View Full Version : Oil Pastel Classroom August 2004-Learning to Paint Clouds with Oil Pastels

07-30-2004, 10:02 AM
This month there's been a request for techniques on cloud painting. I am fairly new to doing landscapes myself so I did a little research and then tried a couple demos.
Here are some general tips on painting clouds that I found on about.com which should help.

1. Clouds aren't pure white, they reflect the color of the sky. This is clearest at sunrise and sunset, when clouds turn shades of yellow, red, and pink. They also have pieces of shadow in them.

2. Similarly, skies aren't simply blue. They're build up of various tones of blue. Experiment by adding colors such as ochre and crimson to your blues.

3. Don't try to paint every detail in clouds. Simplify the surface details, concentrating on pattern.

4. Learn to identify the different types of cloud as each has its own characteristics. Don't simply paint generic clouds. For example, cumulus (thunderstorm) clouds have some hard edges to them.

5. Take photos of different types of clouds at different times of day to create a reference portfolio. Label each clearly.

6. Remember that the rules of perspective apply to clouds. As they recede towards the horizon, their colors become paler and their shapes less distinct.

Here also is a reference to Craig Houghton’s cloud project from awhile back with more info on cloud types.


I’ve also found two reference pics from the library for our cloud studies. What I’d like us to do is several cloud studies using these, our own pics or actual sky clouds and post our various tries. They don’t have to be completely developed paintings, this is just to familiarize ourselves with the various ways that clouds are formed and how to paint them in oil pastels. I’ve taken a large sheet of watercolor paper and cut it into four smaller pieces. I used ½ a sheet for this first demo.

This is from a ref pic donated by leojacko from the WetCanvas reference library.


First I taped down my sheet of watercolor paper and wet it with a foam sponge. I then squeezed a bit of primary blue gouache at the top and spread it downwards which thinned it towards the bottom.


Then I took a short white piece of Caran d’Ache neopastel and laid in the basic cloud positions with the side.


I then took a pinkish red violet and lightly added some, still using the side, to the shadow areas I saw in the reference.
Then I added some pale bluish purple to the bottom of the rosy areas. I didn’t try to exactly copy the clouds, but get the general idea.


I then added some blue oil pastel to the upper third of the sky and rubbed it out around the clouds with a paper towel. This didn’t come out as cleanly applied as I’d like, but would work well with some turps to smooth it out.


I then took the white and made a lot of little circular strokes at the tops of the clouds, and then went back in to soften the shadow areas with a little finger rubbing. The oil pastel application took all of a ½ hour. On a serious painting I could spend a bit more time to get everything just right. I tried to put less detail in the further clouds and to leave them a bit softer. I think with the lighter sky effect at the bottom that it gives the illusion of distance. (I apologize for the picture quality…I did this at night and had to take the photos as I worked, took the last in daylight.) Usually I really blend out clouds to get a soft effect but I kind of like leaving the white unblended as it actually seems more like sunlit areas. I also usually choose a smoother surface when I want soft clouds, texture can make a big difference.

Here’s another cloud piece I did, hoping to do better. On this one from pford (thanks, Paula!) I also started with a toned background…this is an aerial view so I wanted to get that perspective first.


A fuzzy shot but everything was grayed out to give the distance. Even though most of this would be covered I wanted to try and get the feel I was going for in my head.


I forgot to take progress pics as I went but with this one I laid in shadow areas first using a light indigo blue and some pale purple. Then I went in and did the bright white areas and then lightly ran the white over the shadow areas to fluff them. I used the tortillon to shape the cloud’s shading, leaving dark at the bottom and pushing up to soften it out. I had to add some darks to some areas, because like anything else, if you want the highlights to pop you have to increase the dark contrast. I also saw how each little area in the cloud was like dee-artist’s analogy…a box. The light hit each poofy area bright on top and right, darkish to the left and very dark on the bottom. I know I have a long ways to go on getting perfect clouds, but feeling like each attempt is bringing me closer. I did this on watercolor, again a poor choice…something smoother for blending would be better surface choice. The thing I learned on this one is you need contrast for dramatic clouds. Darker darks make the bright sunlight areas work. Ok…let’s see what you learn!

Because I think learning something takes several practice pieces I’m encouraging you to at least do two if not more. I learned a lot more from my second attempt than my first.
Here are the reference pics and of course, you may do your own from photos or real life. I passed on the real life…100 degrees out there!!! Have fun and post progress or complete, however you are most comfortable with. If you have a different way of approaching clouds please share…it all helps.

If clouds intimidate you, then take a mid-tone scrap piece of paper and play with doing individual clouds. By using a mid-tone you’ll be able to see the darks you lay down first and the bright lit areas will pop more. Just pick one cloud at a time and try to see how the light hits it and how best to reproduce the effect. And post that here.

These are in the WC reference library under clouds.


thanks to leojacko (my first attempt)


thanks to pford for this one (my second attempt)

Pat Isaac
07-30-2004, 04:47 PM
Wow, this is going to be such a challenge! It will be good for me to try this as I really don't like doing landscapes, but who knows? maybe someday I'll want to. It is always good to learn new things.
Delivered my work to the show today and I am the only one not exhibiting landscapes. What does that say????LOL. I do what I like and what moves me.
Back soon.


Deborah Secor
07-30-2004, 05:35 PM
Sue, this looks great! I'm sure this will be a very interesting set of experiments for everyone...

May I add a few quick thoughts to your thread? I've painted a lotta clouds in my day, albeit in soft pastels. Still, generally these rules apply.

Clouds are among the lightest values in the painting, but at the horizon they become slightly dull and rosy (or yellowish, depending on pollution), and very similar in value to the sky. (Because of the bowl effect, the sky is palest at the horizon and darkest at the zenith.) So don't let the clouds become too white or the sky too dark along the horizon!

Even the dark bases of the clouds are among the lightest values in the picture. If you don't want 'lead balloons' be sure to keep these values lighter than the ground plane. I think it's easier to 'read' the sky and it's values properly if you include a snick of land, which will show the range of darker values to which you can compare clouds and sky.

Clouds can be said to be warm on top, because of the yellow color of the sun, and cool on the bottom, because of the color of the sky reflected back into the shadows. This doesn't mean simply use yellow and blue--think warm and cool! Try using many diferent colors in the light and medium-light end of your palette to make lively and interesting clouds. Reserve the white for highlights (though I don't know how you will approach this procedurally in OPs...)

Hope these thoughts help a little. Have a ball--I'll be peeking in to see where this takes all of you!


07-30-2004, 06:14 PM
Pat, so glad you'll play along with us. It does seem that landscapes are pretty popular with the public, I have a few poor ones on my art-agent site that I did in WDE's and they garner more hits than almost everything else. I want to learn as much as I can...I have already used cloud effects in non-landscape work, so it can't hurt!
Deborah, I, we all totally appreciate you throwing some of your technical expertise our way! Those tips really help, in fact I often think about cloud values due to some help you gave me on a skyscape once. Please feel free at ANY time to jump in here with any helpful advice. OP and softies may have some difference in technique but there are many more elements to painting than that and I am sorely lacking in some areas, so it's good to have someone who knows what they're talking about join in. Thanks!

07-30-2004, 07:16 PM
As I drive to work each morning I am awestruck by the play of light and colour on the clouds that I see. They change as the seasons change but my phobia of trying to capture what I see each day on paper never does.

