Create Beauty · Paint

Documented Life Week 2

The week 2 challenge for The Documented Life Project was to use Gesso with the writing prompt –

“The Beginning is always today.” Mary Shelley.

I knew immediately what I wanted to do when I read the journal prompt because I had seen the most stunning sunrise on my way to work one morning. I wanted to capture it in a photo so badly, but there was no way for me to stop during the morning traffic and snap the picture. I looked intently to try and set it in my mind – knowing that I wanted to paint it.

Alas, capturing the Master Artist’s work is easier said than done. Truly it is impossible, but I decided to give it my best attempt.

What I remembered most about the scene were the dark greys of the morning sky contrasted to the amazing coral pinks highlighting the clouds. It was breath-taking!

I began by double loading Payne’s Grey and Lavender Lace with my gesso base-coat. I used a random slip-slap motion trying to place the dark of the horizon and the light of the morning sky.


It was a good start, but it looked too stormy – not what I had seen. I began to add Rouge for the sunlit clouds. It seemed too bright, so I added more greys and blues. As I layered the colors my original base completely disappeared and I began to feel so small and incapable of capturing God’s splendor in the clouds. Now I was frustrated…


The painting was not at all what I was trying to achieve. I really wanted to throw in the towel at this point, but since this is a bound journal there was no going back and no quitting. I had to persevere!
I looked down at the pages in frustration then I looked up and saw my Delta metallic paints in blues and pinks. It was my “Ah-Ha!” moment. I figured things couldn’t get worse so I put the paints on my palette and just began to try and paint what I remembered, adding glimmers of color here and there. Finally, it began to come together and I was excited about the progress.


I realized I was losing my light areas and the sky was still too stormy looking so I began to layer the blues and purples around the coral and pink highlights. Using a filbert brush I softly blended and patted the colors with feathery side to side motions. It became like a dance with the brush upon the paper as the sunrise began to take shape and the memory found its way from my mind to the page.


The blue, pink & lavender metallics saved the painting, but it still needed more depth. I reached for the Rouge and with a side-loaded brush added highlights to the undersides of the clouds.


The scene was still not even close to what I had seen on that early morning drive, but I decided to call it done. A light wash of gold metallic on the right created my calendar area and I added some words of encouragement that God gave me for this year.


This page was a lesson in not giving up. I’m so glad we are using a bound journal this year. Quitting is not an option. I know every page won’t be a favorite. This week reminded me that there will be lots of learning through out the year. I’m excited to see how God will use all these frustrating moments for good and how I will grow both in relationship with Him and in my art.

I’m still playing catch-up with posting my pages, but hope to be on track by next weekend. Stay tuned for more adventures in The Documented Life!

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