This is a public version of the members-only Art with Justin Bua, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Art with Justin Bua.
Join Now

The Fundamentals of Drawing
Building Skills in Drawing
Advanced Drawing and Painting
Bua's Master Lessons
Business of Art
«Prev of Next»

Art Lessons: Sunset Sky Panel

Lesson Video Exchanges () Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +
Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   

This video lesson is available only to members of
Art with Justin Bua.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Art with Justin Bua. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Art Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
everybody, and welcome to Sunset Sky
Now, you might be wondering what this
crazy little contraption is and
this looks very makeshift, like I just put
it together like a crazy person.
And I did.
This is my maulstick.
And the pink ball was impaled
on a steel rod and that's so I could get
And you will see me doing that during this
Now, I'm gonna work fairly quickly.
This a quick demo of a Sunset Sky Panel.
So it's really important to, to paint sky
I do them all the time for my backgrounds.
In fact, I always paint my backgrounds
before I ever paint my foregrounds.
So whether it's night time, whether it's,
early morning,
sunset, daytime, crisp light, dark light,
whatever, painting your background is
supremely important.
And also, it's fun and it's easy to do.
If you really get the hang of it,
you guys are gonna be able to do the best
sunset panels in the world.
So let's begin.
I'm going to start by just kind of quickly
laying in a city.
Kind of a city skyline.
And it's super loose, super loose.
Just trying to get the energy right.
Oh, and just trying to get some kind of
balance of composition.
So I'm working within these borders right
I might even do, I might even get crazy
and do a sidewalk.
How about that?
Won't you be my neighbor?
Would ya?
Could ya?
I can.
It's gonna be weird.
Sometimes also, when you do cityscapes or
whether it's, whether it's cityscapes or
whether it's landscapes,
you really wanna make the composition
And sometimes with, with an interesting
composition, you have to break the border.
So right here, I'm just kind of breaking
the border, and
you want to find also negative shapes that
are fascinating.
Negative shapes breaking the border.
That's kind of abstract, but that's how
I'm going to work.
You might also want to just get a quick
you take the corners.
Take a line from one corner to the other.
This corner to that and you want to see
exactly where your center is.
So that things are not directly in the
And that's kind of a good, you feel like
that's a good vibration, compositionally.
This breaks down.
This is a half point here.
It's very abstract but the composition,
one of the most important things,
and I will be talking about it later.
Super important.
So I'm going to mix my sky value.
And if I were doing this on a larger scale
I would pre-mix my colors.
Because if I pre-mix my colors I have a
much easier
chance at gradating them and getting them
onto my surface area.
But because it's pretty small, I'm just
gonna kinda mix it, and
I also wanna show you what colors I use,
so it's really important.
So I've kinda taken my palette and I've
just put down a ivory black,
alizarin crimson, titanium white,
ultramarine blue, cerulean blue,
cad yellow medium, cad orange medium, and
cad red medium.
I've put my warms here, my cools here,
and I just put my warm crimson with my
Because sometimes I like to mix very dark
darks and I just want to keep
them together, 'cuz the way that I mix my
darkest, darkest, darkest, darks is
an ivory black with a crimson, or a
crimson with a deep hooker's green.
This is all in acrylic.
So I'm gonna start by just kinda getting
and as I paint, you could see, as I put
things down, you look at my hand,
I twirl it, because that is the best way
me to, to get things mixed as fast as
So I always move my hands around,
I move the paint around, and I use my
I never ever, ever, ever, ever spray paint
through here.
For me it's very toxic.
So I don't like that.
So I just spray water.
And it is the highest quality spring water
in the world.
No, I'm kidding.
It's just normal water.
But that'd be cool if it was.
But I do only use that to keep my paint
wet and to
get very fast gradations with respect to
background especially.
The more my, the more my paints are wet,
the more my board is wet,
the quicker and the faster the more
malleable my paint will be on canvass.
So as you could see,
this is a little saturated.
