Capturing the Sunrise

This is a series of three pieces I painted as the sun rose over Lake Michigan at Illinois Beach State Park this morning. The first piece is tiny-5×7-because the sun rose so much more quickly than I could paint it. The second one shows the sky in transition. Shortly after I started it a dense fog blew in, picking up the colors of the sun and muting the light surrounding it. By the time I started the third piece, the sky was thick with fog, though there was a tiny sprinkling of light at the water’s edge where the sun rose above the fog. I recently read a quote in the book, Hawthorne on Painting, in which Charles Hawthorne is reported to have said, “A painter spends his life in despair trying to paint the beauty he sees…”  I felt this so acutely this morning, striving to emulate beauty that seems so far out of reach. But Hawthorne says later on the same page, “If a man lives a lifetime and seriously and humbly studies these things about nature-the beauty of the spots of color made by objects as they come together-it cannot but react on him as a man and, by the time he has painted for forty years or so, he’ll begin to have a glimmer of what beauty is.” So I’m making it a goal to hold off judgment of my work for another thirty years or so.

SONY DSCSunrise Before the Fog, 5×7, acrylic on gessoboard

SONY DSCSunrise as the Fog Blew In, 11×14, acrylic on gessoboard

SONY DSCAfter the Fog Blew In, 9×12, acrylic on gessoboard

Prints of these paintings can be purchased at Fine Art America by clicking on the appropriate painting. All three originals are also for sale.

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