View Full Version : Help Please. Street Lights Shine

02-16-2014, 08:57 PM
I am doing a painting of the San Francisco Bay Bridge that has a million light on it not to mention the city lights.

How do I make them look like they are shining? I can do the reflection in the water, but when I paint the lights they are dull...Help please...

Thanks in advance.:thumbsup:

02-16-2014, 09:14 PM
please post a WIP phot so we can see where you are at...

close-up and full phot would be best

02-16-2014, 09:51 PM
Jerry Yarnell, uses a script liner or very fine tip brush with straight paint no dilution. Thicker body paint so a small dot of color will stay where it's put.

It can be white if that will work for what you want, but if an orange or yellow "light" is preferred use it straight from the tube/palette, a clean color with nothing else.

*Wait until the place you want to add the light is dry, and just touch the tiny dot of color right where you want it.*

02-16-2014, 10:08 PM
close up of bridge.



Each of the building are full of lights plus the shoreline. The blue and white blob of paint will become a warehouse receiving building...

My main concern is the bridge. The cables are nothing but lights and there are a mass of street lights across the bridge, I only have a few painted in at the moment and may change them because I painted then to big.

02-16-2014, 10:15 PM
Thank you Joy. I have pretty much been doing that, using the color right out of the tube...so maybe it is just patience that I need...:lol:

02-16-2014, 10:32 PM
Before you go further... can I ask if you are leaving the sky so dark , or is there some tones/clouds etc that I'm not seeing?
If mostly dark you could add a full moon and some soft clouds??

Or for next time..
Composition wise... it is better to avoid a horizon so close to centered..
You could have more sky with interesting features, or more water with interesting features..

On the close up- the bridge supports seem a bit crooked, if so maybe straighten those before going on.

02-16-2014, 10:39 PM
This is from a photo and there were no clouds nor moon on the night my daughter took the picture..Yes I am going to straighten out the support...the water will have many more colors in it as I progress with the lights...San Francisco Bay is amass with color...the sky is blue/black

02-17-2014, 01:08 AM
Naples yellow light is pretty good for lights...I think basically it's just white mixed with reg naples yellow? On some things it 's even almost too bright...:)

02-17-2014, 01:35 AM
Thank you Susan. I think I may have that....I appreciate your help.


chammi kaiser
02-18-2014, 05:33 AM
Shari, what I do to make lights shine is use Naples yellow and then glaze on top of it with a more transparent yellow and glazing medium .

02-23-2014, 09:51 PM
Use titanium white let it dry, then paint the light bulb on top. The white makes the color pop. Plus use glazes, it will also create depth. Keep going, keep tweaking it. Ambitious scene.

02-23-2014, 10:13 PM
Thank you so much Chammi and Hayward. I so appreciated the help.
It is still a WIP even if it is hanging on my wall out of the way..it comes down tomorrow to get some much needed work.


Charlie's Mum
02-25-2014, 06:08 PM
Use titanium white let it dry, then paint the light bulb on top. The white makes the color pop. Plus use glazes, it will also create depth. Keep going, keep tweaking it. Ambitious scene.

This is what I was going to say, so I'll just quote it!:lol:

It works for any highlight elsewhere too (flowers etc) where you want clarity in the light:)

02-25-2014, 06:47 PM
Maybe a little experiment. Rather than rely completely on value contrast why not try a little complimentary contrast? On a practice piece try making a field of really dark blue then put a yellow-orange light on it and see if that pops more than yellow on black. I'll bet if you are standing there in person that night sky really is blue, not black.


02-26-2014, 04:37 PM
David, you are so right and the sky in the painting is very dark blue. I never even thought of the yellow-orange....i will have to give that a try. I have another painting in process that has about the same color sky and more lights again hehhe...so before I go further I am going to try your suggestion.
Thank you so much


"Always a learning event when I pick up a brush"