And when it’s sunsety, there’s that cast
shadow over the earth as it gets darker.
And the thing with that is that it, it
gets kinda, this like, violet or
gray violet really beautiful color, but
it's desaturated usually.
So I wanna kinda come in with a little bit
of white.
Cool it off.
Maybe some crimson just to make it a
little bit more value.
I mean little bit more dull here.
Add some warmth.
Cool it off a little bit.
And I'm constantly gauging the sky by
So it's like cooling it off.
Warming it up.
Adding more saturation.
Adding less saturation.
Making it darker.
So right now, I've got something right in
That's quite dark actually.
So, I'm gonna lighten that up, kinda come
in with a little bit more ultramarine.
Ultramarine tends, even though the blue,
tends to be more towards red blue.
Darken it up a little bit with some black.
Lighten it up a little bit.
I just keep going back and forth until I
really find something that I like.
Sometimes, I could be here for, you know,
20 minutes, figuring it out.
But I'll tell you what, I'd rather figure
it out here on my pallet
than on my canvas, and waste all that
Cuz I wind up just having to remix it and
repaint it.
So I'd rather just figure out what feels
right here.
So, that looks pretty good.
My light here is a little strange,
compared to normal.
The best light obviously is north light.
If you can paint with, with northern
then you're really painting with the most
beautiful, beautiful light.
So, we do what we can do.
And, when you're planar painting,
sometimes you have to paint when, you're
getting rained on.
So, you should really paint under every
kind of circumstance possible.
So, I guess it's gonna be somewhere in
I like to keep my palette a little wet.
Paint a little wet.
And now, I'm gonna kind of go for my
It may be a little more down and dirty
than I normally am,
just to kind of get things going.
So sunset, as the sun is setting,
it gets very bright down here,
which is your solar point, right around
And very, it can be very beautiful.
So I'm gonna give a quick glaze.
I'm gonna make sure everything's kind of a
little wet.
Not too wet, where everything gets crazy.
And when I do paint, it's, it's a little
So get's a little wonky.
So you're gonna get that nice kind of
beautiful sunset color.
And even though I'm gonna paint this
right now, I'm kind of using this as my
And sunset is kinda getting into this blue
And that's feeling a little bit more water
But that's okay.
Now I'm coming in with the big guns, the
big brushes.
And ooh, that's really desaturated.
See I'm mixing the blue and orange, which
are complementary colors.
So you gotta be careful, because when you
mix complementary colors things,
tend to get very gray.
So that's why I'm adding some warmth, some
Sorry, some crimson and some cerulean.
And it's really dark.
But I like that sometimes when it is that
dark, up there, on the top of the sky.
It's hard to spin these brushes.
All right.
So as you can see, I'm just getting crazy
and that's how a like to go.
Nutty, little nutty.
I'm going to re-do that.
Get that kind of cool.
Cool value, instead of that, it's dark but
it's not as dark.
This is gonna dry 15% darker.
Like that.
Then I'm gonna come in with my, oranges
I'm doing yellow orange, very bright.
But it won't be as bright because I will
blend it.
You got this mid-value.
Okay, you got a nice gradation.
'Kay, so it's kind of a smooth gradation.
Like that.
So, now these buildings are gonna be
So, more important than the color is the
So, in other words, these are going to be
darker against a lighter background.
Now, as you can see,
I'm kinda taking some of that orange from
the sky and blending it in.
I'm also doing this crazy fast.
So as long as you have the shapes.
Then everything else will be okay.
Now, that brush was good, but it just laid
on some paint.
Not in the,
not in the most precise manner though.
So, what I'll do with my flat is I'll just
take my flats and
lay, lay some value down.
I like that violet.
That violet feels right now pretty against
that sunset.
And ultimately.
Ultimately I will I will do both
the background now and the foreground.
So as this dries,
I'm kinda doing some edges.
Now I'm just stabbing at this paint right
now, trying to get a darker value.
