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Old 01-01-2009, 08:23 AM
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MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Happy New Year and Welcome.

MTM workshop Painting Clouds and Skies
Hosting Guide - http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=522453

Outine:
Introduction - Samples Famous Artists cloudscapes
Basic Cloud Formations as reference
Colors: Sky, Clouds, Personal Palette and Suggested Color
Photo Links:
WIP - Brush Strokes
MEMBER TO MEMBER Participation, discussion, questions etc.

Introduction:

The Sky above us and the clouds that fill then have been for centuries a favorite of landscape artista and seascape, cloudscape artists alike. When asked many considered these clouds to be the crowning glory of andy "scape" work. A cloudscape refers to the visual representation of clouds, weather forms and other atmospheric condition capturing the imagination of artist and photographers alike. Here are a few who have captured a sense of these billowy formations.






Interesting to note that according to the 19th century critics cloudscapes
were the precusor of abstract expressionism in art.

In this workshop it is my hope that both the beginner and the proficient will findsomething that will assist them in achieving their "crowing" glory
with clouds and skys. It is also my hope that you and I can share some information and paint together, which for me is always the best way to interact, learn and share what it is we have.

Before we begin I would like to thank Maureen (Charlie's Mum) who is her class included, with us in mind, some very good aerial perspective information that is as well necesasry regarding painting even clouds, for they too advance and recede.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...t=529845&page3
(scroll down towards middle)

An explanation of some of the terms used when we talk about painting - always worth repeating!

Hue, Value Intensity and Color:

A color described as "blue" or "red-orange" is known as a "Hue".
If you describe a color as pale or dark you are referring to it's "Value".
Relative lightness to darkness is called value and often you will see a scale
of color without the hue, shades of gray, very light to very dark.

A colors "brightness" is known as it's "Intensity". I have a dimmer switch on one of my chandeliers, if I were to change the bulbs to all red or green I could control the
intensity of the color those bulbs would give off. I wouldn't be changing the color of the bulbs but I would be changing how much I "increase" or "decrease" that intensity.

Color Temperature:

Since a sky and the clouds on them often suggest certain temperatures, atmospheric conditions maybe it will be helpful to apply some explanation of color temperature here as well.

The "warmth" of a color or the "coldness" of a color is known as "color temperature"

Most colors are warm or cool - reds, oranges and violets are in the warm category, and you see their glow and warmth particularly in "sunsets" and "sunrises".
Blues and greens usually classified as cool but as maybe some have come to recognize the cool colors can become more complicated then that. Each color category has it's hot and cold temperatures..within reds you will find hues that are brilliant, hot red and on the other end a very cool red, side by side you can see a striking difference. The cool red contains blue which obviously would make it cooler. Cool yellows contain a hint of green like Yellow Oxide (Ochre) and often there can be some difficulty in using this color in clouds because you can go too green when you may not want to.

Just these few little basic bits of information I think are things we've all learned or some still may have to learn but worthwhile in repeating for any of us. Learning to recognize is part of seeing, all around us in nature, in the sky and clouds these little bits apply when we go mixing colors or applying them to a painting. You can go further in your own investigation of this if you wish cause there's a great deal of instruction published and offered, this just a quickie version..lol
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:55 AM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

( oops few mistakes above, crowning not crow and oh my gosh
nervous spelling..sorry)

Basic Information about cloud formations:


The clouds and the skies they float on offer an artist tremendous possibilities of shapes, sizes, and color that enhance a work. In all these options there are a few basics that I think are good to know.

The key word for me is "harmony" A harmony that will not "detract" from the "focus" of the "elements beneath them."
Following the rules of perspective clouds advance and recede accordingly, offering depth and interest and often great drama as well.

Being able to recognize some basic types of formations, especially if you paint on site, can be a tremendous help in continuing the flow of your endeavors and more accurately. The same is true I also believe for a photo reference, in so far as a reference may not offer cloud formations, or you would like to change seasons, light or whatever inspiration or interpretation that leads you to want to include them.

