The Golden Hour

English Robin Bird On Brand Sunset Watercolor Painting

For our prompt of “Sunset” today, I opted for a little robin enjoyed the setting sun. Or, at least, a hopefully reasonable facsimile in my super quick and mad dash style. I love watching the sun set, but I most enjoy the light that appears in the hour just before the sun says goodbye for the day. Everything is golden and radiant and the world seems exceptionally beautiful. During the winter, I’m usually still at work when this begins, but as the days get longer in spring and summer I’m often painting as this festival of light begins. From where I sit at our kitchen counter, I can see the row home behind us as it suddenly turns a wildly orange color for a moment, then fades to yellows and sometimes shades of pink. It’s quite extraordinary and sometimes when the colors seem especially dazzling, I’ll jump up from where I’m sitting and take a peek at the sunset itself. Sometimes Philippe notices one of these shows first and calls me outside to see it. We’ll just stand there for a moment taking it all in and not saying a word. Sometimes, there simply aren’t any words to describe a moment like that.

I have to admit that when I saw the prompt of sunset, I actually made an audible groan. I don’t really sketch full scenes, which means I’ve developed no great skill when it comes to making skies. Then I remembered that there was a very good reason why I put this prompt on the list in the first place. I know many people who adore painting sunsets and do so splendidly, and I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone a bit. That said, I’ve sketched this prompt before by coming up with ways to avoid ever attempting an actual sun entirely. That’s the fun thing about prompts. They can be bent and formed to whatever you really want to draw or paint in the first place. So, by force of habit, I started to chose something that would simply have the reflected colors of a sunset alone. Then I started over, not satisfied that I’d once again given into a personal fear. I sketched a little bird on a branch, since that’s something I can now do easily. And it gave be a bit more confidence. Then I did what I always do. I handed the brush to my inner child and practically begged, “make a sunset!” This is what Little Charlie saw.

This is one of the things I love most about my sketching habit. There are so many times when I feel like I’ve woken up from a dream to suddenly find what I have to illustrate my post that day. One would think that an intense focus would be a much better approach, but for me, that’s likely never going to happen. While I let my inner child play, I was also watching a show with Philippe. This one was the French show where people bring in things to be appraised and then sold to a group of antique dealers. I still can’t understand every single thing they say, but I adore the show simply because Philippe shouts at the screen like he’s watching a football game. I giggle on the inside and some those giggles sneak out, but he doesn’t seem to notice. And this little ritual happens each and every night for just the length of a show as the sun is slowly setting. As twilight creeps upon us, I scan whatever little image appeared and then write this very post. Perhaps that’s why I have such a fondness for this rare and wonderful time each day, that some might call the golden hour.

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English Robin Bird On Brand Sunset Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
43 Comments
  1. Laura Hale 1 week ago

    The “golden hour” is one of my favorite times of day as well! Love your version that you shared with us here. Thank you Charlie!

  2. Zertab Quaderi 1 week ago

    Beautiful and blissful!

  3. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 1 week ago

    Ohhhhhhhhhh breathtaking!!! This image has such a lovely serene cozy feel to it ahhhhhhhhh! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you enjoyed this!

  4. Karen Fortier 1 week ago

    This is a beautiful and peaceful time of the day. Our house is too close to a hill so sunsets are not really visible. I love being on vacation on the Maine coast or on a lake where sunsets and sunrises can be fully enjoyed.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Yeah, this time of day is one of my favorites! 😃💕 I’ve never been to the Maine coast, but would love to go someday!

  5. Fatima Chamkha 1 week ago

    Lovely robin on a branch enjoying the twilight in the summer.

  6. Sandra Strait 1 week ago

    We don’t have a view of the sunrises, but living close to the Columbia River and on a lake, we see some truly fabulous sunsets. Sometimes, I get too involved in something and realize that the sunset has come and gone, and I hate that because it does bring such a sense of renewal watching the colors change.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Yeah, watching sunsets is so refreshing! 😃💕 And given a choice, I’ll take the sunset over a sunrise… the latter always seems to come earlier than I’d like it to! lol

  7. Claire Randall 1 week ago

    So beautiful

  8. Sharon Nolfi 1 week ago

    Gorgeous color! During winter in SoCal, we often have bright magenta sunsets. Orange is more in the summer.

  9. Gary Middleton 1 week ago

    Beautiful painting. All winter the Robin is the only bird that sings, but now all the other birds are starting to get their voices. That means my cycle to work is full of birdsong.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Oh wow! That sounds like a very enjoyable cycle indeed!

  10. Lisa 1 week ago

    Crepuscular is one of my favorite words. It is a synonym for dusk. It is such a magical time when the air gets soft and damp and the fireflies rise out of the grasses. I used to love to drive on country roads at dusk with all the windows down and Neil Young playing on the cassette player. The scent of fresh cut hay filling the car. And the first wishing star popping up over Lake Michigan.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Crepuscular is such a great word! 😃💕 Aww that’s such a lovely image you described. Sounds like the perfect way to enjoy twilight!

  11. Sarah Baskerville 1 week ago

    very fresh! watercolour was born to be rushed I’m sure of it!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, watercolor works so well for quick sketches. That’s what made me fall in love with it!

  12. Sarah Baskerville 1 week ago

    That shadow at the bottom really lifts it!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Aww thanks!! I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to add it and then plopped it in at the last moment. hehe Glad you liked it! 🙂

  13. LoriCtoo 7 days ago

    I like how your bird colors don’t conflict with your sunset. So pretty. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on not wanting to jump right in on this one. I face that all too often and it stops me in my tracks. However, I learned a little trick from my new friend Sandra, she jumps ahead. I am not one to leave unfinished business. I will eventually go back because it drives me crazy. Tee hee…..off to attempt my reflection roadblock, I mean sketch!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Glad you liked the colors… I was unsure how to make sure the bird didn’t conflict, but that’s why I love a limited palette! hehe Usually always comes to the rescue! And yeah, some days, some prompts just aren’t what I was thinking of doing. But, I find if I get a little creative, I can bend them to my will! lol

      • LoriCtoo 6 days ago

        Ohhhh, that’s another great idea to help with the blocks…..getting more creative with them! I have a mind that is always spinning so that shouldn’t be a problem. 😉

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 5 days ago

          hehe! Exactly! And I have to admit to liking some of the outcome to the prompts that I didn’t care to do best of all! 😉

  14. shawnthompsonart 7 days ago

    Nice sketch, I really like the oranges and reds.

  15. Purnima Manjunath 7 days ago

    Absolutely gorgeous sunset!!

  16. Laura Kate 7 days ago

    Having noticed that you avoid painting backgrounds, I was surprised and pleased to see your sunset. Nicely done, Little Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! Yeah, I often don’t add backgrounds because it gives things too much context for my liking. I like people to be able to put themselves in the scene and the story. Sunsets are universal though! hehe

  17. Linda Calverley 7 days ago

    Gorgeous little robin and sunset.

  18. Priscilla DeConti 6 days ago

    So pretty in its simplicity! Love it!

  19. Susan Masters 6 days ago

    It is golden!

  20. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 days ago

    I really love the simplicity of this composition and the vibrancy of the colors. Well done.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 day ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this! I really liked how this one turned out!

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