I'm gonna add some actual black here.
And, what it's gonna do is it's gonna
grade it from darker up here.
Because in nature, it will go darker, and
then it will go lighter.
The darker first, and then lighter.
Darker then lighter.
And obviously, every building will have
its own color.
But right now they're pretty harmonized,
because in sunset things get pretty
The more.
I get into more details as I go along.
Right now I also want to think about
that background, kinda permeating,
flooding those buildings.
We have something in painting called
contre-jour, which is backlight.
So, it's gonna be really light in those
areas below.
As the sun is setting,
there's gonna be the solar point here,
down right around here,
where the sun is and everything's
radiating from that point.
I will do it kind of around these
buildings like that.
Especially the lower it is.
If the sun's low, it's kind of flooding
especially right in here.
Now what you will get is you get those
edges blown out.
Like that so
you get a lot of soft edge, like that see.
[SOUND] Out of focus.
So some of it will be out of focus.
And some of it will be in focus.
And it's kind of like the eye, you know.
You gotta think about how's the eye gonna
read that?
So concentrating on that one area right
here where things are coming in and out of
focus and
really getting those like little flares.
Little spots of warmth coming through.
That's what the sun is doing.
The sun is trying to just kind of like pop
[SOUND] Bam.
So I'm using, I'm going lighter with
and also with with yellow.
And as I go up into the sky, you know,
I'm obviously going back, cooling off that
[SOUND] More neutral color.
I'm kinda getting a little bit more
But it's obviously very, very, very
Now all this texture is gonna play out
as we continue painting.
This is gonna be a ledge, this is gonna be
a hard edge,
this is all gonna get soft edge.
It's gonna be maybe a hard edge right
here, where there's maybe a water tower.
As you could see the light is kind of
really starting to come up now.
It's getting cooler, so I guess the sun,
sun's really right around in here.
And usually when you have that you have
what's called an anti-solar point
which is directly opposite where the main
sun is right around here.
But since I don't think I'm gonna do
clouds in the sky,
I don't know how well you could see it.
That color is pretty nice.
You know, orange and blue, obviously,
they're complements so
they vibrate off each other in pretty
interesting ways.
As we
get a little lower towards the horizon,
particularly in these areas,
we're going to get warmer and lighter.
And even warmer, not warm enough.
Sometimes we just gotta use pure cad
with a little bit of titanium white.
If you use too much titanium white,
you're just gonna get too cool because
white is cool, like?
I feel like light's kinda coming through
It's coming through here.
Coming around here.
You really gotta soften those edges, too.
So I just wanna make it feel like, no.
Make it feel like light is just really
creeping around those edges, so
that you don't even see that edge any
That's a bit much.
There you go.
Soft edge.
Soft edge.
Let's get in some windows, [SOUND] and
maybe even a sidewalk.
Let's see what's going on.
Before that I think I gotta just kinda
soften that.
We get in actually a little bit more of
those lights, some pure lights.
And sometimes when that light creeps in,
it's kinda flares out like that, woops.
That's pretty wet.
This has actually stayed pretty wet
which is interesting for acrylics.
[SOUND] So, also just creating a little
negative shape,
like yeah, maybe there's, there's a
building in there.
There's an opening.
And like this could be all the way down
Maybe it's too much.
It's too much.
Sometimes less is more.
If you know what I mean.
Do you?
I don't even know what I'm talking about.
Hold on.
Here we go.
Let's get in some good darks.
Now here's the thing, see this?
This is a mess.
This is not good.
This is not a good sign.
What you wanna do is clean your brushes
keep your brushes clean because that is
going to make you a better painter.
Okay, but
when you have this many brushes who cares?
I'm just gonna go crazy [LAUGH].
Let's do it man, I have this many brushes.
Okay, so.
I'm gonna go crimson black for
some of my windows because I feel like my
are going to be my dark darks right now.
So I'll just pop in a window right here.
Pop in a window right here.
