A few mornings ago I witnessed the purple Cascade Mountains back-lit by the rising sun, while in the foreground, the city lights of Bothell shone brightly against the near-black foothills. Lake Washington waters reflected color from both natural and artificial lights. The beauty of the scene was breathtaking. I snapped a photo and this morning attempted to paint it.

Beginning with the sky, I brushed in dilute ultramarine blue and dioxazine violet, gradating to orange and raw sienna. Next I painted the mountains with violet, and the foothills and town with a thick mixture of burnt sienna, ultramarine, violet, and sepia. I was careful to leave small patches of white paper to represent the city lights.  But how to handle the reflections?  I pondered this for awhile, then painted the lake with the same colors as the sky, and taking a small brush, lifted out vertical white reflections.

I decided a painting could not do justice to the beautiful lighting in this scene, but I couldn’t help trying.