To complete my trilogy of night paintings, I'm going to do an
oil based on trailer camping. I'll show a couple sitting
by the fire, having a cup of coffee. They have lit a
couple of candles and put them on the folding camp table for
Here is the initial prop setup for the painting.
I waited until dark to light the candles and the campfire
(tinfoil with wood matches and lamp oil).
I decided on smaller candles for a better design.
I called on our good friends, Patty and John. They not
only were up for posing for the painting, they had all the right
clothing and a great sense of humor.
I've started with the sky and the silhouettes of the tall trees
in the background.
Here's the front candle holder.
Here's Patty and John in their chairs by the fire. John
looks into the spell of the flames and Patty looks into the
spell of her ol' flame...
The coffee pot takes a place in the middle ground, cutting into
the night sky and reflecting just enough of the candles and fire
to contribute to the design.
I've begun the trailer, making the side light enough to show off
the cool shadows cast by the two figures.
This close-up shows how the values painted on the side of the
trailer give the two figure a visual support to their backs.
I've applied the blue color to the front of the trailer and have
started to detail the tablecloth.
I've addressed each square of the tablecloth, gradually
darkening the outer areas and designing the cast shadow created
by both the fire and the two candles.
Speaking of candles, here is a close-up of the one on the left
side of the painting and...
...the other behind the trailer. These two candles
represent the candles on the table between the two figures.
The cup is roughed in.
The only way the fire looks like 'fire' is by making sure
everything else around it is a darker value.
The painting is now half way done. Every area of the
painting has been covered with a thinned down coat of oil.
The night sky has been finished with a mixture of thalo blue,
burnt umber, white and black.
I'm defining the dark area under the trailer and around the left
candle. This will tell me how dark to make all the other areas
of the tablecloth.
Although this photo doesn't show the full extent of the
increased values in the tablecloth, I darkened every area of the
tablecloth, which will make the fire glow more and help create
I just finished the trailer. I switched the lighting with
the top of the trailer being brighter than the side. I
also decided to change the color of the trailer, eliminating the
yellow cast from the various light sources. This allows me
to paint the two figures with a more realistic palette.
The moon details are complete.
The final paint on the coffee pot made it look very metallic.
Here is a look at the finished coffee cup. Notice how
translucent the green glass looks near the top where it reveals
that there is coffee in the cup.
The blue glass candle holder with its subtle reflections.
I've put the final layer on the right candle...
...and the left one also.
All that is left is the fire pit and the two figures.
Here's the fire pit finished.
I've detailed John's upper torso.
John is completed. Patty will be next.
Patty sits with her cup of coffee. The final layer of oil
allowed me to refine her facial features.
Here are John and Patty enjoying their coffee by the fire.
"Night Owls" is finished.
to see a larger image.