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Still-trying
08-18-2014, 02:56 PM
My recent painting, Bottle Green, over in the gallery was from a reference by Camper-man in our library. There is a lovely blue sky in this sunset, above the evening clouds. I just couldn't find the blues I wanted to make the mid sky. Making the top toward purple, no problem. I was trying to avoid the Ludwig blues because of having trouble photographing them
Anyway, I would appreciate input from other artists. What are your favorite blue sky colors please. I know this is a personal choice and depends on the season and the light but in general, please. Thank you. Jay

Blayne
08-18-2014, 07:25 PM
I haven't done enough paintings of landscapes, nor do I have a wide selection of pastels, to really have a systematic theory to offer. Your question spurred me to try to get the look of the intense blue skies we get here in the Midwest. The best I could achieve was done with an intense ultramarine by TL overlaid with a light layer of a transparent, medium tone turquoise by Sennelier. Most of the blues in my collection produce an opaque sky, not a clear blue sky, so I will be happy to hear some suggestions posted here. Another artist in my acquaintance likes the Mt. Vision blues, #81 through #84, and I would even go more intense with the MV #80, but have only seen these colors online, not IRL.

robertsloan2
08-19-2014, 10:18 AM
I think my favorite currently is the Unison ultramarine color in its tints, going to a warmer light blue at the horizon (greener). I do switch around a lot though because I'm always paying attention to latitude, season and what I feel like at the time. I like to go violet cast cool blues at the zenith toward turquoise at the horizon.

I switch around different blues a lot. I can see how Ultramarine overlaid with Turquoise would be spectacular, but I think the different brands doing Ultramarine all have pretty much the same hue. Not sure but Mount Vision might do a sequence of ultramarine-to-turquoise full strength blues that'd give hue and value both with the same intensity.

I'll often start giving the lighter horizon different tints over the Ultramarine tints rather than keep it monochrome, occasionally pinks rather than turquoise. I'm trying to loosen up about skies not always doing clear blue sky because I always wind up seeing paintings by other artists where the whole sky is pink or something and it looks so beautiful.

TL Cobalt might be a good transition between Ultramarine and Turquoise if you're looking for the middle of the sky to have a blue that hasn't got a strong lean either purple or green. I was really tempted to get both of those small sets. Or skip half the values and put together ten with both blues in the same space.

Still-trying
08-19-2014, 04:54 PM
Thanks Blayne and Robert. I think it's interesting to see what people use. I shop online and I'll pick a color that I think might be useful for sky. Mostly I'm buying too gray or too purple. I like one schmincke that I have. Still shopping

jackiesimmonds
08-20-2014, 04:18 AM
Just a word of warning re painting skies. Blue sky is in fact fly-through-able. It is infinity. If you paint it with any kind of flat single-colour blue, you run the risk of ending up with a sky which looks like a painted backdrop. Birds flying up there would bash their heads on it.

Somehow you need to make the sky look luminous. this may be better achieved with "broken colour" and/or very subtle gradations of various colours, rather than one colour. When shopping, buy a set of blues, in different tones, not just one,( if you can afford it) . The more shades you own, the better. If you are constantly buying too grey, or too purple, then make marks on a piece of paper and carry that with you, then avoid re-purchasing similar colours.

Have a close look at the blue skies techniques in the paintings of really good painters.

Still-trying
08-20-2014, 12:44 PM
Thanks Jackie. I would love to bring the colors to the store but I'm mostly shopping online. Thanks for the chuckle about the poor birds..can't have that!! Have you found that some brands of pastel are more transparent than others?

allydoodle
08-20-2014, 01:02 PM
Thanks Jackie. I would love to bring the colors to the store but I'm mostly shopping online. Thanks for the chuckle about the poor birds..can't have that!! Have you found that some brands of pastel are more transparent than others?

Pastels by their nature, are not transparent. It is in the application of them that gives the appearance of transparency. Broken color is the key, as Jackie mentioned. Have different values of blue, greenish blue, violet blue, as well as reddish violet, in your palette.

Also, consider painting skies that aren't blue..... they make beautiful paintings, very moody. I've seen skies painted green, gorgeous. Also pink, yellow, lots of options, not just blue....

