from the clouds and distant thunder heads catching light from a sun long set. It was one of the most beautiful evenings - ever-
an unfolding drama that just got better and better. Painting aside, I was thrilled just to be out to enjoy it.
On the bottom is my piece from the evening.