See, buildings start to come to life when
you do that.
Those windows are actually a little too
big proportionally.
So, what happens is when you have that,
you're, you're city can get, cartoony.
Depends what you wanna do.
You want a cartoony city, then you're
doing it right.
You don't, then you make the windows
Good job, okay.
That was cray cray, not cool.
This is going to be the perfect window
brush, and
that's the key is getting that right
stroke, there we go.
There we go.
But eh, that building is a little further
And see this, just touching it a little
Oy, little much.
Little much.
these also just keeping these edges soft.
So it feels like some's coming in and
some's coming out of focus, that's key.
So this edge here, because it's on the
end, will be in focus.
So as a painter you're really a director
and you're playing with,
you're playing with atmosphere, you're
playing with light,
you're playing with color, you're playing
with saturation.
You're playing with the way people are
viewing something even though they don't
know that you're doing that.
A great director is directing somebody's
eye to see.
So this light here is going to hit
that plane, and that plane there.
See, it's gonna hit that plane, those side
planes of that building.
Let me get in let me get in a nice
Before anything gets a little too crazy.
Now a sidewalk is going to be.
Its gonna be maybe, lets see.
This will be on the cool side.
As you can see this almost looks red, but.
As the sidewalk goes down.
The sidewalk's not going to be super dark.
There is going to be a dark side of that
which is going to be away from all of that
Here is where I use my straight.
Now it is going to be in the cools.
That'll pick up darkness here.
It doesn't have to be straight across.
But something like that.
And here, in front of the buildings.
I feel like there's even other,
things going on, like maybe
some city life, trash cans.
And parking signs, and things that people
can relate to.
Everybody can relate to a parking meter.
Or a stop sign.
This kinda just offers a quick middle
Could be people.
Could be anything.
Cuz then that allows this to be
And this could get softened.
In fact, it will get softened.
And I'll soften it with my trusty fan
Cuz you guys haven't seen this yet.
Oh, whatever noise this is, because at the
end of the day.
It's that visual information that your
brain isn't registering.
So you're, you're not like hey man what is
I don't really think that's a parking
Or I don't really think that's a stop
That could be anything right now.
We're just kinda getting some noise down.
Kinda city noise.
That noise, we all live in cities or we
all live near cities.
So we can re, pretty much relate to that.
And I'm just taking that fan brush and
Oh, well now the sidewalk just is pretty
warm and
I don't think the side walk should be
I think it needs to be cooler, so I think
we gotta be.
In the cools, right about here,
though it's a little darker, like that.
And that just feels like, right.
The temperature just feels better.
Also it's kinda playing off the sky in it.
And it doesn't have to hit all of it.
The temperature can cool off as it comes
closer to the curb.
So it could be, kinda get a little bit of
that warmth dappling in.
From from the sunset, in fact some
of these objects can be hit, like that.
And you can get some warmth there, that's
Then that city street should be pretty
Mm, I don't know if it should be cool or
warm right now.
I don't like that.
I feel like it should be way, cooler,
maybe even lighter.
You wanna get
that curb,
blocked in.
Like that.
With respect to that street, it can be
kind of noise that you always see on the
And just quickly get in a couple of
I'm gonna do, well, I'm gonna try a pure
orange just to see how crazy that looks.
Is it competing, is it competing?
It might be okay.
Here in the dark.
Like that, over there in the dark.
Cuz things just really start to glow at
Otherwise, if there's lights on, I would
actually do it really light.
And the light actually falls from light to
So, warm to cool.
Warm to cool.
See a couple of lights on.
Makes a big difference.
So, the light starts to kind of aluminate
the city.
You don't wanna go too much, feels cheap.
Everything here obviously changed.
I think that just for crazy sake.
I'm going to do some of these,
lines in a street.
Like okay, that's definitely a street.
Going back in perspective.
So you'd wanna actually make it cleaner.
Like that.
As you get.