While I am shaking with trepidation at this class, I am also looking forward to giving it a go and, hopefully overcoming my fears. I am planning to take my time and sort of sneak up on it :p

Thanks for the inspiration and instruction, Sue.

07-30-2004, 07:35 PM
Robyn, I know what you mean, about both the awesomeness of the clouds and the phobia part. Like landscape we see so much more than we can ever paint, so it makes sense to start with baby steps. I've been doing a lot of cloud studying lately, although it's much too hot to try and capture them plein aire. But I've been noting where the sun is, what parts is it striking...how deep are the shadow areas and where? I've been watching the colors of the sky too. So, just start with one little cloud. If it takes a few tries, so what? Then when you have one, try two together. Eventually you'll be able to do a whole sky full!
Be aware that painted clouds are harder to photograph that to actually paint...not one of my images looks like it does in RL. I am going to try and use less white on my next attempt...I think it throws it off. Maybe someone will have hints on photographing our cloud paintings...or stumble on it accidently? :p

07-31-2004, 01:03 AM
I have always been a hard core sky watcher. I love to look at clouds and sunsets. A couple weeks ago I took this picture after watching a rainbow form and taking pictures of it as it did, then turned around and this is what I saw. Feel free to use this as a reference if you want.

Kathryn Wilson
07-31-2004, 08:34 AM
I am anxious to get my mitts around this one. I participated in Craig's cloud project in soft pastels - it will be interesting to see how the OP's handle this.


07-31-2004, 11:51 AM
Hey, Sherry...what a gorgeous pic! I love how the clouds are in a pattern that makes the earth really seem round and the sky an upside down bowl. I hope you're going to join in and try painting some. I've always found it hard to decide how to paint the black trees from a scene like this. The funny thing is that even in RL..when you look at the sky this time of day the trees look black...but yet when you drop your eyes to the trees then you see the colors. I have a friend that painted a sky pic I had taken at dusk in New Mexico...the way she tackled it was to use a scumbled black over a scumbled reddish color that matched the color in the clouds...it worked so perfectly...didn't look like a black shadow cut out like when we did silhouettes on a wall as school projects, but looked like barely discernable bushes glowing with the fading light.
Kat, so glad you're joining in! You have a slight abstractness to your work that usually calls for a different approach and so I'm excited to see what you do. :)

07-31-2004, 02:10 PM
I am taking notes!!! This is a great project. I have never done a cloud before (one that wasn't cartoonish)- they seem kind of scary - but as you have said they have the same rules as anything else. Thank you for providing such good information.

07-31-2004, 02:57 PM
Hey, Darcy...just saw your post on the old class. Yeah...our minds sure do get in the way of reason sometimes...how ironic! :p I'm overwhelmed by landscapes but a friend pointed out to me that by learning one thing at a time, clouds this month, trees :eek: next month, it'll become just like my other stuff...lots of little paintings on one big canvas. So glad you'll be joining in!

07-31-2004, 03:12 PM
Well I think this is about as far as I am going to go with this one. I learned with this that I am way too heavy handed with op's.

07-31-2004, 04:16 PM
Sherry, are these your first ever OP clouds? I think it was Kitty Wallis who said something in a thread once that really stuck with me...can't remember the exact quote but it was something about a teacher telling her to quit trying to paint the whole state of Montana in one painting. The gist of it that I got was...don't try to paint everything on one little piece of paper, don't try to run before you can walk. Why don't you try picking out just ONE of those clouds and doing it? I was totally overwhelmed when I tried to do my first demo here...and don't think it was very successful either...I lost the feel of the sky as a whole.
You won't stay heavy handed with the OPs...or maybe you WILL but find out how to make it work! Look at all the things that you did do right in this piece. You lightened the sky as it receded into the distance. You placed the light at the bottom of the clouds correctly due to the position and angle of the sun. Your placement of the clouds was good and they recede into the distance. You even have great tree silhouettes started...not lollipop shaped or triangular plastic Christmas trees lol!
I don't know if you are trying to acheive the effect without blending. But if you don't mind blending you can still lighten the areas that bother you. I think you have marvelous color choices in those clouds. This was off to a great start and would really look great finished but I think you got bogged down in frustration. You might want to come back to this at a later date and either fix it or try it by starting over. But first just do some individual clouds...one, then two, then three or four together. Try to get the rhythm of them and then I think you'll also find that you have changed how you are applying the OPs. You'll get the 'feel' of them for this particular use. Also try some different papers...what kind did you use?
All this is just suggestion, it's not like I have it down pat and am giving you a formula that will work every time. Someone may have one, but I've yet to find it. Sometimes my frustration stands in the way of my work...I avoid things that don't go easily. I may never paint great clouds, but I'm not afraid of them now....and one day I'll see something I want to paint really bad that has clouds in it and who knows...maybe they'll be absolutely fantastic.
Here's the one I've been fighting with and the funny thing is...it's not the clouds that are so hard...it's getting that rainbow type effect. I took the picture, it's of something called a circumarc effect. You're welcome to try it, or anyone else. I made a couple tries at it before I did the demos and am going to give it another go before the month is out.
Anyways, you may not even want to paint any more clouds, but I hope you do...I saw a very promising start here, just a little patience and practice and you might surprise yourself. :) Thanks for joining in!

07-31-2004, 04:56 PM
Thanks for the advice but this one is destined for the circular file. I learned from it already but am not wanting to save it. I began with bad groundwork and next time will know better.

I have been painting for many yrs with oil paint. Probably about 35 actually, off and on between raising a family and the other things in life that seem to get in the way. With oil paint I can paint some pretty fair clouds but these ops don't react the same way as oil paint on a brush does. Just need to learn the tricks and techniques I guess.

This is what I was taking a picture of before I shot the one I posted above. I watched this grow across the sky from just a tiny bit at each end to a full rainbow.

07-31-2004, 05:10 PM
Ooooh, way cool....do you see the hippo face in the clouds??? The whole left side looks like a giant hippo face to me lol!
Ah, then you have cloud experience. You can always pull out the turps and paint with the OPs like you did with the oils, but I guess then why not just paint with the oils. But it is one way of doing that part of a painting. On the right kind of paper you can also rub clouds in with OPs. I did a swirly cloud effect as a background that way...it was Bristol smooth...the trick on that was to lay white down thickly on the whole background and then form the clouds with color over that. I think I'd approach it differently now...lay down the colors and add the white. But with OPs a lower layer of white allows you to control color saturation.
Ah, well I apologise if I was postulating like you were a complete beginner, it takes awhile to get to know people online. Am hoping then that some of your experience will be helpful to the rest of us, it's not just about OP technique. I really do believe it just takes time to learn OP properties...I keep finding that they're capable of much more than I ever was led to believe!
So are you going to try some different clouds? :angel: :evil: :p

07-31-2004, 10:25 PM
No problem Sue. It takes a while to get to know everyone in these groups and with my memory, or, I should say lack of it, it takes three times as long to remember who is who.

One of my fav things to do is find images in clouds. I have to say though this time I don't see your hippo.

You can't tell by the picture but my painting above is already slick with op. It is way overdone. hee hee. That's why I am not going to bother with it any more. I think the idea of laying down the white first might have been a good one and I also like the idea of the watercolor undercoat for this. Yeah, I will do more clouds.....eventually. :D

Oh, I don't know how much help I am to anyone. Usually, even after all these years I don't really know why I do what I do when I paint. It's just that sometimes, it works. Its a process that for me I do with a pretty much blank mind.