Colorix
08-20-2014, 04:46 PM
and layer pinks, peaches, near white yellows, greens etc on and between the blues.

Look at the sky for a while, and notice that you do see flecks of subtle colours in it. As the ladies say, trying to recreate that sensation with broken colour is the way to go. It is the proportions of all the colours that make up a sky as it looks at that moment, that day, season, and latitude.

Still-trying
08-20-2014, 06:21 PM
Thank you both Chris and Charlie. Very nice of you all to respond. Good advice. Now to put this into action!!

jackiesimmonds
08-22-2014, 04:28 AM
You may need to practice different ways of applying all sorts of blues, and other colours, to achieve lovely luminous skies. It may help, strangely, to UNDERSTAND what you are looking at. These are the words of John Ruskin, a painter of old, who uses rather old-fashioned language, but if you just bear with it, his words are enlightening.

"The open blue of the sky: pure atmospheric air, the pure azote and oxygen, it is the total colour of the whole mass of air between us and the void of space. It is modified by the varying quantity of aqueous vapour suspended in it, whose colour is often white, as in steam, and receives, like any other white, the warm hues of the rays of the sun, sometimes making the sky seem paler and at the same time more, or less, grey, by mixing warm tones with its blue. This grey aqueous vapour, sometimes becomes mist, and when local, cloud. Therefore the sky needs to be considered as a transparent blue liquid, in which, at various elevations, clouds are suspended, those clouds being themselves only particular visible spaces of a substance with which the whole mass of this liquid is more or less impregnated (old fashioned speak for clouds are just parts of sky!). The old masters often considered the blue sky as distinct and separated from the vapours which float in it, for them, cloud is cloud and blue is blue. As a result, you always look AT their skies, rather than THROUGH them. If you look intensely at the pure blue of a serene sky, you will see that there is a variety and fullness within it. It is not a dead colour, but a deep, quivering, transparent body of penetrable air, in which you can trace or imagine short, falling spots of decieving light, and dim shades, faint veiled vestiges of dark vapour. Turner's blue is never laid on in smooth coats but in breaking, mingling melting hues. It is a painting of the air"

I have highlighted one phrase, which I try always to consider when painting blue sky.

Colorix
08-22-2014, 06:06 AM
Almost poetic! Lovely to see that they did indeed consider the science of the time.

I was up in the air in a plane the other day, and studied the clouds. From the ground, we see clouds as pretty hard edged, but up close and through them, it becomes clear that they normally do not have sharp delineations. It is simply a part of the air which can hold more moisture, and the edges are much wider than we think, and much blurrier. A less poetic way of saying "... with which the whole mass of this liquid is more or less impregnated".

Still-trying
08-22-2014, 03:59 PM
All I can say is, Wow. Those are beautiful lessons. Thank you both so much, Jackie and Charlie.
To paint "a deep, quivering, transparent body of penetrable air". "Breaking, mingling, melting." Oh my, that's all I want!

"Part of the air which can hold more moisture". Beautiful illusion.

Thank you both.

Blayne
08-22-2014, 10:24 PM
I love your quote with its scientific yet poetic description of the sky and cloud, Jackie, and your description and perceptions, Charlie, of what you observed during your recent flight. Both were very informative!

jackiesimmonds
08-23-2014, 03:50 AM
No need to thank me. We need to thank John Ruskin. and Charlie! So true about clouds having wispy edges, rather than hard ones. He talks about that in his book, and I have quoted him in two posts on my blog, they are called something like "truth of clouds" and there is a blog list if you scroll down.

Jackie

jakertanner
08-23-2014, 09:27 AM
My recent painting, Bottle Green, over in the gallery was from a reference by Camper-man in our library. There is a lovely blue sky in this sunset, above the evening clouds. I just couldn't find the blues I wanted to make the mid sky. Making the top toward purple, no problem. I was trying to avoid the Ludwig blues because of having trouble photographing them
Anyway, I would appreciate input from other artists. What are your favorite blue sky colors please. I know this is a personal choice and depends on the season and the light but in general, please. Thank you. Jay


Hi Jay, I am new to pastels, but my experience with painting and color is more advanced (I think..lol), anyway, the sky is usually not separate colors, but one color with different gradations. If you started with a base blue that is the "overall" color of the sky, then depending on your paper for blending, you can either lighten or darken that color. This may or may not help, but has helped me quite a bit in the past.

