Project Trip: Montauk NY Dusk/Dawn

I was fortunate to visit Montauk NY to research for the series I’m currently working on: Dusk/Dawn.  Montauk is on the eastern tip of Long Island NY and is very pleasant in October.  The temperature is mild, the beaches are empty, and the plant-life is still in bloom.

Sketch from Shadmoor State Park on a beautiful October day. (c) Jenny L. Graham-Hougah

My time was well spent.  My trip consisted of getting to the beach before dawn to catch the beginning light until after sunrise, hiking around state parks, visiting beaches during the day, and observing the changes of the bay from sunset to dusk.  

Yellow Dawn Ocean, work-in-progress on the easel. (c) Jenny L.Graham-Hougah

The colors of dusk and dawn are these brilliant oranges and reds, light blues and violets, and super bright yellows.  This time of day is so great because these vibrant colors play on the surface of the water, clouds and surrounding land.  Just under that surface is the absence of all color.  

Bay Sunset Montauk 8x10” acrylic on canvas. (c) Jenny L. Graham-Hougah

I use palette knives of various sizes as well as large and small brushes to create these scenes.  Water and clouds are the most interesting to include because both constantly change with the shifting winds and the angled light. 

Studio Shot: paint and paintbrushes (c) Jenny L. Graham-Hougah

The process for this series starts with reviewing the photographs and sketches from the Montauk trip.  Then I develop color studies, sketches, under paintings and smaller works to gain a deeper understanding and ability to render this vibrant time of day.  The goal is to create a handful of larger canvases with scenes of dusk and dawn at Montauk, NY.  More to come!

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