There is a whole scientific explanation as to why skies are blue, however
we all know they are (for the most part) so suffice it to say, there is no sky that is "just" a single blue. Many different shades and combinations create a sky and these will follow "atmospheric" conditions. From the "bottom" up the blues gradually change, more subtle in clear skies, but to whatever degree your sky occupies a space in your painting the values go from light to dark in the "daytime" and even those night skies will be effected by any light source above or below.
Stormy skies are not as pitch as we see them, but a blue/black Indigo in most cases, but lightning flashes within or behind the clouds themselves will
change the sky closest to that activity. Strikes of lightning as well come into play with your sky color.

First some basic Cloud Formations:

Cumulus: Most likely the best known and recognizable formation. And there are several family member to this one and different way to be seen. The most common way are those huge masses of puffy wool that float through the sky on usually a Fair, Clear, and Sunny day. They have a Classic dome stack shape.

The side of the cloud that is "opposite" the sun usually being very bright. The side "facing" the sun usually appearing dark with bright edges. Underside of these clouds usually flat, however "all" clouds have flat bottoms. The white-ish puffy parts appear mainly on the top and sides of the formation. They can break away from one another where sky shows in between, described by some as looking like "sheep" grazing in a field.



Cumlonimbus- These are much larger and more "vertically developed"
than fair weather cumulus. They can exist as individual towers or form a line of towers called a squall line. They reach high into the atmosphere. Well developed cumulonimbus clouds are also characterized by "flat anvil-like top" (anvil dome) growing vertically rather then horizontally. They form cumulus clouds at a lower level. As they grow they push above freezing level and the top takes on a striated appearance due to the presence of ice crystals.
Showers often heavy, fall from the base. Also associated with displays of "lightning" and when extremely active tornado funnels may drop from their base.



Cirrus Clouds - Wispy and high in the sky, are made up of ice crystals. Usually present on a clear day.
These clouds are sometimes referred to as "feather" clouds or "mare's tails" and point in the direction of air movement at their elevation. Often you see jet streamed cirrus over beaches. Blue-Gray whites.


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Different Strokes in the Acrylics Forum.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:05 AM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Good morning Elaine,
I brought an apple and my paints and I'm grabbing a chair in the front.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:18 AM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Stratus Clouds - Described as almost a "spread sheet" of layered fog that hangs low to the horizon on "gray" days, usually during the winter. They are often layered and sometimes have horizontal stripes that indicate the possibility of rain. Artists often find these clouds to be the easiest
to paint for their simple shape and pattern. These however are rather flat featureless clouds of low altitude varying in color from dark gray to nearly white. Essentially they are ground fog.



Nimbus Clouds - These are "precipitation" clouds, thick in texture and dark in color while being almost umbrella like in shape. Their darkness reflects the amount of water they are carrying and that precipitation may reach earth as either rain or snow, or hail.



Dramatic clouds indeed...and fun to paint. These are a few, so many families would take forever to describe but basically this is a fairly good reference to begin with I think.

Here's a little plate that might be useful as far as shapes;
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Florals/Botanicals,
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:28 AM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Here are some links (changed from outline because..) thought you might like to now take a peek, and perhaps you will find something that you'd like to do from these or from your own references or even your imagination. Then we'll get into Color Palettes, Wips and other less chatty things and we will paint...I truly hope this has been of some interest to you and you're ready to give it a go. I will be back in a bit..

Links - First from our own Reference Library:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/show...y.php?cat=3688
Others provided by FREE NATURE PICTURES.com, this site was taken from
a Wet Canvas thread regarding sites of PUBLIC DOMAIN. There is free use
in whatever manner so long as you acknowledge the site, source and state it.
http://www.freenaturepictures.com/sky-pictures.php
http://www.freenaturepictures.com/cloud-pictures.php

See you in a little while
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Florals/Botanicals,
Different Strokes in the Acrylics Forum.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:39 AM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Oh goody Hi Sharon....so glad you're here. Sorry for the spelling mistakes hmm found a few..hahahaha. Have to run to Mass but shall return, thank you for checking in so early.

