sunshine6You needn’t paint sunshine.  You already have it.  It is the white of your paper. All you have to do is paint in the shadows and the negative spaces. You have painted summer!!

Does that sound too simple? The truth is often simple. Try it.



Stay out of where the sun is striking the flower, the tree, the person, the building. Leave it to the white of the paper. Analyze what is happening as the form turns away from sunlight.

  • sunshine2Often the edge against the light is cooler and darker than in the rest of the shadow.
  • Often there is a bounce of warm light in the shaded side. Look for it.
  • Paint in the negative spaces and leave the white of the paper to tell the story.





The above painting is a good negative challenge.  Painting the negative shapes without any preliminary drawing! This was done with a 1 inch flat.  Try it when you see a clean image.

sunshine8Here is another where I did the pencil study first. Then, more familiar with the shapes, I tried the painting using a one-inch flat brush.

It is fast and it helps you to see the important simple shapes.

Here is a painting I did of three students in an outdoor sketching class.  The photo is attached. Notice how where the sun is striking is WHITE PAPER even tho’ in some sunstruck areas we call see color.  Push it like this to bring out the sunshine.


Here is another of a tree with all the color in the shadow areas and the negative areas.






If you go through my website, you will see again and again, how the sunstruck shape is left to the white of the paper.

This summer, make your paper work for you.  Turn it into sunshine!



Happy painting!








©Caroline Buchanan, 2013