14 September 2016

Painting Clouds

I’m thinking alot about clouds at the moment.  What colors they are, how their edges form, how to paint them.  I just finished Deborah Paris’ online course “The Painted Sky”.  There is a lot to understand about the sky, and I look up now with a little more understanding.

Here is a painting I did during the course.  Part invention and part plein air sketch.  I used a 3-step process starting with a thumbnail, then a value study, then finally the painting, done wet-in-wet.  I like the process, it feels logical to me.  First handle composition and values, then get down to color.

Grasslands, 9x12", oil on linen

Here are the thumbnail and value study for Grasslands.

Thumbnail, 2x3", graphite on 90lb sketch paper

Value study, 4x5.25", chalk and charcoal on toned Strathmore 500

I did 5 thumbnails before choosing that one to work up.  It takes less than 30 minutes to generate a thumbnail and, for that small effort, you get to glimpse a finished painting.  Here are the other thumbs I did for the assignment. I will probably turn one of the nocturnes into a painting, too.


The best reference I know on clouds is chapter 10 of Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting.  If you are interested in this subject, that's a good place to start.