PDA

View Full Version : Colorful Cloud Demo-FINISHED


Deborah Secor
03-28-2008, 07:36 PM
I've mentioned before how I like to use a LOT of colors when I paint clouds, so I thought I'd share with you a smidgen of my progress on a sky painting done as a demo from my class. I'm not far into it yet.

Here's my beginning underdrawing in charcoal. It's done on toned Wallis paper, 12x18", using extra soft thin vine charcoal and a soft white plastic eraser.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2008/23609-DSCN7879.JPG

Here's how it looks after the fist couple of passes. I've worked farther on the righthand side than the left, as you can see, layering progressively softer colors into it. I like to build up quite a bit of pastel, which gives it a pillowy look.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2008/23609-DSCN7880.JPG

here's a closeup of the middle showing how I've used so many colors! I really slather the stuff on, building up slowly more neutral colors, a good way to make grays that are interesting.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2008/23609-DSCN7883.JPG

Here's the top cloud in the middle when I had a couple layers in place.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2008/23609-DSCN7886.JPG

And here it is farther along. I often keep adding complementary colors to gray things down slowly, then wehn I get to a certain point I'll use an 'out of the box' gray that unifies things. Oh--and no finger blending at all in this one. It just makes the grays so...drab, dull, dead, and well...gray.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2008/23609-DSCN7890.JPG

As I progress farther I'll show you what comes of it, but I hope you enjoy seeing my crazy colorful clouds!

Deborah

binkie
03-28-2008, 08:11 PM
Your skies are always beautiful! Thanks for sharing how you do clouds.

binkie

Winny Kerr
03-28-2008, 08:30 PM
Oh Deborah,
Thank you. I was hoping you'd do a sky. Is there a way to save your Demo for reference? boy, you sure use a lot of colors. Can't wait to see it finished. Thanks again,
Winny

Deborah Secor
03-28-2008, 08:31 PM
Happy to show what I do, Binkie! :D

Deborah

Scottyarthur
03-28-2008, 08:45 PM
Beautiful deborah love all the color. will be waiting to see it completed.

Deborah Secor
03-28-2008, 08:58 PM
Thanks, Winny. I don't know how to save it.

Thanks, Scott. I do like color, that's for sure!

Deborah

chewie
03-28-2008, 09:19 PM
winny--go to the top of the posting area, you will see a 'thread tools' right under the blue bar that is the top of the post....click it and a drop down menu will come, and at the bottom there is a 'save thread to favorites' click that, and will save it in your own special place for later.

and yeah, its worth saving! thanks deborah!

nvcricket
03-28-2008, 11:32 PM
Hi Deborah,

Thanks for this Demo. I am enthralled with all of the colors you are using.

I recall another post you did a couple of years ago, and just spent an hour trying to find it. I thought it was one of the lessons on the intro pastel page...? If you could locate that post, and drop it in here, I will have two great references in one thread!

Clouds will be my next topic to attack. I am intimidated by their majesty and feel that recreating them is hard to duplicate. You do a masterful job. We get these unique clouds here called venticulars. I call them biscuit clouds as they look very flaky like biscuits. I want to paint them so badly!!!

Not only have I pulled up a chair for this one, but I am taking notes as well!! LOL....

Carol

Deborah Secor
03-29-2008, 12:04 AM
We get those clouds, too, except I think they're called lenticulars, which refers to being 'bean shaped' (think lentils)! They look like UFOs sometimes...formed over mountains by waves of air lifting up... and they often have beautiful nacreous colors!

I think the lesson you're talking about was an ESP (Explore Soft Pastels) thread on living grays and cloudy skies and it may be locked away in the Library somewhere... if we can retrieve it I'll post a link here.

Deborah

*Violet*
03-29-2008, 12:58 AM
love those clouds !! ... worth saving this thread for sure !!

Donna T
03-29-2008, 09:35 AM
Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Deborah. I, for one, need all the help I can get to overcome my cloud phobia. Your last close-up photo is just gorgeous. If it were mine and large enough I would frame it as is! It's cloud-like and wonderfully abstract at the same time. Do you fix your charcoal underdrawing in any way? If not, does the charcoal ever interfere with your lighter color pastel layers?

