Last week we had a go at colouring a night scene with a glowing aurora, which means it must be time to work on a fiery sunset - or a sunrise if you'd prefer. Either way, you're going to need a silhouette image that can be contrasted against the colours we'll add to the sky. Again, I'm using one of the images from the new A Drover's Life set of digital stamps, which I've printed on blending card using a water-based ink jet printer.
I'm going to start by "grounding" the horse and rider, which basically means connecting the subjects to the surrounding landscape or scenery. I do that by adding solid ground (black marker) from just above the horse's hooves all the way to the bottom of the image. If I started the ground underneath the feet, the horse would look as though it was floating in the air rather than walking the trail.
For a little added interest, I have continued the line upward on one side and down on the other to give the impression that the trail winds around a mountain or hillside. As you can see, the line is jagged and imperfect much as a dirt trail would be. Now I'll colour all the area below the line in solid black marker so that the horse's feet are no longer visible.
I want to add some grass and wildflowers into my scene, which I do with a water-based pen. The water-based ink won't react with the alcohol marker, but if you'd prefer, you can add the pen work after you've coloured the sky.
Colour the entire sky in light yellow. Although it looks nice and soft right now, once it has all the other colours of the sunset around it, it will suddenly become a big ball of burning fire!
Decide how much of the sun you want to see and where you want it positioned. A good place is directly behind the focal point, which in my case is the head of the horse and rider, but it would also look great halfway through the horizon as though it had already sunk below the hillside. The size of your sun will depend on what punches or dies you have in your collection. I've used a 11/2" punch to cut a circle from a sticky note, which I'll use as a mask.
Time to add some colour! I'm working through various shades of yellow, orange and red to create my sunset, making sure I blend well between each colour. You can find a list of the markers I used at the bottom of this post.
Make sure you blend well between colours and shades. To do that, layer the colours over each other and blend the area where the colours meet using the lighter colour over the darker. Don't try to make too big a leap between colours and shades or you'll have a lot of trouble blending.
Continue to work outward in a circle pattern as though the colours are radiating out from the sun, which they are. Add layer upon layer for a lovely blend.
Work out to a fairly deep, dark colour so that you end up with a great contrast between the sun and the darkening sky. The deep red will make the light yellow we started with look hot and very bright... get those shades ready!
The contrast is very obvious once the mask in removed. If you wish, you can soften the edges of the sun a little bit by working some of the lightest yellow around the edges.
Here's the colour chart for those who'd like to have a go at creating their own sunset.