07-31-2004, 10:44 PM
lol...well it doesn't look much like a hippo when you use a mouse to draw it out lol....but at least you can see where I see it...


lol...painting with a blank mind sounds like lots of fun to me! :p

08-01-2004, 02:38 AM
Okay, I see it now. I think I would have gone with the head of a boxer or pit bull though. :D

08-02-2004, 08:21 PM
Sue you are just amazing, you have really put your heart and soul into these monthly projects. So much of your time, effort and research has gone into this, I sincerely hope everyone appreciates what you are doing here and takes part.

I've not tackled many cloud paintings but will have a go.

Must say here your paintings of clouds are superb, my fav is the arial perspective view, that is awesome.


p.s. why isn't this stickied?

08-02-2004, 08:28 PM
So glad you'll be joining in, Mo! I can't wait to see what innovative way you approach it..never know if it'll be with or without turps, on velour or art spectrum...blended or unblended...it's always fun waiting to see. Glad you drop in now and then...was just reading your excellent advice for portrait painting and it's so nice to have experienced OPer's helping the newbies :clap: You have all month...so no pressure on this one!

Carly's been on vacation...am sure she'll sticky when she gets back :)

08-02-2004, 10:20 PM
I've got about an hour or so in on one - I'll take a picture and post it in the morning. It's nowhere near finished, but I don't think I'll have any time to paint this week - relatives are coming and my house is quite a disaster. We do appreciate you Sue, we do, we do!!!!

08-02-2004, 10:25 PM
cool, Becky...can't wait to see! And you have a whole month to finish up too. Hope it's fun company and am SURE they're coming to see you and not your house :D And if it's not quite as spruced up as you want, just position your artwork so that's the first thing they'll see...the rest won't matter then ;)

thanks for the pat on the back..made me grin :D

08-03-2004, 09:35 AM
This still needs lots of work - it's from a photo by TSache in the RIL. It was such a beautiful photo, I couldn't resist. The clouds have layers sort of textured like cauliflower, but I haven't gotten to that yet. I did try playing with my pallette knife, like I would do with oil paints gazillions of years ago, but I'm going to have to try something else. I also noticed that I need to narrow the cloud formation, as it's taking up too much of the space. My son, his wife and new baby are visiting next week - I'm always glad to see them, but even gladder when they're gone! :evil: A side effect of the oil pastels are these interesting little blobs of color all over my carpet in the dining room. I just noticed those a couple of days ago. :rolleyes: My poor son, he'll never have a normal mother!

So far I've spent an hour or so on this, it's almost 10x14 white Canson (rough side) with Sennelier OPs - I've mostly used the LeGrande (sp???), so far. C &C welcome.

Alachua Artist
08-03-2004, 09:52 AM
The paintings and photos are simply AMAZING to me. I haven't been painting in a while - my studio is trashed from home remodeling - but you guys are inspiring me so to the point where I may just HAVE to find my pastels to do a cloud painting.

The process you explain in so helpful. The colors, textures and movement are fascinating. I especially like the prism effect - I have seen that often in the afternoon skies. Thank you for continuing to motivate and stimulate me.

By the way, is this a project? I've gotten so caught up in reading this thread that I have lost venue.

08-03-2004, 01:26 PM
Wendy...it's a monthly classroom/study just for OPs, but if you do a cloud in softies...you could post it as a study for a future OP :D I'm glad it's stimulating you to get going again!

ooooooh, Becky!!! These could be clouds or even water at this point...if you got that cool effect with a pallette knife, then girl, keep using it! I love the play of violet and cobalts...mmmm, mmmm!
Yes, bits in carpet...my plan is to someday have a multi-colored oil rug....my feet will never dry out again...I can find animal faces in it and my husband and dog will never lose me....they'll just have to follow the rainbow trail I left :p :rolleyes: :D

08-04-2004, 02:21 AM
Becky it's looking good! I didn't know you could use a palette knife with OPs. Hmm, something else to try...

Well I got my samples and wanted to do something but didn't really have incentive to start anything new today so I worked on this a bit more. For some reason it looks so much different here than in rl but....here it is anyway.

ugh...I just took a look at it....really nothing like what it looks like here

08-04-2004, 09:53 AM
Sherry, I know what you mean...my clouds either photographed to light or too dark, was hoping someone would give us tips on getting good shots of them. This makes me think of Alaska...the spruce trees silhouette just like that! Real nice sky holes there! Do you feel like you're getting a handle on how the clouds work? I'm taking it that the OPs must have hardened up a bit...was it hard to get the next layers on?

08-04-2004, 01:01 PM
Sue it's not that they are too light or dark but...well I don't even know how to explain it, choppy looking I guess and they don't look like that in person. Well, I know how the clouds should be but getting them there in OPs is quite another thing. Now it seems like photographing them is another yet. I did take the picture outside in daylight.

Yes, there is lots of medium on the paper and it got to the point where only the hol and sen sample I got would work on it. I guess there is no medium that cannot be over done and I seem to be the queen of overdoing.

Boy those Senneliers are sure soft. Like butter. I love them but think that they would work best for topping off a painting done with a firmer brand. Then again, now that I think on it, perhaps they are what I need to do a good pastel being an oil painter first. And those grands.....huge!!

08-04-2004, 01:09 PM
I don't like taking pics outside...I paint by northern light but even in the shade out of direct glare somehow the colors are distorted...made too light and not true. If I open the door though, and get good light I usually get the best results. Not on clouds though...lol!
I fight with the Senneliers...think they're great for broad swipes of pigment but rarely use them...I can get more delicate results with the Holbeins. Paper makes a big dif on how much you can layer on...i rarely have a problem with art spectrum except in the summer. They get so soft in the heat that they'll pick up a lower layer. In the winter I can put a dozen or more layers on :D The only way i've ever used Senneliers and like the results was to dab a brush on them and paint and that defeats the purpose of using a stick. And takes waaaaaay too long.

Pat Isaac
08-04-2004, 05:02 PM
Okay everyone, here is my first attempt at clouds and I have to admit that I had fun doing it. Sue, thank you for all your effort in these threads.
I am not sure that I will do landscapes because of this, but it is good to always be learning and the practise is great. I have another photo that I will try later.

I used sennelier and Holbein OPs on Art Spectrum light blue paper. The photo was from an artist friend of mine who does nothing but landscapes in soft pastel and takes thousands of photos of clouds.


08-04-2004, 05:18 PM
sniff, sniff...is that rain I feel coming in those clouds??? It just tickles me that you had fun! I think you got the color and form really nice...only one complaint...it's too small to really see the details! Did you find them easy or hard...did you do shadows first or the white? Anyways, they're great clouds and I really like the fogginess around them too... :clap:
(I don't know if I'll do landscapes either...but you never know!)

Pat Isaac
08-04-2004, 06:29 PM
Thanks Sue. I really get distressed with digital cameras. I went to take pictures at my studio and the camera wouldn't work!!! :mad: I hadn't noticed that the batteries were low, but that was the problem. I had to photo it at home which isn't the best light, but that's it. Actually, the paper was light blue, so I kind of went over the area with some lighter blue and then roughed in the clouds with white, where they were white. Then I addes the warm greys and then more white and then more sky color. I don't know if this explains it, but i didn't do WIP photos. Good thing as my camera was dead!!! I did this in about an hour as I was totally frustrated with a portarait comission I was working on. I thought I might do a thread on it as I have been taking progress pictures. I hope to get another cloud pic up soon.

