Nocturne Notes – John Lasater

Nocturne Notes

John Lasater

Old Piazza, Oil, © John Lasater
Old Piazza                  16 x 20″                      Oil

   In our fascination with how the eye sees and then translates the world around us to our brains, we have found it particularly interesting to study how the eye sees at night. Search for the words “Nocturnes” and “Vision” in the search bar to read many interesting articles about the science of seeing at night and the art of painting at night, or, download our book, Nocturnes – A Primer on Night Painting.

   We had the recent opportunity to interview John Lasater and to learn more about his evolution as an artist and the processes and materials he uses within his painting. He wrote to us more specifically about his nocturne palette for our “Noturne Notes”. See the entire interview here:  Voices of Experience – John Lasater. And, see more of Laster’s work by visiting his website:  Lasater Art.

    “My nocturne palette is minimal. I’m usually filling in much of the dark using thinned dark paints like Ultramarine Blue, Red Madder Deep and Burnt Umber. Some mix of these becomes a neutral that I can swing one way or another. I try not to use any white as a mixing agent until the very end for the center of a light source, or to enhance one of the lit shapes a little more. Generally Yellow Ochre works as a better mixing agent to lighten colors in a warmly lit scene, up until the end, when I bring a little Cadmium Yellow or white into it.”

Marina at Dusk, 16 x 20", Oil, © John Lasater
Marina at Dusk               16 x 20″               Oil
(Judged Best of Show at 2017 Plein Air Southwest Salon by judge Kenn Backhaus)

   “There’s no way to describe the adjustments I would make at dusk or twilight. It’s pretty much the same, except the sky is a little lighter. At the Easton Plein Air event I did a dusk painting of a marina, and I had to return four times. It was killer hard. There was about a 15-minute window I was trying to capture, and then the values would literally reverse after the sky darkened so that the boats were light against dark instead of the other way around.”

Nocturnes by John Lasater

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