View Full Version : Desert Skyscape

Winny Kerr
07-11-2009, 07:33 PM
Here is an other sky scene I did this afternoon. Took me about 4 hours, don't laugh :lol: . I still struggle with skies. But I paid more attention to form of clouds and my engineer husband said it was a lot better then the last one, hahaha. He is my critique from a technical perspective. :thumbsup:
Anyway, small one 8 X 11 inch, rust colored matboard with 2 coats of primer. I sort of made up the scene from a combination of a few photo's.
C & C very welcome as I learn from my mistakes.


Actually the photo did not come out too badly but a bit dark, the actual painting has more color. Thanks for looking. Winny

Winny Kerr
07-11-2009, 07:41 PM
I'm hoping this photo is a bit better, not as dark but a bit washed out.


Again thanks for looking....Winny

Paula Ford
07-11-2009, 07:41 PM
Laugh? Nothing to laugh at here Winnie! Beautiful job on this! Very nice composition.

Winny Kerr
07-11-2009, 07:44 PM
Oh that was quick, I just loaded it. Thank you Paula, you are always so encouraging. Winny

07-11-2009, 08:19 PM
I agree, its a lovely piece, Winnie.

Donna T
07-11-2009, 08:24 PM
This is wonderful, Winny! The clouds are gorgeous and I love the landscape too - and the composition!


07-11-2009, 08:28 PM
Nice work Winnie

07-11-2009, 08:46 PM
This has a nice feeling of distance to it, and the sky / clouds are "technically speaking" just perfect IMHO. (But now I am listening to Beethoven so I like this open space to go with that big crescendo just when you are almost dozing off):music: :music: :music:

Thanx 4 posting, this pleaseth our eye.:wave:

07-11-2009, 09:44 PM
Winnie, very nice clouds and comp. great depth also in this piece.

07-12-2009, 12:33 AM
This is lovely, reminds of Albuquerque...very nice sky.


07-12-2009, 03:24 AM
Paying attention to the form of the clouds really paid off, well done Winny. Now take a leaf out of Constable's book, and do loads more, you will soon become quite an expert on clouds. Your cloud perspective is really good, and I see that you have completely understood the blue of the sky too, how it is darker above your head than at the horizon, you get loads of gold stars for that!:clap:

If you have a chance, I would also recommend you try a few en plein air. It is of course rather trickier than working from photos, but you will SEE so much more...and actually, it is a rather fun experience as it forces you to work much faster, yuo have to, because the clouds are moving and changing shape all the time.

You did such a good job on these, they look soft and raggedy, with perfect edges, excellent. It is so imnportant NOT to make clouds heavy and rock-like, they are, after all, just made up of water vapour, something many people tend not to realise or take into account. Your clouds look very water-vapoury!

I know you were agonising about colours for clouds, so perhaps this little section from an article written a while back might help?

"Colour will depend enormously on the weather, and the time of day. let me encourage you to believe your eyes, and look not just once, but time and again, to find subtleties of colour. Another little rule of thumb – use coloured greys, not neutral grays made up solely of black and white. Clouds are seldom just pure white; shadows are rarely just neutral gray. Your clouds could contain cream, ochres, umbers, siennas, lavenders, pinks, even grey-greens…be prepared to surprise yourself by trying out some beautiful colour in your clouds, keeping in mind the overall colour theme you have selected for your image. Sky, and land, need to be linked with colour harmonies, and perhaps with echoing shapes too if possible."

I remember seeing some threads by Deborah Secor about colour in clouds, worth re-reading I am sure, and I would encourage you to look at other contemporary artists who paint clouds, you might pick up some good information from them.

But as for these clouds - go Winnie!

