In some of my classes this year, we explored the painting of the northern lights. I have only seen them a couple of times myself, but I know of others who have seen amazing ones. This fall we could see a faint wave of green in the sky in the field by our house. The movement of the green wave was slow, barely discernable. Years ago, when we were driving the Queen Elizabeth Highway (2) at night, we stopped to watch bands of red light weaving across the sky. What an awesome sight to behold! Imagine it with more colors streaming brilliantly across the dark night sky, like a "glorious multitude of angels" singing glory to God in the highest!
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Luke 2:8-14
I have added again some of my students work here with the northern lights to help you imagine the glorious multitude of angels.
There are a few videos of the northern lights, aurora borealis, on youtube. I selected one in "real time" by Ronn and Marketa Murray. The second is a time lapse one by Maciej Winiarczyk. Enjoy and think of angels singing "Gloria in the highest!"
“Mom! Mom! Wake up! You said you would go with me. I got an Aurora red alert. You said to wake you up!” Reena whispered as she shook me awake.
I dragged myself out of bed, threw on more layers and drove out with Reena east of Edmonton into the frigid -28C to see what we could see.
We started to see them as we drove past Sherwood Park. We looked for a place to pull over and got out of the car for a better view. Beautiful dancing lights!
As I watched the lights dancing a set of vertical bands of pink, white and peach traveled from one side of the sky to the other amidst the luminescent greens. Amazing! Inspiring!
Reena’s phone captured the best photos. Here are a couple of them.
Since then, I have been working on some northern light paintings in watercolor. As it was so cold the night we saw the Aurora Borealis, and it was so cold in the couple weeks following, I felt it was appropriate to try the frost paintings again.
Frost pattern paintings are something I try every year when the temperature is low enough. I put a wet watercolor painting outside until it freezes. It works best with temperatures below -8C. It was in the range of -25C to -40C with the windchill.
Here are some of my works in progress. I have the ground (trees or snowscape) to put in yet on these. The first one here had the best most distinct frost pattern.
Here is a section with a frost pattern: You will have to look closely to see it.
On Friday, June 4th at 6:00 pm MST, I will be hosting a live show on my youtube channel to debut my new series on the Northern Lights. The Dancing Lights depicted within my paintings are based on the Aurora Borealis my daughter and I saw this past winter. To capture the essence of our experience that cold winter night I used frost painting techniques to give the images an ice-like look. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun experimenting with different techniques in my efforts to paint one of nature's most beautiful phenomenons.
Though I will only be going live on the Friday the 4th, you will still be able to watch my show after the fact on my youtube channel. I will also be posting a few short videos on some of the paintings, to give you a more thorough experience. Below is the link to the show itself or you can access it by going directly to youtube.
This series has been a passion project of mine since February and I am excited to finally be able to share it with you!
To preview some of the paintings you will find them on the Store page under New Work: Frosty Northern Lights.
***Note*** If you would like to chat and ask questions during the Virual Art Show, you will need to have a gmail account and create a YouTube account for yourself.
Northern Lights in Watercolor Workshop Register at Paintspot.ca
10 am - 4 pm.
Capture the beauty and movement of the Northern Lights using watercolor in this step-by-step workshop. These simple landscapes can be done by beginner to advanced students.
Supply List for Workshop:
Watercolors: tube paint
Palette for watercolor
Arches 140 lb cold press full sheet, tear into quarters
Painting boards (tape on watercolor paper) heavy cardboard or Masonite are good options
Green painter’s tape
Container for water Brushes
Rag/ paper towel
Pencil and eraser
(optional – permanent ink pen with fine tip)
Photo references (optional): northern lights, landscapes in the dark
Lunch, water bottle