Pat :D

08-04-2004, 06:36 PM
makes perfect sense. Love my digi but it is awful when the battery goes. I always keep an extra (charged up) pair in the case. You should post the portrait...extra eyes help after you've been staring at something for awhile...commission work is harder IMO...it's not always the pose or lighting you would have chosen so it can get frustrating. Plus I know I love seeing other artist's approach to their work.
Hope you get more clouds done too...a nice way to spend an hour!

Kathryn Wilson
08-04-2004, 07:24 PM
Here's mine! Art Spectrum light blue - 11 x 13. Mostly Holbeins and Senneliers on this one. Lots of strange looking clouds in this one - I am happy with the bottom half, but the top half is frustrating me.

I started out putting white wherever I wanted light clouds, including yellow and orange clouds - thinking I'd beat the game against the poorly performing yellows I have. Blocked in all the basic colors by putting a light layer, then starting at the top working my way down the paper.

c&C welcome


08-04-2004, 07:34 PM
oh, way cool, Kat...knew you'd have a different approach! Are those beach umbrellas I see??? What's frustrating you about the top..the big stretched out one? Comes a time in every piece when you have to lose the ref and go with your gut on how to make it fit right...may be the case here. I think it's a lovely scene though...did going with the white first help?

Kathryn Wilson
08-04-2004, 07:51 PM
The white helped at first, but when I added in the darker blues and purples, keeping those yellows pristine was difficult. I'm not happy with the upper 1/3 of it - the big white blob in the upper left and the two elongated clouds in the middle and upper right - they are supposed to have glowing yellow/gold bottoms and can't pull it off.

If I were to do this again, I would not use the Art Spectrum paper - my paper of choice is becoming the Sennelier OP paper. I can then underpaint in watercolors to keep the lighter colors cleaner and brighter because I can always scrape back to them if I mess up.

Yep, them's umbrellas and teeny little pipples underneath them - :evil:

08-04-2004, 07:56 PM
hmmm, maybe you should have painted the colorful shadows first..then added white and yellow, but yeah, if underpainting works I say go for it! That's one thing I like about the acrylic medium...you can isolate a color and wipe back to it if needed.

08-05-2004, 11:34 PM
Sue, thanks a lot for your hard working for us all to learn and have fun with all these lessons and comments.

The subject is quite challenging for me too since I’m one of those who also take photos of beautiful clouds so it’s inspiring an attempt.

Well, this is my first start, OPs underpainting blended with odorless solvent on Colorfix primed canvas 8x10 inches. Not yet finish but I feel like how the clouds came out at this very first stage. Will try to find time and continue.

08-05-2004, 11:43 PM
I like how they've come out so far too! I really like those trees too, you should do well next month on trees. I've always had the problem of getting trees and clouds too much the same. I'm really glad you're having fun...so as long as it's fun for all of you (and me too!) I can't really call it work :D

08-06-2004, 06:56 PM
Well, I need a lot of work on clouds, so thought I'd practice right along with everyone else. This is from a pic I took one night. There are some trees in front of this...so before I ruined it :D thought I'd post the sky. Did it on charcoal paper...YUCK! Was an old sample I found. Did everything in this one including some glazing with acyrlic mixed in with matte clear gel...there's OP under and over that and used some irridescents...anyways was really challenging but fun. I never came close to the color the sky was where the clouds were...it's a VERY purpley blue violet and it either went too red or too blue...too bad, was a gorgeous color. But not too unhappy with this...it's the idea if not the exact colors. Didn't photograph too well...it's more subtle where the colors meet.


Pat Isaac
08-07-2004, 09:15 AM
Nice color Sue......even though you aren't totally pleased with it and that's what's its all about...experimenting and practising :D

I'm working on another one now that has that same purple color that you describe and I can't seem to get it either :confused: Very hard...Almost decided to bag it, but will finish it.


08-07-2004, 10:10 AM
Hey, Pat...it's kind of frustrating. We should be able to make any color I would think. The trees were backlit on this one and when I added them that area was too light to work, so ended up mixing some dark charcoal with blue violet and a touch of red. Nothing like the original color, but it works better with the trees. I'll save the finish til next month's tree exercises. They aren't great, but they're not lollipop or cotton candy either :p
look forward to seeing yours...like you said, it's just practice. :)

Pat Isaac
08-07-2004, 10:59 AM
Looking forward to the trees Sue.....The color is frustrating...I started by using a red violet and then added a purple grey, but it was not blue enough so I added some dark blue and more grey and... and...and...it too goopy so I had to quit and let it set up. I'll go back to it on Monday at the studio. Who knows, I may even scrape it all off..LOL


08-07-2004, 12:21 PM
I started with ultramarine blue and added the sky red to that, then some cobalt, more red..then blue violet which oddly made it redder..teehee..and never once did I come close to the color I wanted. I don't get that I can see colors so well on portraits or animals or even change colors and make them work the way I want and just can't get nature colors. What's the deal with that? :rolleyes:
If I tried to scrape on this paper it would totally disintegrate. But despite all the problems, this has still been a good learning process. like you, don't know if I'll ever like landscapes, but would be nice to be able to do a believeable background if needed.

08-08-2004, 05:04 AM
Some of you may have already seen this one on the WDE this weekend but I thought that I would put it here, too, since it's my first go at clouds with my OPs. I know that I have got a bit of a way to go but I was concentrating on more than just the clouds in this one. C&C most welcome.

Sennelier & Holbein OPs on Cotman 300gsm watercolour paper. I used a graded watercolour wash and then covered it with a clear Colourfix Primer glaze, before starting with the OPs.

08-08-2004, 12:43 PM
Glad you put this here Robyn! How does that clear colorfix work? Nice tooth? I think you did great gradating the sky and you got the shadows on the under and backsides of the clouds really nice. The only thing that might give it more depth is to soften the top edges more on the bottom clouds and add just a bare tiny bit of a blue or blue violet tone to them so they recede....it's the same principle as the mountains being bluer to set them back.
We do trees next month, and Alex forwarded a link to me to use with a lot of good tips about trees...one of the tips was to not have branches run exactly parallel to each other. Fir trees do all sort of go up, but think of a clock again...the limbs will sort of progress up to 12 like clock hands rather than all pointing pretty much the same as the last.
I think you did a great job on this...landscapes and I don't mix well but you did a great job!! :clap: :clap:

08-08-2004, 06:20 PM
When you state the obvious, why am I surprised? I had a feeling that there was something wrong as I was doing those trees but I was so caught up with trying to get my head around the OPs that I just plowed on. I am looking forward to the classroom on trees. It should be interesting. Will you be including any Aussie gum trees :D ?

I will have another poke at the clouds with a little bit of the violet. They felt slightly wrong, too and now I can see why.

The clear Colourfix is great. I bought some tubes of the coloured stuff because the ready made Colourfix paper is difficult to get here in Oz. I can use up lots of bits and pieces of odd paper that I have laying about. The clear stuff is great because I can lay it down over a watercolour wash as in this picture. It give a very fine sandpapery tooth to the paper.

Thanks so much for the advise. DO you EVER go to sleep? You seem to be there, no matter when I post and we are half a world apart - or are you just my little guardian angel, sitting just behind my shoulder :p ?

