View Full Version : Monsoon Sky

08-06-2013, 09:52 PM
Began working on a watercolor of the sky outside my studio. Here is the first go at it. I'm waiting for it to dry so I can keep on keeping on. I love the skies here in New Mexico, USA during this season of the year. The desert may not be beautiful to all who look at it, but the skies! They are an ever changing show of beauty.

08-06-2013, 10:13 PM
A nice start. I've been to New Mexico several times. I love the desert and the ever changing ways the light plays on the landscape. Happy painting. Lee

M.L. Schaefer
08-07-2013, 01:44 AM
Alice! What a great start! I'm anxious to see what you do next!

Right now, we're doing a Landscape Exchange in Miniatures, and one of the tasks I have set for myself is a desert sky with thunder heads...I have my technique and my colors worked out, and am anxious to see what you do with your's. Thunderstorm Clouds are so different from other clouds...we recently had a very bad thunderstorm, and it was amazing how many colors in the thunderstorm clouds: WOW! Regular storm clouds are grays/blues, not so with thunderstorm clouds!

I've even taken to looking at clouds when I walk...an undertaking that takes much awareness of where one is and where one is going.:lol:

We also have the most wonderous clouds in the Pacific Northwest, a most beautiful place....but I've decided on doing a lot of desert landscapes...so challenging, so different from the greens we have here! And with its own understated beauty...in fact, with desert scapes, I feel emboldened to try new things!

:heart: Margarete

08-07-2013, 04:45 AM
Alice, this is wonderful as is. You don't need much to finish if anything.

08-07-2013, 02:56 PM
Thank you, I am tickled to have a place for discussion and learning right here at home! It is encouraging to speak to others on the same quest I am on. So I made a mess of this, scrubbed parts of it off with a toothbrush and decided as an exercise it will do. So I'm leaving it as is and beginning again. You win some, you lose some, and you learn from all of them, right?

I am not a landscape painter. I do okay with pastel landscapes, but nothing fabulous. After all the years I've been painting with watercolor you'd think I'd have figured it out. I torture myself with a few landscapes and take refuge in other genres again, then back to the war I go. Someday I may learn this. I certainly won't if I don't keep at it. SO here is the slightly mortifying story of my landscape in pictures.

Lucky you!

Stage 2:
I put the sky in and the background, so far so good.

08-07-2013, 03:38 PM
So, at midnight thirty last night I decided to push on ahead. Never a good idea when you haven't worked out the next stage in your head. Too busy! So, what do I do? Instead of going to bed and tackling it in the morning, which would make sense, I just slop on more paint! Yeah, baby that's how I roll! LOL

Well, long story short, I used a toothbrush and scrubbed it all off and went to bed. However, Pthalo Blue is a stainer and the green is what I was stuck with.

This morning, I added some shadows, some variety with yellow and blue and TA DA! It's done. Sad, isn't it? It's only paper and paint, and I begin again.

M.L. Schaefer
08-07-2013, 03:50 PM
Alice, not a failure! Your sky is beautiful (I used Transparent Yellow Oxide for my yellows in the sky, but I may change up and add some lighter yellows - hope you don't mind!)

I am so very glad you scrubbed out the heavy foreground!!! It would have distracted from the sky, and the colors left and built upon after the scrubbing accentuate the distance and hugeness, and the majesty of the land. A perfect "set off" to the sky. The only element I found a bit discordant are the orangey mountains...I know many of the mountains in the South West are very warm, but this time I think that artist license could have dictated a purplish color rather than the other color, and the other mountains have some lighter tones? Only my thoughts, there!

But a very good sky! An excellent sky! Thunderstorm clouds are the most difficult to do (I know this from experience), and you have developed lovely ones, I kid you not! I'm looking forward to your next rendition of storm clouds, and more of your landscapes!!!

:heart: M.

08-07-2013, 07:01 PM
My reference photo. I took it and worked inside instead of taking my stuff out to the back yard. This is just outside my studio. You can see what great potential was there!

Thank you for the critique. I am back in the saddle this afternoon, working on a different view and new afternoon sky, determined to learn this!

Feel free to use the pic, it's not a holy relic.


M.L. Schaefer
08-07-2013, 07:57 PM
Thank you so much! I've added this Thread to my favorites for that sky!

Storm skies are such a challenge! My clouds are still works in progress! I found one of the GREATEST difficulties is waiting for the layers to dry. I can wait for other paintings to dry, but there is something about all those layers and all those colors that I just want to add too much at one time! Aaarrgh!

I find myself imagining painting the sky. The first thing I keep in mind: Cool colors recede, warm colors bring forward. Then I had to REALLY look at a sky and how the clouds form over the earth, and how they travel in one direction (thanks to the wind). I know, technical technical! But the mental picture helps, although sometimes I think I overthink it :crying: .

I can't tell you how many times I've almost gotten there and then I JUST had to add more color and fiddle away. The stormy sky will probably be the last painting I finish in my Landscape Exchange. :eek:

It was fun watching how you excelled in yours! Not an easy feat!!!

:heart: Margarete

08-07-2013, 11:34 PM
You are kind. I was taught to do skies in one big bang, no drying or layers. I hate that method, so have been working to figure it out my own way. Kind of like the painting I began this afternoon. Why do I have to always do the sky and background first? I've been painting that way for a zillion years and decided today that I'll just paint what I dang well want to paint and so began the middle ground first. It was so much fun I did the foreground next and now have to put the sky in. We shall see.. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right? Of course often times it's something ventured, something failed! HA! Oh well.. Have fun with your sky. Alice

08-08-2013, 08:43 AM
I don't think it's ruined at all. I agree about the orange mountains though. I'd scrub the orange off and use some bluish/purple color to signify the distant mountains. I think your scrubbing off of the dark foreground was smart so as not to detract from your gorgeous sky. At least you had fun and are learning during your process. ;)