View Full Version : December 2013 Project ~ Clouds!

Carey Griffel
12-01-2013, 01:27 AM
Hi everyone, and happy holidays!

Thanks for checking in here and for (hopefully) joining in on the project I am hosting this month! It has been some time since I have had the opportunity of hosting a group thread and I appreciate the opportunity to do so.

This month we are studying clouds.


Clouds have captured the imagination of every person with sight since the dawn of time, and maybe before then. So ethereal, so suggestive and ever-changing, clouds have a mystery and allure that can jolt our imagination into action without, or even in spite of, conscious thought.

Clouds are fascinating; different types with different lightings possess their own unique traits which can be studied to effectively portray clouds.


First, a disclaimer. I have only recently become interested in cloudscapes, but I hope some of you might join me in my study this month.

I like to have very open, inclusive projects. I welcome anything you might wish to share, from reference images to old paintings to studies and current work either focusing exclusively on clouds or just including clouds as a major feature of the composition. Clouds are so interesting and varied that, in thinking of how I wanted to set up this study, I could not limit us to just one thing or even just a handful of references to choose from. What I would like to develop here is a wonderful resource where we are not only sharing our current work, but where we and others in the future can come for some delightful inspiration and great advice and suggestions.

The one thing I do suggest and hope many of you take to heart this month is to paint life-studies of clouds. This can be very daunting! Clouds and light change so quickly. But I think life-observation is extremely valuable. Feel free to use any media for this and share here (shhh, don't tell anyone I'm suggesting anything other than oil paint, lol). Studies and sketches in different media from pencils to chalk to pastel to watercolor or anything in between can be useful in preparing to paint in oil. (See? I justified it. It's not just that I'm an art supply junkie. There's purpose! Of course, it *would* be extra specially cool to see cloud studies from life in oil.)

I will initially supply some varied references; you may choose to paint one of these, sketch several of these, use them as references for a wider subject, find your own references...whatever inspires you; as I said, we are going to be open-ended here. Master copies of paintings that have fabulous clouds would also be awesome to see!

I am focusing on cloudscapes myself, though I will not necessarily limit myself to that, and plan on working in various media along with my oil paint, and also oil stick!

A month seems like an awfully short period of time to such a slow painter as myself, so though this is officially a monthly project, I'd like to leave it open much longer than that for anyone who wants to join in or continue to study.

Please share what you've done, give advice, give suggestions, post tons of pictures, let's make this thread a wonderful place to inspire, encourage, and reference!

Thanks, and I wish you all a very merry and blessed Christmas season. :heart:






I will have more photos to share; these are available in high-res if interested. I also have a *new camera* that I am oh-so-itching to try out with clouds, but after a summer of seemingly-non-stop rain, the clouds have been hiding a bit more lately. Here's hoping for some dramatic skies soon. :)

(I would not be too upset at seeing some pretty snowy clouds, too...pretty please someone. :D)

12-01-2013, 05:11 AM
There's a real risk that anyone posting something in a media other than oils will 'out' themselves. :lol:

Seriously, this is interesting to me, if I can figure out where to start maybe I'll get hooked on those babies.

This just in. I just spoke with my Creator and He said that before the dawn of time, He was the first one in the room. ;)

That last photo of the moon reminded me of a large telescope I saw at Hobby Lobby today. It was EXPENSIVE at $750+. Not joking here, but my fear of getting a telescope is that the first thing I'll do is peek into it and line it up with the sun. :confused:

12-01-2013, 09:27 AM
This is a project after my own heart as I am fairly obsessed with clouds. I constantly take pictures of them and stare at them.

Here are some cloud pics from a picture folder I opened at random:






Here are some clouds I painted from life back in 2010.


And here are some clouds I painted out of my head for someone's birthday... ;) (you know who you are :D) I got to use my iridescent white, gold, and copper paints in this.


These two pics are especially for Carey:



I want to get better at painting clouds so I'm very excited about this thread.

Let's all make sure to keep our heads in the clouds this month!

12-01-2013, 12:16 PM
I'm in! We have such a wide open terrain here where I live, and right on the water, so the cloud formations are fascinating and very varied.

I'm also very much onboard with keeping this going far beyond a month... :D Another slow painter here.