08-08-2004, 06:36 PM
lol...if I'm a guardian angel it's one with muddy gown edges, tattered wings and tilted halo! :angel: I am lucky to have cable and so i leave my mail program up so I can see when a thread gets an answer. Actually I think my sleeping time is your late afternoon and evening...but we do seem to connect a lot! Ha...landscapes and trees are my bane...You'll have to give us a good painting of a gum tree as we don't have any here. I've seen some soft pastels of them though, they're really cool trees! Speaking of softies...Judwal did the same WDE ref as you...I've learned lots seeing how regular pastels work, even though it's hard to get the same results with the OPs, it's still interesting and helpful to see how it's accomplished in other mediums.

Pat Isaac
08-08-2004, 06:52 PM
aha, Sue. That is the answer to why you are always there for all of us!!! I have dial-up so only see anything when I log on. Thanks for being there. :D


08-08-2004, 07:23 PM
Ah, I used to have dialup, and not only that but the phone line was old so I got about 1/4 speed of other dialups. So even tho I've had the cable awhile now it's still something I'm thankful for! Anyways, thanks to you both for being so nice...it's funny how we see ourselves...I was afraid everyone would think I'm an attention hog! :p

08-08-2004, 08:29 PM
Ah, I used to have dialup, and not only that but the phone line was old so I got about 1/4 speed of other dialups. So even tho I've had the cable awhile now it's still something I'm thankful for! Anyways, thanks to you both for being so nice...it's funny how we see ourselves...I was afraid everyone would think I'm an attention hog! :p
HOG THE ATTENTION ... HOG THE ATTENTION! Your suggestions are always so helpful that I, for one, don't care if I see your login on every other post :D

As for the angel with the muddy gown, tattered wings and dented halo - they are the very best kind.

08-08-2004, 08:53 PM
Robyn...I'm sure you're an angel to your computer class kids too. :D

08-08-2004, 09:55 PM
I found this on a friend's weblog under the heading 'Angels Around Us'. I know it's starting to get way off topic but I thought I would share it. It's a little bit churchy but it made me feel good.

"Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you."
St. Francis de Sales

I sometimes wonder if anything I've said or done had a positive effect on someone that day. Have I been a vessel for an angel to work through? It's a good daily goal, I think.

08-08-2004, 10:37 PM
well, yanno...angels/clouds...they sorta go together! :p I esp like the daily goal one :)

08-10-2004, 04:39 PM
When you state the obvious, why am I surprised? I had a feeling that there was something wrong as I was doing those trees but I was so caught up with trying to get my head around the OPs that I just plowed on. I am looking forward to the classroom on trees. It should be interesting. Will you be including any Aussie gum trees :D ?

I will have another poke at the clouds with a little bit of the violet. They felt slightly wrong, too and now I can see why.

The clear Colourfix is great. I bought some tubes of the coloured stuff because the ready made Colourfix paper is difficult to get here in Oz. I can use up lots of bits and pieces of odd paper that I have laying about. The clear stuff is great because I can lay it down over a watercolour wash as in this picture. It give a very fine sandpapery tooth to the paper.

Thanks so much for the advise. DO you EVER go to sleep? You seem to be there, no matter when I post and we are half a world apart - or are you just my little guardian angel, sitting just behind my shoulder :p ?

Hi Robyn,

I'm really surprised that you find it difficult to get colourfix paper here, being an Australian product I've found nothing but Colourfix in the art stores. It would be really nice if one day they actually started stocking something other than colourfix - some Ersta, or Wallis - mmmm now I'm daydreaming....lol
I order 90% of my art supplies through theartshop.com.au (http://www.theartshop.com.au).
I like your idea of applying a clear colourfix primer over your underpainting, but wonder what is your secret to applying it?? Did you dilute it or apply straight from the jar? Did you use a brush or a roller? (Sorry for the inquisition)
Whenever I have tried the primer the results have never been smooth or consistent, and I would like to think that has more to do with my technique than the product. :rolleyes:

Sue: hubby has just left for another 5 week stint in Indo so I should now have some time to paint (fingers crossed quietly behind my back)
I've even printed out a cloud pic, but it was a bit disappointing. My computer monitor shows the colours quite intensely, but it's printed out all wishy washy, think I need some new colour cartridges :(
**light bulb moment!!** I can actually drag my oilies out to the computer and paint the pic while on the monitor and not get pastel dust everywhere!! WooHoo!


08-10-2004, 07:14 PM
yay, cj is joining us! I do the same thing...my printer washes out everything even on glossy with new ink...watch your back tho...easy to get scrunched up and stay that way when you go to stand up lol! Can't wait to see what you come up with. :D

08-12-2004, 10:09 AM
Angel Sue,
Here is my work "My boy and his bike". It was the first time he touched a bike (with other 2 tiny wheels). He doesn't know how to ride on yet so just drag it along.

I think I'm happy with the clouds but not the trees and grass. It looks stiff to me but I have no idea how to fix them. Is it because the color or the way I paint?

Suggestions please.
Many thanks, angel. :angel:

(OPs on colorfix primed canvas 8x10 inches.)

08-12-2004, 10:55 AM
lol...I keep looking over my shoulder, waiting to get arrested for impersonating an angel :p
First...how cool is the first time with a bike for a kid?! It's an adorable scene and will strike a chord with mothers everywhere :)
Second...the clouds are great! How did you get them so soft? You have really nice depth in that sky and gave it a lot of importance by letting it have the upper 2/3 of the painting.
I think your trees look pretty good. We're going to work on trees next month but I, myself, have a lot of trouble with them. I think the back row is quite good, I think leaving the little space was good as it has a place for the eye to follow up into the sky. They're nice and unfocused and blue toned so it gives them distance. The two closer trees could have a few more darks to show they are closer, but not too much. Perhaps a few more sky holes in those two trees would take the stiffness out and maybe the branches on one side could drop a little lower.
It's possible that a little crop at the bottom would help, maybe just the bottom 1/4 of grass below your son...And if you lightened up the handlebars and the top reflection on the center bar of the bike frame it would tie the bike and him together better.
I'm not sure, but I think a few more contrasts in the grass would take some of the stiffness out...you already have a start of cooler and warmer areas, so a few darker hints in the cool areas and a touch lighter highlights in the warmer areas would give the grasses some depth.
Another suggestion would be to post this over in Landscape forum. I offer suggestions, but landscape is not what I do best :eek: I am sure they could give you better direction. :D

But I say A+ on those nice wispy clouds!

Pat Isaac
08-12-2004, 11:46 AM

Those are beautiful soft clouds, very wispy. Like Sue, I am not big on landscapes, but I do think some more contrast in the forground grasses would help. Right now all the grass and tree values seem similar. Your subject matter tugs at the heartstrings..


08-13-2004, 04:23 AM
Sue and Pat,

Thanks a lot for your comment and encouragement. It was a great honour to received an A+ on this lesson.

How I did that clouds? As I post earlier when it was half done, I did the underpainting with OP and odorless solvent. Then I added other layers, dry blend.

On top of it, I randomly and lightly passed the white color where the texture of the canvas helps because the color stuck to some place while other didin't and it gave a puffy look.

Yes, I thought the same way as your suggestion so I did pararelly post in the landscape forum and also got one very good digitally adjusted demonstration how to improve it as attached. I think the adjustment is somewhat similar to what both of you mentioned. What would you think?