As you get more realistic, you start to
realize that like,
realism comes in thin lines, you know?
So you want to really get, if you're going
do any kind of realistic interpretation of
these buildings.
You've got to get really clean, really
nice lines.
And obviously you could just keep going
with this all day.
On this edge it graduates to lighter.
And the only thing is that you could also,
what it's really important is to also
paint back into some of these shapes.
So like.
Paint back into the negative of that
paint back into the negative of that
And really carve out the architecture.
Don't let the architecture control you,
you control the architecture,
you control what it's gonna look like,
you control what it's gonna feel like, you
control the environment.
So, you know,.
You start doing that.
And you say okay, well you know what?
I wanna, want a warm ridge on that
And you say oh, it's terrible idea.
And you just go bababa but
it's okay gives you a nice local variation
of the buildings.
Nice texture.
And I don't like those lines.
How about that?
Painting, it's so forgiving.
I love you so much, painting.
Gotta love it.
[SOUND] Bam.
Now I'm gonna come in with just little
accents of color in this brick here.
Actually, some pure, some nice cad red
Just to get some good texture going.
Some nice texture here.
Even though this is blown out maybe an
indication that there's a cast shadow.
A door, et cetera and so on.
And maybe some real accents of pure color
or close to pure color, which means
some kinda like, kinda red note.
Here and a red here.
And you can really see that like as you
start to put in this, this red,
something really interesting about it.
It's really kind of beautiful, it's like
you add in all this broken color.
And there we go, that's it, what?
Oh that.
Okay, so that's like a brick building is
being affected by the atmosphere.
Just little notes of color everywhere.
And as the buildings go back in space,
now this building is going to be darker.
And this edge
It's gonna be darker
And you start very loose and as things
continue, you get tighter and tighter and
Let's see.
So really fast.
Just gonna kind of throw on a couple
of couple of antennas here.
And they have to be really thin.
I'm sorry, now all is well, I could do
Okay, okay, okay let's see.
The thinner
they are, the more realistic they're gonna
You get some antennas in there.
You know, I might want some birds flying
in the atmosphere, going home.
Where you guys going?
That's crazy.
You're flying towards the sunset, cuz
you're in love.
There's a story here.
In love, here's a little pigeon here,
here compositionally just think about
where your marks are.
Like just two there.
Two, three there, four, five.
See, they're just kind of all over the
Around the city.
Now, all these edges are messy, so I would
go in there eventually and
clean them all up.
And as you're cleaning them up, what you
gonna do?
Maybe do a fire escape, so
you have [SOUND]
Just a little,
doesn't take a lot of strokes to show a
lot of information.
In other words, the eye will visually put
down information there.
And fill in the blanks for you.
Because the eye knows more than you think
it does.
So maybe we gotta a fire escape there.
Maybe we've got a couple of wires and
Do the wires you have to be, you have to
keep it really thin.
Have to keep your arcs really smooth and
be smart about it.
Sometimes I like to swing it from way out
here and then come down like,.
Like that.
And then clean it up.
Cuz I know that this is all just really
Cuz when I really get into it, I'm gonna
get into like,
there's going to be a water tower here and
there's going to be, you know,
a couple of birds or a ledge or whatever
there, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And I know that there's not gonna be that
mess because in reality this architecture
unlike the figure is going to be full of
In fact.
I can't stand that.
Fire escape so I'm taking it out.
Okay, here I'll throw in a couple of
more wires just to show you [SOUND]
And we've got a couple of birds on the
wire here, see?
Look at that.
A couple of birds.
Actually, now those birds are gonna be
affected by that light.
So, they're gonna be lighter in value than
those birds.
They're gonna be a little bit more like.
And these are three birds by the way.
No, they're just clustering, they're all
over the place.
And one quick swoop.
And you know,
therein lies the beginning of a, could be
a very, very complicated painting.
But I'm just laying it in for you.
And, you know, you could do this at home.
It's fairly easy, as you see.
So, let's have fun!