A combination of Cobalt and a small amount of Ultramarine, were used with Rose Madder and Raw Sienna to paint the sky in this example. Some Burnt Sienna was introduced to warm the foreground.




Skies in a landscape based painting are often put in as an after thought. Something to fill up the top half of the painting. In these exercises, the sky will be treated as a major part of the subject, reducing the landscape to a supporting role

Clouds are effected by light and perspective in the same way as any other large three dimensional object. They will be illuminated on the surfaces struck by the sun, and in varying degrees of shadow elsewhere. The underside of a cloud usually has the darkest shadow.

A large cloud will cast a large shadow on the ground. Because of the effect of perspective, cloud shadows on the ground appear as a dark band through the landscape. Exaggerating the tonal contrast caused by cloud shadows can add greatly to the drama in a painting


Alizarin, Ultramarine, Prussian and a small amount of Raw Sienna were used in this example. Very wet washes were applied and manipulated with crumpled absorbent paper.


Painting clouds requires a combination of hard and soft edges. Generally, where light strikes a cloud surrounded by dark sky, a sharp clean edge will result. This sharp area of white should be kept dry. The rest of the sky can be painted with wet flowing washes, softening and feathering the edges where the light area turns to shadow on the cloud.

Masking a sheet into small rectangles and experimenting with different colour combinations is a good way to discover new approaches and practice edge and wash techniques.


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