Pat Isaac
08-13-2004, 09:09 AM
:clap: Ah, yes, the foreground works much better now. Don't you think? Really nice piece.


08-13-2004, 09:53 AM
I think it helps. I think rather than a blackish toning though, maybe a dark indigo for the area at the bottom. I was looking at a landscape Khadres did in the soft pastel forum and she used cool colors in the foreground and distance and it made the middle ground so sunny and warm feeling...was a great effect. :)

08-13-2004, 05:23 PM
Inspired by leojacko's photo, about 2 hours, not finished (and photo taken at nigth without flash).

Sennelier and Caran d'Ache on Sennelier Oil Pastel pad.


08-13-2004, 05:47 PM
yep, could tell that nightime no flash orange cast anywhere lol! But you sure have wonderful cloud shapes there! I see some lovely colors in there despite the lighting, it looks as if you apply color in strokes like soft pastels...yes? You also have a nice fade going on in the sky. Anyways thanks so much for joining in and I can't wait to see it done and in good lighting! :clap:

08-14-2004, 06:20 AM
Dyin, thanks for your comment. I escaped the dust of my softies some time ago already. I've done some color pencils recently, but I felt like doing big strokes, so I took my oilies, but I could not resist using a coton tip to melt the colors (especially the sky).

More accurate... I usually work at nigth, but I find it too frustrating not to publish something before going to sleep. I worked a lot on the bottom left cloud, but I'm still not satisfied, and top right clouds are hardly started.

24x32 cm / 9x12 in


08-14-2004, 09:45 AM
much nicer colors with a daytime pic...but know what you mean about wanting to post after working on it. :) I think what happened with your bottom cloud is that you lost the wispiness...like the cloud above it has. I have that same problem when I try to do bushes and trees...I'll have a really nice uneven shape when I start and then as I work on it somehow I round all the edges out, thinking more about colors and blending than shapes. :rolleyes: I think you have the idea and remember to try and get the 'feel' of the shape rather than trying to get each part exact.

08-14-2004, 01:00 PM
My visitors are gone, so maybe I can get back to work. Here's an update on my original cloud, but this photo is pretty crooked. I'm having a hard time controlling the color in the photo as well, I guess because there's so much blue. I took a picture in the shade and you could hardly see the clouds, so I shot it in the sun. C&C welcome!!!

08-14-2004, 01:13 PM
those clouds are so delicate I can't even see them! :p Think you forgot the photo, Becky, so please try again!

08-14-2004, 01:51 PM
Becky, it still looks like a reflection in water to me...which is not a bad thing at all! They're starting to get that cauliflower effect you were talking about, almost like looking down at a hurricane (she says after watching CNN with all the satellite shots of Charley :p ) I love the colors you are using, especially that violet blue tone. I've got it...it's like looking down at clouds over the ocean from a plane window! I also had a horrid time getting a good pic of clouds, but it looks good!

08-14-2004, 02:17 PM
I can't really do water, so that's interesting... You're right though, I think they lack mass or volume in a lot of places. :( Back to the drawing board!

08-14-2004, 05:27 PM
thinking more about colors and blending than shapes.
Thanks very much... you're just rigth.

Maybe I can still save that cloud... but the most difficult thing will be to find time (my almost a month old son is having most of it, that's also why I do not have so much time to comment other entries)


08-14-2004, 06:23 PM
Anney, Congratulations on your new son!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Wow, I'm impressed that you've worked on this at all. Not to worry about commenting on everyone's work...we certainly understand. Sigh, now I'm in a baby cuddle mood :) :angel:

08-15-2004, 11:16 PM

Congratulations for your son too. :clap: Very understand mom's life with little baby. Mine will become 2 years old next month. He still keeps me busy too. I found OPs very suitable for a mom's life since I can start and stop anywhere anytime I need to. (Stress "need to" because when I am in between painting session, I don't think I "want to" stop.) I like soft pastels too but it's too messy for this moment. My loving subject to paint is this little boy, of course. (My heart felt when I saw John Elliot's painted his son in every stage since he was young, teenager, and mature in his army uniform in his book "OP for serious beginner". I don't feel like my boy to grow up too fast and I have to pass those stage with him too. Really want to enjoy his childhood as long as possible.)

Take care and enjoy every moment with this little angle. He will grow up so fast. I took a lot of his photos especially when he does some new things. When I look back, it seems like yesterday that I saw him doing so. But now, he can walk, talk a lot, learn how to negotiate, have his own playing imagination, and be independent sometime.

08-18-2004, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the congratulations.

I managed to work on it, cannot resist to post now, especially that if I wait that the sun is up, most of you will be sleeping. Still need another 30 minutes and I'll call it done. After, I'd like to try clouds on another paper.

08-18-2004, 07:05 PM
It's looking really good but maybe you could take a pic in the daytime and post it too(we'll have something lovely to wake up to then! :) )
Am happy you are going to try another paper and new clouds, you'll have a better idea what you're doing next time and can't wait to see. :clap:

08-19-2004, 02:31 AM
Angel Sue,

Here I come again. I'm still 'in' with your cloud lesson so I do another try.

I once took a photo of the sky at dusk. I use a computer program to change it to some unusual colors. Then I dug my old unsuccessful pieces of watercolor and found one which the color would fit to be the background of this OP piece.

Ta-da. . . this is the result. Comments are welcome.

(10x12 inches on watercolor paper)

08-19-2004, 01:37 PM
Now THAT'S a cooooool sky! :clap: :clap: :clap: Standing ovation for you for this one...love how experimental you went :D You should post this in a regular thread, not everyone comes to the classroom and you'll get a lot of wows for this one :)

08-19-2004, 08:07 PM
I've finally got a minute to sit at the computer. This last week has been horrendous - with 2 sick kids I've been up to my elbows in vomit and washing. But we won't dwell on that.
This is what I completed up to Friday of last week.
It's on stretched canvas with a bit too much modelling compound applied. I did a basic underpainting using the 'am' paints (I'm liking them more and more as a base for OP's - they go on like acrylics but have a nice matt finish that grabs pastel really well). Then I applied the OP's - I think I should have confined the texture to the clouds and foreground trees. I hope to work on it abit more today to tone down the purples and add more highlights on the clouds. The reference photo was taken late afternoon so there was a wonderful orange glow to it.

I will go back now and read the rest of the thread (after I put some Eva Cassidy on the CD player and make myself a cuppa of course :D )



08-19-2004, 08:37 PM
wow, that' modelling compound really makes stuff come forward! Sorry about the kids being sick, hope they're better soon and you get spared all that too. Am looking forward to your next update, I really like the colors in this one.

08-19-2004, 09:28 PM
wow, that' modelling compound really makes stuff come forward! Sorry about the kids being sick, hope they're better soon and you get spared all that too. Am looking forward to your next update, I really like the colors in this one.

Thanks Sue - unfortunately I didn't escape the tummy bug, but didn't suffer as badly as the kids. My 6yo daughter was more than happy to stay home from school one day to 'play' with her little brother while I lay moaning on the couch (thank heavens for the Olympics!)
Off to work on this a bit more now.

Ead: I really like what you've done with your photo manipulation - great results. Very dramatic sky - well done.

Anney - congratulations on your new baby! Where's the queue for the cyber cuddle :) I'm so impressed that you have found the time and the energy to continue painting.