Donna

Deborah Secor
03-29-2008, 11:18 AM
Thanks, chewie, for helping out here. I didn't know you could save to favorites... :o I've only been here for years! :lol: That's a nice feature. I've used the one that makes it printable but never noticed the favorites.

Thanks, Violet!

Donna, thank you, too. I often find little abstracted sections of paintings that I like. As for the charcoal, no, I don't spray it. I find that even workable fixative clogs the tooth of the paper to a small degree and I hog every nook and cranny for pastel. In the first thin application you might find a bit of the charcoal slightly dirtying color but usually I start with darker colors, NOT white or anything terrfically light right off the bat. To see that, compare the colors on the lefthand side and the ones on the right side in the first photo... I added several passes more into the right side for the demo.

I tried noodling with the painting yesterday and got nowhere. Maybe today I can get it moving again. I'm not happy with the composition of the distant clouds beneath and behind the ones that are looming closer. I often find that having smaller clouds designed to move the eye works well and so far this one doesn't have that! Sometimes it helps me to paint the land plane, which gives a destination to the eye--maybe that golden-reddish mesita, which I carefully placed in my original drawing. Then I can find an interesting path to travel. I also need to take into consideration the direction of the sunlight, the shadows cast by this big mass of clouds on other clouds beneath it, and that some of the more-distant masses will be in sunlight but duller and pinker-yellower in color. Lots yet to do!

Deborah

Kathryn Wilson
03-29-2008, 12:46 PM
I tried to post this once before, but we had a WC hiccup I guess. The ESP Classroom is in a part of the Library that is being worked on, but I can move it out into the active forum if you want, Deborarh.

Deborah Secor
03-29-2008, 01:31 PM
If you want to, Kaat, that'd be fine, but don't go to a lot of trouble! I know you all are moving stacks of stuff around right now, so do what's easy and if we have to wait till later to link it, we can.

Thanks...and don't inhale too much cyber-dust in the old Library!
Deborah

Deborah Secor
03-29-2008, 02:29 PM
Here's a little update to show you how I'm tweaking the composition, as I mentioned. I used charcoal again to reestablish the clouds.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Mar-2008/23609-DSCN7935.JPG

Here are some closer shots to show you the overlap of colors, too.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Mar-2008/23609-DSCN7936.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Mar-2008/23609-DSCN7937.JPG

Obviously I still need to continue tweaking the composition, especially on the righthand side where the clouds are beginning to look too much the same shape, but it's early in the process on that so I'm not worried.

More later!

Deborah

svo164
03-29-2008, 03:29 PM
Deborah
Thank you so much for generously sharing this. And now, thanks to chewie I can save the thread where I can find it again.

This is the kind of use of color I can only dream of. Absolutely beautiful.

Sandra

RooGal
03-29-2008, 07:16 PM
A wonderful thread Deborah! Will have to add this to my favorites. Thank you.

Maureen Grantham
03-30-2008, 04:14 PM
Thank you! I need to re-do a brownish orange sunset cloud and you have given me lots of ideas of how to do this.

davidcar
03-30-2008, 05:01 PM
Thank you for sharing this Deborah. I have so much to ask, if you don't mind.:o

I was so surprised to see so much green in the first close-up only to have most of it seemingly disappear. Let's see if I understand how it disappeared. You used its compliment (I guess some kind of red) and only then lightly going over it with an out of the box grey tint of some kind (a grey of one of the two compliments? Or maybe even a grey/blue?)? There are so many colors, inside those clouds, it must shimmer in person.

Where does the green come from? New Mexico must be pretty brown in the winter so I can't imagine it was a reflected light from the ground. Or is it an arbitrary technique to balance off the cool purples on the other side of the cloud to give depth. Does the placement of the warm-cool colors help to indicate from where the light is coming from?

You must have used a ref. photo or something from your local webcam so that you could work so deliberately over a couple of days. How do you see so many colors, is it just years and years of looking and then using that knowledge to fill in what a photo would not tell you?

Thanks in advance.

David

Scottyarthur
03-30-2008, 05:34 PM
Wonderful sky Deborah, I love to see you work. I always look forward to see what is next.

Deborah Secor
03-30-2008, 11:42 PM
Thanks to you all for your comments here!

David, I love good questions! I'm famous for them myself...interviewing habit, I guess. I've answered you inside the box below.