Winny Kerr
07-12-2009, 07:50 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments and compliments. I feel a lot better about this cloudscape then the previous one.
Jackie, thank you for your advice and suggestions and comments, was hoping you'd give your views. When the weather cools down a bit from the mid 90F I'll give the Plein Air a try. Meanwhile I will practice a few more. I also need to experiment more with colour as I often am at a loss for what colour to choose.
I have a bit of white matboard off cuts and try different colours and at times mix them, or layer like Deborah does, to see what colour I get. But haven't dared use green yet, LOL. Her skies are so colourful and good. And I do look at other artists' paintings and clouds and see what they have done, and yours too Jackie, you have a nice website.
Thanks again for looking, so appreciate the help. :wave: Winny

pastel lover
07-13-2009, 01:10 AM
Hi Winny,

This is really lovely. Sky, of course, is the star...but I also love those rocks. They make a really nice compliment to the blue sky.


07-13-2009, 03:31 AM
winnie, you might find it helpful to do two things: 1) creep up on colour slowly. Using the bright bold colours that Deborah uses might be a bit too scary to plunge into right away! 1) have a think about colour temperature, when trying to decide upon colours to use.

SUNLIGHT is warm light, therefore where the clouds are illuminated by the sun, you could use warm light tones....cream in with your white always works.

Then, if you use the rule WARM LIGHT = COOL SHADOWS, you can use a variety of cool darker tones for the areas of the cloud in shadow.

If there is a part of the cloud which is light, but not lit directly by sunlight, then it might be cooler.

The time of day might have an impact....in the mornings and at sunset, the sun's light is much more yellow at times and spmetimes pink, and even orange, even the ground is tinted with these colours

the weather has its impact too...thunderclouds can have a variety of purples and blues within them, but these are never quite the same blues and purples as the sky.

Here are a few helpful dos and donts which I found somewhere:

DO note the direction of the light source, and see how it affects the clouds...are they lit from one side, or backlit, or is the sun behind YOU, making lots of light-coloured cloud shapes with sun reflectiin off them? Do the clouds have silver linings? There is a lot to observe.

DO establish what kind of sky it is...still, hazy, moving, warm, cold.

DO decide upon an arrangement for the sky and keep to it, even if the clouds move - this means working fast. Dont try to keep changing in the painting to keep up with sky changes.

DONT use pure white alone in your clouds - cloud highlights are rarely pure white although they may look white if they are next to darker tones. Use white mixed with creams and very light yellow ochres.

DO vary the blues in the sky area (you know this one)

DO use warm or cool greys, not just neutral grey.

DO try to make your clouds filmy and evanescent, not solid and clumpy with no variation to edge, no melting to nothingness. Clouds are VAPOUR, best to try to remember this.
Finally, I leave you with this wonderful part of a treatise called "Of Truth of Clouds" written by John Ruskin many, many years ago:

"Perhaps the most grievous fault of all, in the clouds of many of the masters, is the utter want of transparency. Not in her most ponderous and lightless masses will nature ever leave us without some evidence of transmitted sunshine; and she perpetually gives us passages in which the vapour becomes visible only by the sunshine which it arrests and holds within itself, not caught on its surface, but entangles in its mass - floating fleeces, precious with the gold of heaven; and this translucency is especially indicated on the dark sides even of her heaviest wreaths, which possess opalescent and delicate hues of partial illumination, far more dependent upon the beams which pass through them than on those which are reflected upon them."

"Floating fleeces, precious with the gold of heaven". I love that - don't you?


07-13-2009, 09:48 AM
Incidentally - I have just returned from a journey on the motorway. Some of the time it was rainy; some of the time it was sunny. In front of me was a white Transit Van. The sky was full of clouds, and I found myself comparing the white roof of the transit van with the white in the clouds.

Interesting exercise. Do try it.

Winny Kerr
07-13-2009, 01:38 PM
Hi Jackie,
Again thank you for all your helpful advice. I kept this thread to be able to go back to it and refresh my mind on your comments.
All these things, time of day and where the sun is and light comes from etc, types of clouds, all need to be worked out ahead of time.
I have to tell you we were driving on our Highway last week too and they had just restriped the lanes and the white lines were still clean and brightly white. And it stood out so obviously against the cloudy sky as those clouds were anything but white. And I pointed it out to my hubby and remembered what you had said. It was just such a funny thing to notice after you mentioned it.
And "Floating fleeces, precious with the gold of heaven", describes those clouds so perfectly, thank you for sharing that.
Till next time....Winny