BTW, I did not know that certain brand of pastels do not photograph well...is this common?

Colorix
08-23-2014, 11:13 AM
yes, a sky gradates in hue, chroma, and value from zenith to the horizon -- and also from left to right or vice versa. Good catch, Jake, as we didn't mention it before.

Yes, photo problems are very common. Many posts in Studio/Gallery read "the colours are not this XYZ in reality, think of the blue as deeper and the violet is not as bright, but the yellow has almost disappeared"... :-D

Either a mix of brands cause trouble with one brand. Or, different pigments (colours) of the same brand reflect light and colour differently. And then we have cameras... mine makes red more intense, and blue becomes paler and less saturated.

jakertanner
08-23-2014, 01:11 PM
Thanks Charlie...I have e been stydyingthe sky for a long time, more so since I got into pastels.

Jay, have you tried using a color isolation guide? Same as you would use on grass in spots to check shades and tints, you can use it against the sky. You'd be surprised just how much the blue varries across as Charlie mentioned as well as up and down.

Still-trying
08-23-2014, 01:52 PM
Jackie: Thank you. Another book recommendation from you. Thank you. I really enjoyed the Dunstan and the Albert. I hope I got the names right.

Jake, Thanks for your input. I'm collecting skies so I'll try any and all to get them right.
Regarding photographing pastels, theres is a thread started about the problems of cameras. Personally my camera, Cannon, seems to accentuate the Terry Ludwig blues.

This is the painting I was having trouble with. I wanted the MID skies to be blue behind the clouds and just couldn't find the right blue. Almost... Framed and forgot to sign! This is 11 x 14 on La Carte. Mostly Unison, Sennelier and some Terry Ludwigs. The photo is from the Ref Lib by Camper-man.

Blayne
08-23-2014, 07:10 PM
Jay, that looks so super in the double mat and frame! I think you chose perfect colors for each.

Still-trying
08-23-2014, 07:33 PM
Charlie, Thanks for stopping back. Simple skies, eh? Wow...so much goes into them.
Jake: I haven't tried to isolate the color. Because I was searching for a color used in the reference, that would have been really helpful. Every blue I chose was too blue gray and I felt like I was getting a dingy sky. Thank you
Blayne: Thank you! Thanks for stopping by.

jakertanner
08-23-2014, 11:24 PM
Jay, as was brought to my attention plenty. we are not creating a photo, but an interpretation of it, I woulda just created the sky based on the colors you have to make it close.

Very nice painting, really like it. If I may make a suggestion...darken the upper sky, then the mid is already in place.

robertsloan2
08-23-2014, 11:50 PM
That is so beautiful. I love that painting and seeing it framed, it's even better. Wonderful choice of mat and frame. The sky came out well but if it bothers you in person I can see why that would become so frustrating. It's very common to just approximate with the blues you have.

Still-trying
08-24-2014, 07:48 AM
This is the reference photo by Camper-man that I used to paint the Bottle Green painting in the earlier post.

JPQ
08-24-2014, 01:26 PM
And then we have cameras... mine makes red more intense, and blue becomes paler and less saturated.

I bet you use Canon they boost often red. Nikons like my camera boots i think Yellow Green. And Zeiss Lens boost Blue Green often if i remember correctly. One reason why i use Nikon DSLR cameras is this i simply dislike Canon way work. Fall looks awful to my taste with Canon cameras only subject which works with red boost better maybe is Human but nature not. i bet if we use camera which shoots RAW (in Nikons i talk NEF files,and Canon CRW i think) we can avoid camera based boosts at least some level. What lens boots we cannot remove but stuff what is based camera software i bet we can remove. I even know one people shot he used Canon when i looked picture colors.

mudfish
08-25-2014, 10:07 AM
After seeing the reference, it seems that the light in your painting may need adjusting, which will alter the perception of the blue. Beautiful piece!

Still-trying
08-25-2014, 12:57 PM
Thanks JPQ for the camera explanation. So much to learn

Mudfish, thank you. I sent you a pm with a question. I appreciate the input