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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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium,Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Staedtler Pigment Liners in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
English Robin Bird On Brand Sunset Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail

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43 thoughts on “The Golden Hour

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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… to attempt my reflection roadblock, I mean sketch!

    1. 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

      1. 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. 😉

    1. 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

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