Painting in Mid-Day Light

Painting in Mid-Day Light

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Mustard Bloom • 12x16 inches • Oil on Linen Panel
Example of one of my mid-day paintings, finished about 1:00 pm.

In my last post we covered the experience of painting in morning light. This time let’s talk about painting in mid-day light. 

Mid-Day Light

Finding something outdoors that’s exciting to paint in the middle of the day can be tough. With the sun straight overhead, dramatic shadows are difficult to find. But there is always beauty to discover if we take time to look. Some tips:

  1. Search for scenes with high contrasts of value or high contrasts of color.  
  2. A small pencil sketch or two in a sketchbook can help you decide on a workable idea. 
  3. Be aware that shadows might move from one side of objects to the opposite side during your painting session.
  4. Summer by the Shore • 8x6 inches • Oil on Linen Panel
    I finished this painting about noon.

    As with morning light, it’s helpful to know which direction the sun will move.

  5. High summer is perhaps the most difficult time to find interesting shadows since the sun is highest in the sky (in northern latitudes).
  6. At other times of the year you might still be able to find backlit scenes at mid-day since the sun is at a lower angle.
  7. A good painting umbrella can be a great help to protect you from mid-day heat.
  8. Forests and coastal areas can be good places to paint at mid-day, offering views with high value contrast. 

Challenge yourself and spend some time painting at mid-day to see what’s possible. 

Do you have other ideas about painting in mid-day light? Leave a comment below!

One Response

  1. Bobbi Dunlop
    | Reply

    Such a great tutorial, Dan! I’m finding this so useful as I plan to head out of the studio with my gear. Love your paintings, too!

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