Painting The Night Scene

Painting the night scene presents a different challenge. Of course the big difference is in the lighting. But, you do not need to stop painting just because the sun goes down.  Have you ever thought of looking around to see what would make a good subject for a night painting?  Many possibilities abound. You just need to get out and look for them.

Maybe you never thought of doing a night scene, but think of the different challenges and interesting scenes that you might express. The way a particular street is lit up, or a corner store or places where people congregate.

Getting Started

For painting the night scene you will need to retrain the eyes to see the different values and shapes correctly in the dark. Observe the lights, the sky colors, the effect of moonlight if any, the clouds and also what is going on around you. For instance, people can make a city scape come alive.  As you absorb all of this, you will begin to find great ideas for a night painting.

Light Sources 

Consider the various lighting effects and how the light is cast upon the subjects. And also that there are different kinds of light sources. First there’s the tungsten filament, which is being replaced by mercury lamps that cast a bluish light and sodium which gives a warm glow. Look for the various patterns of light and shadow. And not that these can be vary pronounced,  Note that the sky is not always black. It can be of different colors, depending on the general tone of the sky coupled with the various light sources; including the moon. You might also look for objects that have reflected light.


Besides your regular equipment and supplies, your going to need some kind of light to illuminate your canvas and palette. If you are painting in the city, you might be able to utilize a street light. In a rural setting you will need a personal light. There are all kinds of personal lights: Ones that you do not have to hold.  A head lamp is one. Also, there are clip on lights as well. Consider packing extra batteries in case your painting the night scene turns into an extended period of time.  I believe I have covered most if not all of this interesting and enlightening subject, so now it’s up to you. Get out and paint.

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