Silhouetted lighting on a winters day in Vienna

The following sequence is all about silhouetted lighting, and how powerful it can be.

I painted this large watercolour from a pen and ink sketch made in a  small park in Vienna, Austria.    It was a cold, sunny, mid winter’s afternoon and as the sun disappeared behind the buildings, everything in the foreground was thrown into dark shadows….The rays from the sun were almost red as they began to disappear.

For a brief moment the reds and golds from the sun reflected down onto the cold earth.


Frame 1)

I don’t use black in my paintings, rather I mix my darks, and in this case, I used a mix of Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna.   To achieve this strength of colour, I load my brush with sticky paint, and apply directly to the dry white paper.


Frame 2

Note that I use suggestion for the windows, rather than detail….and also that I have added Burnt Sienna to the roof, which is reflected from the quickly disappearing sun.

To the right of the painting a bench is indicated….I simply scraped out paint with a knife to achieve this effect.


Frame 3

I now begin to strengthen the reds and oranges….which indicate the fast setting sun…..and at the same time, I bring some of that colour into the foreground as it reflects.


Frame 4

To achieve the suggestion of sun rays….I add some Permanent White Gouche to the sky and then drag the paint down, using a wide wash brush. 

All other white areas in the painting, are dry white paper.



A Bientôt

6 thoughts on “Silhouetted lighting on a winters day in Vienna

  1. janetweightreed10 Post author

    Thank you Christa. I have visited Vienna for the past three years, and love it. I will definitely let you know when I next plan a visit. It would be lovely to meet. Please let me know if you come to London:)

  2. Tish Farrell

    Fascinating to see how you work, Janet. A striking and, yes, mysterious image. Interesting paradox that the blaze of winter sun makes the building less stark, but not less mysterious.


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