08-20-2004, 03:19 AM
Ead: Wonderful colors, almost fluo. I love the way you transform the initial photo.

cj: I have not tried the two kids sick yet... (my older son is 5 years), but I hope they'll recover soon and that you can get some rest. Texture and colors are very cool, I look forward seing an update. What are 'am' paints ?

Link to the baby (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2537274&postcount=9)

Well, I paint from 9:30 pm until 11:00 pm, and I have a lot of support from hubby. Here is an update, and a new version.


08-20-2004, 09:54 AM
Oh sure....show us that cutie and then expect us to look at your paintings too? :p Boy is he a handsome and healthy looking little boy :clap: Quite the head of hair and hardly looks only 2 hours old, he really is a beautiful work of art...you did a great job on that one :D
I looooove the second cloud pic! You really got the feel of the clouds and it's much more interesting done that way...looks like you had a lot of fun with it too :clap: The first came out quite nice and dreamy looking.

Kathryn Wilson
08-20-2004, 10:00 AM
Awwwww, isn't he a cutie! I love babies when they are sleeping - :D

Nice job on the clouds!

Kathryn Wilson
08-20-2004, 10:06 AM
Hi CJ - :mad: trying to scare those awful bugs away. Two sick kids and then you and you still paint this wonderful cloud painting - good for you!

Hope you feel better - the Olympics have been a favorite here too! Lots of competition between us blokes - but it's been fun! Love that Ian Thorpe!


Marge Cline
08-21-2004, 10:33 PM
Hi all. New member here and I may be in the wrong place, but am excited to find this site. Have been wanting to go take a class somewhere, but really can't get out of the house easily because of a sick husband, so your assignment to paint clouds was great timing. However this offering is in soft pastels, not oils. Don't have any of those. I started it intending to paint clouds only, but then smeared parts of it when blending and decide the smeared part looked like rain anyway and those were storm clouds I had just done...once I got going on it, my imagination ran away with me. :) I'll do another one of just clouds asap. Now if I can figure out how to attach the pic, I'll send this off for comment. Marge

08-21-2004, 11:06 PM
Oh Anne - for a moment there I lapsed. I had a "aawww...I want one" moment after seeing your beautiful baby, but memories of stomach bugs brought me back to my senses :evil: :D
He really is a gorgeous little bundle, thank you so much for the link to his photo.
'am' paints (or Absolute Matte) are produced by Chroma, the manufacturers of Atelia acrylics. They are a gouache/acrylic hybrid being velvetty matte like gouache but with the consistency of acrylics (including transparent colours). They accept all the acrylic medioums and the colours are quite intense. Being just a new product I'm still waiting to get hold of more colours when they come on the market. I only have a small sample pack and I'm really liking them.
Here's a link to their blurb ... http://www.atelieracrylics.com/absolute_matte/

Kat: feeling better thanks. I'm not sure about your time over there but most of the Olympic finals in the swimming have been between 2.30am - 3.30am here which is a bit hard to handle. I only set the alarm once at that time, and that was last night to watch Grant Hackett defend his 1500m title. And I'm paying for it today *......ZZZZZZZ....* :D


08-21-2004, 11:24 PM
Hi Marge and welcome to WC!!! Your clouds are lovely and how great is that rainbow? I like the perspective of it...it's like everyone who looks at it is sitting where the pot of gold would be. :) I'm glad that you found this assignment to be timely and even though this is a sub forum for oil pastels I'm glad you posted! But I am going to send you over to the soft pastel forum and to this thread in particular...just click on the link.
it's the assignment for soft pastels! It's not clouds, but deals with soft pastel application which is sure to be a big help. We're all pastels, but the application is different, in fact you can get a whole different type of cloud effect than oil pastels do. You should definately introduce yourself in a seperate thread there too, with this piece so everyone can see what you do. But if you have started another cloud piece I don't think anyone would mind if you posted it here and you are more than welcome to come see what oil pastels can do too! You're going to love WC and everyone in the pastel forum is friendly and helpful...I'll see you there and maybe here too!

08-22-2004, 12:29 PM
Hee, Hee, Hee - more clouds, at least I'm calling them clouds. This is from a photo in the RIL by artdude, "Band of lights!!". Hope he doesn't find out...

All these people with babies and still making great cloud pictures - makes me feel lazy!

08-22-2004, 01:49 PM
teehee, you crack me up with the giggling! Actually they look like some clouds I was looking at yesterday, minus the pretty colors. You got a nice sweeping movement to them!

08-22-2004, 01:54 PM
I was waiting to see what you said before I told you what my hubby did. He came through while I was working and said "Oh, neat waves - is that Hawaii?" I turn around and give him my most evil glare and say "NO, they're clouds..." He quickly recovers and says "Oh definitely, clouds, bad storm clouds..." and takes off for the other room.

Not to worry, I'm still working on my blue water. :eek:

08-22-2004, 02:37 PM
lol...but with no land to anchor the clouds I suppose he can be forgiven...at least he made an effort to comment! Next time I bet he purposely won't look your way, casually say..whatchapaintin and then glance over and exclaim...oooh, GOOD clouds :p

08-22-2004, 03:59 PM
If he isn't careful, he may hurt my feelings so bad, that he has to buy me some Holbein's. :evil: I was thinking of getting some of the extreme lights and darks to complement my Sennelier's. How do those numbers run - does 1=lightest or darkest? I got my Dakota sampler and I really liked the Holbein's, even though plain red, medium blue and a medium green aren't ones I really needed.

08-22-2004, 04:36 PM
1 is darkest. And that's a good idea, you'll use those most. I think I use about 20 mostly...

blue violet
red violet
oxide yellow
butnt sienna
burnt umber
ultramarine blue
deep green
oxide of olive


hansa yellow
permanent red
blue violet
red violet
cobalt blue
sky blue
permanent green
may green

I use a lot of white to adjust tone and it's nice to have black once in a great while...hope that helps!

08-22-2004, 05:11 PM
Thanks! I'll print these off, my birthday's in December and I already killed the anniversary gift by ordering all of those oil paints, although I wonder if he'll remember about those... :evil: I'll have to wait and see what he gets for himself...

Pat Isaac
08-23-2004, 04:12 PM
Here is another cloud study. :( Not too successful. I had a really hard time finding the color of the clouds - a dull, muted blue purple :eek: Oh well, more learned and that's what counts.


08-23-2004, 05:24 PM
ah, but you did learn. You most definately got the scene. We just have to get you to post bigger...at least 500 pixels!!! I've never seen this exact shot, but I have seen this in the real world. That sun is right smack behind those clouds and the drama is just right. I think maybe we worry too much about the color. I don't think photos catch it quite right and it's really about the feeling anyways...and you certainly caught that! :clap:

Pat Isaac
08-23-2004, 06:45 PM
Thanks, Sue. These were clouds that an artist friend of mine takes. I thought I had to have the image below 400 pixels. :confused: I'll try 500 and see what happens.


08-23-2004, 07:45 PM
I know that 500 pixels is the width size...I've gone to 600 for length if the width is less than 500...just nice to see the details and I like the little bit of stroking I can see in the darks.

08-28-2004, 10:39 AM
I did some more work on my blue water clouds. :rolleyes: Hey, at least I'm persistant! Although stubborn is probably a more accurate description! :D I finally figured out how to edit the size with my camera software instead of using another program. One of these days I'll learn to read the manual!