Thank you for sharing this Deborah. I have so much to ask, if you don't mind.:o

I was so surprised to see so much green in the first close-up only to have most of it seemingly disappear. Let's see if I understand how it disappeared. You used its compliment (I guess some kind of red) and only then lightly going over it with an out of the box grey tint of some kind (a grey of one of the two compliments? Or maybe even a grey/blue?)? There are so many colors, inside those clouds, it must shimmer in person.

Yes, I constantly seek two things, the correct value to sculpt the cloud's shape and to make grays by muting the color with complements of about the same value. The 'out of the tube' (box?) grays I use are minimally applied, only at a later stage in the painting, and usually are chosen to be about the same temperature and value as the lively grays I've made with the complement layers. I actually use more triads than comps to start: orange, purple and green.

Where does the green come from? New Mexico must be pretty brown in the winter so I can't imagine it was a reflected light from the ground. Or is it an arbitrary technique to balance off the cool purples on the other side of the cloud to give depth. Does the placement of the warm-cool colors help to indicate from where the light is coming from?

The green was a darker value of the triad I used, layered over with deep purple and orange in many layers. Yes, warm and cool work to indicate light and shadow (warm on top, cool on the bottom), but warm also pulls a cloud forward in space. See how the warmish cloud on the far right-hand side seems to be in front--but don't get too attached to it, as I don't know what will happen over there!

You must have used a ref. photo or something from your local webcam so that you could work so deliberately over a couple of days. How do you see so many colors, is it just years and years of looking and then using that knowledge to fill in what a photo would not tell you?

I have an ages old ref photo that is tiny, 3x5" (that old), but rich in clouds. I guess I see colors everywhere after all these years of painting, as you say. It's a habit developed from using virtually any color as long as it's the correct value.

Thanks in advance.

Thanks for asking! I think the currently missing ESP that Kat mentioned posting has a lot more information about using these three-color grays, including examples. I hope it will turn up here sooner or later.

David

Deborah

davidcar
03-31-2008, 08:17 AM
Thank you for the explanation Deborah. You are a good teacher.

I never realized as I looked at your work that there are so many colors that you have used (reinforced again with the trees in the recent thread, green without using green). It seems that I have limited myself to only picking the direct color out of the box, which is maybe why things seem "flatter" that I would like in my works.

As to the use of triads (which is new to me)...I got out my color wheel and saw that there is basicly only one other main triad, that being blue, red, yellow. Why did you choose green, purple and orange? Maybe a stupid long shot but...is it because the negative space of the sky background already is blue and you needed a contrasting triad?:confused:

David

Colorix
03-31-2008, 09:15 AM
...only picking the direct color out of the box, which is maybe why things seem "flatter" that I would like in my works.

...there is basicly only one other main triad, that being blue, red, yellow. David

Hi David, while I'm not Deborah, I'd like to comment on your questions.

When you layer colours, you get a shimmering effect that is way more lively than if you pick the 'right' colour right out of the box. If you use a triadic approach, you can actually indicate plane-changes by changing one of the triadic colours.

In reality, you get more than two triads. Every 'primary' and 'secondary' comes in warm and cool version, so the amount is already more than doubled. And then you can combine them differently, as in warm/warm/cool, etc. Three warmer versions give a more brownish neutral, and three cooler versions give a grayed neutral.

Colorix
03-31-2008, 09:21 AM
Deborah, wonderful demo! You're doing awesomely beautiful clouds!

Deborah Secor
03-31-2008, 09:46 AM
Actually, another good reason to use the green-purple-orange triad (more often pale green-lavender-peach, since most of the time clouds are lighter in value) is that I'm a color hog and you'll notice that by using the secondary triad I get to use ALL the colors! (yellow+blue=green, blue+red=purple, red+yellow=orange) I also use a bit of whatever sky color is predominant because as a rule there's blue in shadows, so the bottoms of clouds and the places where there are cast shadows inside the clouds have blue in them, but I don't want it to look like a hole with the sky showing through.

That, and I LIKE purple and orange better than any other colors, with green running a close third, where yellow, red and blue are nice but not fun.

Deborah

David Patterson
03-31-2008, 10:38 AM
What a great demo...thanks Deborah!

David

Karen Margulis
04-01-2008, 07:43 AM
Thanks for a great demo Deborah! You've inspired me to try a cloud painting today! I just love your colorful clouds!!!