Here's a few contributions (I have folder upon folder of more...):



12-01-2013, 02:04 PM
Wow, Carey, and those of you who've contributed, these are stunning! I may post some of my own clouds photos later, but the subtleties in these are so appealing (and hard to paint!). I think I'll take a few favorites and, to check the values, make a copy of them in grayscale. Clouds are so subtle, and really, brushes aren't. I have some soft ones to help gradate areas, but I need to find some smooth-surfaced canvas on panel, or gessobord in order to do this project.

Does anyone not love clouds?

lovin art
12-01-2013, 06:09 PM
Hi all .... Lovely clouds ...great thread Carey ...they are all great threads that everyone has been doing ....

I've got some great refs I could add from Denver if you like ...I'll have to look them up ...all very beautiful photos guys !!

12-01-2013, 07:05 PM
I went cloud hunting at the Met today with Becca. We found some astonishing clouds!

All of these pics are oil paintings. I didn't get pics of all the wonderful clouds I saw, and I can't post all the pictures I have of wonderful cloud paintings but here are a few:

16th century Dutch





Van Gogh



Fitz Henry Lane



12-01-2013, 07:06 PM
If anyone prefers clouds more simple -- these are real clouds :)


12-01-2013, 07:09 PM
Martin Johnson Heade


John Kensett


George Inness


Carl Gustav Carut


Thomas Fearnley


Simon Denis


Charles Remond


12-01-2013, 07:23 PM
well done, Jessica..you are quick..

Carey, so nice to see you back here.. :)

12-01-2013, 09:35 PM
Here are some cloud pix I took over the past couple of years:


It took twenty minutes to upload that one. Once I can figure out why my computer is giving me hell on uploading photos and videos, and get it stopped, I'll do more...

I even have trouble seeing your uploads!

12-02-2013, 02:17 PM
Great subject! I am a cloud-a-holic, lol, if there is such a thing. I'll play the cloud game. I am always taking pics of clouds, looking at clouds, floating in and among the clouds, watching their personality, wondering how the various clouds are painted...

Here is a cloud pic I took, can you see the wing?

Here are some paintings I did with wild clouds...





Check out thousands of cloud pics here!

12-02-2013, 02:22 PM
Dove- your paintings are gorgeous, and thank you for that link!!

12-02-2013, 03:03 PM
Great subject! I am a cloud-a-holic, lol, if there is such a thing. I'll play the cloud game. I am always taking pics of clouds, looking at clouds, floating in and among the clouds, watching their personality, wondering how the various clouds are painted...

Here is a cloud pic I took, can you see the wing?

Hi Dove,

Lovely paintings !

Yes, I see the wing in the photo ! :)


12-02-2013, 04:24 PM
I'll contribute one....


12-03-2013, 12:48 AM
One of my sky paintings. It sold the month I put it up in the gallery!:)


I have the little 4"x 4" sky painting below at the gallery, but I really like it so much that I'm kinda halfway hoping it won't sell!:lol:

12-03-2013, 01:22 AM
I sold this one a few months ago...


12-03-2013, 02:59 AM

Michael, I love that...

I have an extensive file of cloud pics....of course on my reg computer..:rolleyes:

12-03-2013, 06:37 AM
Michael. Gorgeous clouds. I'm betting that is pastels.

I just scrolled back up the thread! Some gorgeous paintings up there, every one!

12-03-2013, 03:13 PM
I'll toss in a few of my photos too.....

And this one is a layer cloud. It was just as flat as a board.

12-03-2013, 08:03 PM
Here's my impression of Carey's second reference pic...
oil wet in wet, 16 x 20 canvasboard

12-03-2013, 08:41 PM
howdy folks!

i've enjoyed watching this thread so far, who doesn't love clouds? :heart:

i took some pics a while ago outside my house, both in the evening

the painting was done en plein aire at a nearby lake on fathers day 2012 while my kids played in the water :D i had only been painting a couple months, but i liked the way this one came out

this month might be too busy to join the fun, but i'll try and in the meantime i'll be lurking :clear:

12-03-2013, 08:43 PM
These are not enhanced images, taken from my bedroom window at different sunsets.



12-04-2013, 11:41 AM
Ian those are amazing pics!