08-28-2004, 10:52 AM
I'm starting to see that cauliflower effect you were talking about! Took me awhile to figure out that's supposed to be a roof at the bottom, think it would look better without...the pattern alone carries it. If you keep it then you'll have to imply 'roof' a little more. I really like the radiating soft wisps coming off the main formation of the clouds and the colors are really nice...think these are GREAT clouds! :clap:

Pat Isaac
08-28-2004, 12:55 PM
Wonderful colors on your clouds, Becky. I agree with Sue that the roof needs more definition. Right now, I think it is too heavy for the wispy clouds. Carry on and everyone calls me stubborn too, but I like to think of it as determined. lol


08-28-2004, 01:08 PM
A pair of scissors will take care of that roof, quite nicely!!! :evil: :D Thanks for the comments - bring on the trees!!! :p

Pat Isaac
08-28-2004, 01:59 PM
aha!! :evil: Go for it. :D


08-29-2004, 08:47 PM
You guys produce great clouds, even more advanced weather effects :D :clap:

Sue, I'm jumping in too! Not much is done yet, only gouache underpainting earlie this week, but I'm stating my intentions hereby :D


08-29-2004, 09:03 PM
Alex, that's great!!! :clap: I was just admiring your flowers in the pastel and a movie thread, you're getting pretty good with these ops and can't wait to see your clouds! I like using gouache for an underpainting, nice grip for the ops.

08-29-2004, 09:10 PM
Hurry Alex - only 2 more days!!! :D

08-29-2004, 09:20 PM
lol...the thread will still be open and we'll all watch for your entry :D And next month is the trees you requested, Alex!

08-30-2004, 11:09 PM
Hope it's not too late to contribute! Here's an OP of clouds I did during my lunch break today. I'm not really happy with it, but I learned a lot and am anxious to give the subject another go.

08-30-2004, 11:14 PM
It's never too late! And I don't know why you're unhappy with these, they have a great wispyness to them and nice directional strokes. You faded the sky nicely and softened the further clouds...pretty good job I'd say! :clap: We'll still be subscribed to this thread even after it goes to the library so I hope everyone feels free to add any other studies they do...that's why we have the classroom :) And would love to see what you do next.

09-03-2004, 11:34 PM
You guys produce great clouds, even more advanced weather effects :D :clap:

Sue, I'm jumping in too! Not much is done yet, only gouache underpainting earlie this week, but I'm stating my intentions hereby :D


Alex...still here and waiting for your lovely clouds to appear! :cat:

09-03-2004, 11:57 PM
Alex...still here and waiting for your lovely clouds to appear! :cat:
Sorry for the delay, I endured an awful week so I was able to work on it only on Monday, very little in fact. I'm willing to finish it and scan this Monday, but those clouds are appearing not lovely at all, that's for sure. Rather expecting kind of disaster with them.

09-04-2004, 12:13 AM
it's hard to be creative when you're having a bad week, maybe your weekend will be better and the clouds will turn out just fine. The whole point is to learn, so lovely or unlovely it's good to try! Hope things get better!

09-05-2004, 05:29 PM
Well here is my clouds picture. yuck yuck. Reference image is from RIL by frodobaggins_2.
What I've learnt:

a) clouds are tough
b) my gouache underpainting is yucky. Pastel adhered very poorly to it, white pastel picked up blue gouache. No fingerblending was possible for that reasons. And no fancy colours too, plain gray and white. I wasn't able to fill the holes in the paper too. Frankly, I liked w/c much much better.

I bought additional colour of paper this week, must have used blue or even turquoise paper for this. Well, at least I participated in one Classroom project and had one stab at clouds!


09-05-2004, 05:47 PM
Alex, apart from the medium and surface problems, you have very well formed clouds. Your ground looks good enough to post in the tree classroom too :wink2: I think you're hard on yourself...wanting to jump ahead to perfect work, when you have to go through the steps to develop. I'm surprised about the gouache...i have Reeves brand, pretty cheap through Dick Blick and it doesn't lift with the OPs. It could be due to your ops too though. Can you work on slightly sanded surface? It's much easier to fill holes...way easier than wc paper too. You can make your own with gesso and marble dust. You can get marble dust from places that carve marble headstones and rock supply places or from Dick Blick too. It's just 1 cup water, 1 part cup gesso and 1-2 tablespoons of dust...one tablespoon would be good for you. It's easy to put on and is a super surface. You can put it on board like masonite...think you'd like that. Even the Fabriano can have hole problems.
Back to the clouds...your formation is great, shadows in right places and nice wispiness. Good gradation in sky (note spelling :D ) and nice perspective with further clouds. Please don't be so hard on yourself....there is much good here and you can do a very satisfactory sky in future work.
Thanks so much for joining...hope your week is going better!

09-05-2004, 10:18 PM
Thank you for the kind words, Sue! I was disappointed at the surface. I see it turned out better than I predicted first.
On Fabraino I can fill the holes if I have to. I want to ask you more about marble dust - is it dust indeed, like powder? I resist ordering at DB yet. Masonite as I figure is similar to MDF. Stashing it might be a problem. I think I'm content with Fabriano Tiziano paper at the time. I messed with underpainting because I wasn't sure I can pull off decent gradation in the sky (sp. noted lol). On my ship picture from TOPP I couldn't did a dull sky evenly. By the way, you had very smooth sky in your 'winter baloons' WDE piece. I didn't see it finished though. Is it finished yet?

09-05-2004, 10:29 PM
the marble dust is just like flour, only a little less refined. Masonite is thinner than MDF I think, but you can also use it on those canvas boards if you like. The best thing to use it on (and lightest) is matboard...works great! I get the cut outs at frame shops really cheap.
I never finished the balloons. I was really unhappy with using the complement for the shade areas so I started trying different things on it. I finally found that when you want something very bright it's better to go with a cool and a warm tone of the same color instead of darkening with another color which dulls the intensity. So it was a successful failure lol! But next time I want bright colors I'll have it figured out. That sky was done on Art Spectrum which is similar to the marble surface. I laid white first and then kept intensifying it as I went up. I think if you had a good surface for this one you would have gotten one just as clean...as it is, this looks good too!

GreenWave Solutions
11-30-2008, 04:30 PM
I'm working on mine. Hey Dyin - I hope its not too late!

Kathryn Wilson
11-30-2008, 04:57 PM
You do realize this classroom is from almost 5 years ago ????

Pat Isaac
11-30-2008, 08:14 PM
It's true, green wave......dyin is no longer with us but if you wanted to work on this you could post it in the OP studio forum as a separate thread and get feedback on it. Welcome and hope to see you around.


05-15-2009, 07:24 AM
Hi I like the picture with the circum arc the colours are amazing have you tried iridescent oil pastels would they work with this picture. I love sky watching and taking lots of photos of iridescence in clouds, haloes and rainbows, I will have to try this out I am new to oil pastels and a bit heavy handed. I have ordered some iridescence sennelier pastels to try out will give this a go when i get them delivered great lesson on clouds will try the technique. I havent tried gouache on watercolour and then oil pastels on top I better get painting Lesley

Pat Isaac
05-15-2009, 07:49 AM
Hi Lesley and Welcome to the forum. This is an archived thread so if you try this please post it in the oil pastel studio forum so you will get lots of feedback. It will be interesting to see how the iridescent colors work.