Karen

scall0way
04-01-2008, 08:28 AM
Wow, I love this demo. I adore clouds and I adore colors, so a perfect combo! I remember the first time I tried to do some clouds while attempting my first plein air - back in May 2005 just a couple months after I'd started art lessons and discovered pastels. They looked just like big fat cotton balls tossed up into the sky, :lol:.

I could just sit and stare at your clouds for hours. You've inspired me to think of using far more colors in my clouds.

Deborah Secor
04-02-2008, 04:27 PM
Okay, are you all ready to see the last few steps in this demo? I tried to take shots every step of the way. Hope it isn't overwhelming--you can just skip ahead if you want to! (I'm always so impatient at a demo, just wanting to fast forward...even when I watch a little short clip, like on YouTube!)

I'm going to show you the overall progress of the painting, and then show some detail shot progressions in the next post. Here's how it went:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7969.JPG
I was unhappy with the structure of the clouds on the right-hand side, so I reshaped and relayered them. I decided to make that large cloud on the right bigger and looser. I added a lot of medium-dark purple over the shadowy cloud areas to unify them.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7972.JPG
I neutralized all the darker areas, but mostly I made the distant clouds yellow in color.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7977.JPG
After tweaking the shapes of the cloud banks, which looked a little too much the same size and shape, I added paler peach, a little lavender and some lighter yellow over them. I also recovered the pale turquoise sky at the bottom, reshaping everything a little as I went. I also worked on the light areas of the mid-distant clouds, and unified everything. And I used my inch-wide color shaper to scrape off all that built-up pastel drift. It looks smeared but I knew I would repaint the foreground anyway.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7981.JPG
This is finished for now, with a few touches certain to come but nothing significant! I think you can see what I did with the foreground. Final touches on the sky included reshaping the drift of dark clouds above the reddish mesa, and pulling a bit of the mid-distant clouds over the farthest ones to create depth and believability.

Basically I'm happy with how this came out. It's certainly typical of my part of the country!

Stay tuned...a few details coming.

Deborah

Deborah Secor
04-02-2008, 04:45 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7973.JPG
This shows the yellow clouds in the middle-left side with the yellow layered in place. You can still see the charcoal lines in there. All I wanted was the color and shapes in place.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7975.JPG
I added peach, lavender and pale, pale pinkish-yellow on top to sculpt the shapes of them, and used my small wedge Colour Shaper to soften the shadow side. I've also darkened the cloud edges above and added some light to that one mid-distance one.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7979.JPG
I backed off a little here to show you how I reshaped the bank of clouds. I reworked the sky a lot, too. You also get a glimpse of the colors I've worked with in the clouds above that.


And here's another progression showing the distant yellow cloud on the right side:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7974.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7976.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2008/23609-DSCN7980.JPG

Hope that's instructive! If you have questions, I'll do my best to answer them for you.

Deborah

*Violet*
04-02-2008, 06:22 PM
hope? -- it's *definitely* instructive !! ... and informative ... and a fabulous demonstration overall !! ...

now either this post in particular can be saved to favourites (by clicking *add post to favourites* just above deborah's name on this post - #30 in this thread ... remembering to also click on *add post to favourites* on the subsequent page to confirm your request - you will then be returned to the post) ... then when you invoke the name of this post from your *favourites* menu in the 2nd header of the page it will bring you back to this particular post !!

or .... add the whole thread to your favourites (by selecting *add thread to favourites* from the *thread tools* menu in the thread's header bar ... remembering to also click on *add thread to favourites* on the subsequent page to confirm your request - you will then be returned to the post) ... then when you invoke the name of this post from your *favourites* menu in the 2nd header of the page it will bring you back to the first page of this thread !!

Deborah Secor
04-03-2008, 12:14 AM
Thanks for all that advice, Violet! I don't know why I've never used these functions, but I'm glad to know about them.

Deborah

Scottyarthur
04-03-2008, 09:00 PM
I like the color and depth of the clouds there are really nice.

Deborah Secor
04-03-2008, 11:42 PM
As I presented it in class today I decided that the big darker cloud on the right-hand side has to be reshaped along the bottom. It needs a bit of flatness, I think, and then I'll allow the wispy clouds to drape from that. I'll probably tweak it a bit more and then maybe show the final, final version! :D

Deborah