12-04-2013, 12:23 PM
Took this five minutes ago, unusual to see blue sky in England and no clouds -- Nevertheless, maybe it's a sign :lol:

12-04-2013, 12:37 PM
Took this five minutes ago, unusual to see blue sky in England and no clouds -- Nevertheless, maybe it's a sign :lol:

:eek: Chemtrails!!!!:clear:

:rolleyes: Or maybe water vapor from fuel efficient aeroplanes, your call.

12-04-2013, 04:30 PM
I'm painting some donkeys with clouds in the sky, wet on wet... but just laying down a base.


12-04-2013, 04:57 PM
Took this five minutes ago, unusual to see blue sky in England and no clouds -- Nevertheless, maybe it's a sign :lol:

It is a sign! The aliens are zeroing in on you and X marks the spot! :lol:

Good start on the jackasses. May I ask, why are they all laden?

12-04-2013, 05:18 PM
Thank you M... Aliens eh! Better get some snacks ready and become a welcoming host :)

They're not laden, they have saddle cloths below saddles which will be revealed when I paint the next layer. Right now I'm just putting colours and artefacts in place :)

12-05-2013, 12:49 AM

One of my photos.

12-05-2013, 06:00 AM
Beautiful sky Jaka, skies like this are so amazing.

Carey Griffel
12-10-2013, 12:41 AM
What amazing contributions so far, everyone. :heart: :heart:

Mackay, I am so excited to see someone paint that! The colors and flow you have in it are terrific! (You also got the color of my road *perfect*! :lol:)

I can't believe I have allowed over a week of December to go by so quickly. :eek:

Bonus points for including equines, ianuk and Jessica. :D

You all really *are* inspirational. :heart:


12-10-2013, 02:30 AM
Bonus points for including equines, ianuk

Well everyone knows that a good horse floats on air just as clouds do :) I have a love of thoroughbred bloodlines...

12-10-2013, 11:58 PM
Co-incidentally I have been doing little studies of clouds in oil. Here is my first session, a WIP on a happy liddle cloud (hurr hurr) with some crepuscular rays. I am trying to get over the fact that the blue is already muddy & focus on the fact that I can really compose the heck outta the rest of it.
Please C&C.

12-12-2013, 03:11 PM
Just thought I'd add this link to the thread, it seemed so timely!


Carey Griffel
12-14-2013, 04:58 PM
ianuk, how true! :D

M, that is really cool! One session so far, you say? Very nice! I love how you have filled the space. It is very dramatic!

Toril, thanks for that link!

I finally decided on one to work on (I told you I am slow!). I have done one blurry layer and am anxious to show it, but it is too darn dark to take a decent pic today, and my power is out, to boot. Hopefully I can get it up tomorrow, not that there is much to see as yet.


12-17-2013, 02:39 PM
Super thread, Carey, what a great idea and some fabulous cloud photos and paintings everyone!

Keith Mayberry
12-19-2013, 11:04 AM
I live in SW Colorado and we have some fantastic clouds, especially in the summer. The images were taken with a Nikon 510 or with my iPhone 4S when I did not have my Nikon with me. These photos were reduced to 20-25 percent of my originals. None of the images were manipulated other than downsizing to load to this site.

Keith in Colorado

Keith Mayberry
12-19-2013, 11:10 AM
More clouds
Keith in Colorado

Keith Mayberry
12-19-2013, 11:15 AM
Still more clouds
Keith in Colorado

Keith Mayberry
12-19-2013, 11:24 AM
Last ones The one with the deep blue heavens is a favorite taken with an iPhone. The colors lasted just a minute or so. I snapped a second photo further down the road but the deep blue was gone (second image) My wife says the blue heavens makes her think of her father who passed away years ago. She says he is smiling at her. I must paint that one.

Keith in Colorado

12-29-2013, 07:27 AM
Here is one I did about a year ago... tried to blend sky and earth. Not the best photo.


12-29-2013, 10:03 AM
Here's one I painted earlier this year too. Painted from imagination.


12-30-2013, 08:12 AM
Sno... that is REALLY nice.

12-30-2013, 10:45 AM
Thanks Dennis. I actually posted the wrong photo. The finished one can be seen by scrolling down on this (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=942144&highlight=skyscape) thread. It has some subtle changes.