Elaine
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Florals/Botanicals,
Different Strokes in the Acrylics Forum.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:24 AM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Elaine, Great information and a wonderful challenge for the new year. Need time to study you info and search through some pics of mine and online to give this a try. Will you be doing a demo too?
Happy new year to Sharon, you beat me to class and I ate my apple on the way.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:38 AM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Hope I am not too late to class...I hope to participate as life allows. I still hope to go back and do the others...if things ever slow down here!!
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:44 AM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

I'm sittin in the back of the classroom....got a big spitball ready....teacher teacher, I declare....
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:34 PM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

I'm back, hi Sheary, Sue, and the class clown Raymo..haha

In answer to you Sheary yes, but I intend as well to continue throughout the time aloted to do perhaps things that are asked, thinking that maybe that would be more helpful.

Next then....COLOR PALETTES FOR SKIES.

Suggested colors which I think are pretty basically known are:
Cerrulean Blue
Ultramarine Blue
and Colbalt Blue...and Ochre, Crimson can be added to your blues which
can offer a lovely sky. Often I choose Ivory White, Naples Yellow, and a color
from the Old Holland Classic Acrylics called Caput Mortuum (Mars violet)

These are suggestions, I don't however stick to the basics myself so if you have a favorite color combination that you find success with please share.
I've not gotten into the dark and stormy colors or the ash fire colors or sunsets here but will as we go on.

This is for the most part my favorite Palettes: Cerrulean Blue + White (good number of times I use the Ivory White which is from the Matisse Structure line of acrylics) or Ultramarine Blue + White. Often I use the Primary Blue from Golden's as well +White. Cerrulean Blue + Paynes Gray + White, Cerrulean Blue + Crimson + white and for very dark skies I'll use an Indigo or Blue/Black adding White or Crimson or Cobalt. Rarely use Black out of the tube.




For those grayish/pink skies I'll mix cerrulean with cad.red medium or light
and add the mixing white or the ivory, sometimes works well for fog-ish
hazes behind cloud formations.

Now this is no where near where it needs to be but wanted to also show the reaction of an Ampersand pastelbord panel. I have been asked if these were a part of how I seem to achieve good clouds and the answer is yes I think it is.



You can see that it spreads like watercolor, allowing me to lay a base color
or several to build upon, towards the bottom of this little panel I hope you can see the reaction is just like laying watercolor on paper, but at the same time it will blend in with whatever color/s you add to it. There seems to be
more play time on these panels. Now I can go in and lay thin layers or heavier ones depending, but generally I do paint in thin layers personally.
This was a mix of Cad.Red Med., Cerrulean Blue and Ivory for the top portion just wiped my brush across with Cad.Yellow deep, Cad.Red Med. and some Ivory. Thing is just plain water will make it run and blend and you really don't loose your color much and it's buildable. I'll be building on this one too as we go along togther.

My WIP panel was just a very subtle change in blues. Now I know people are busy so when I started this one I was thinking that even if a complete painting could not be achieved during these days a simple small practice panel could be done too. I used a panel that I did put gesso on, thought it might be a good idea to do one on some other surface then is my preference.
This is just the sky part..
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:26 PM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Clouds suggested colors:

There are a number of palettes for use, anything other than a simple basic
palette is determined by your preferences, but in general on a bright blue sky
I've found being simple works. Paynes Gray, White, a touch of your sky color
and even and Ochre or Cad.Yellow lit. gets you off to a good start.

You'll probably notice that my sky and my clouds have a lot in common
but in reality they actually do play off one another. Clouds are not just white, tho they look it to us, they reflect colors which could include: reds, mauves, yellows, grays and the like. Shadow concentration gives clouds their shape. For pink tints suggest, Alizarin Crimson,Yellow Ochre and Cadium Orange for golds. Paynes Gray and Burnt Sienna mixed with one of the blues for shadows.

And my personal favorite the Caput Mortuum Violet (mars) which tends towards a brownish mauve. Great for layered wisps on cloud bodies themselves. And front bodies of sunset clouds as well.
Here's my last painting where I used these combos.



Brushes - Someone asked me about brushes but I think we each
have our favorites that we reach for time and time again. I begin with flats and generally switch between those and filberts until I get close to the end where I will use rounds for better detailing.
I don't know if this helps but this is sort of how I begin.



I tend to scrumble in the beginning (which is actually something I believe is familiar to artists who use oils but works with acrylics I've found as well), leaving lighter areas alone at first, then bringing my colors together with a fairly dry brush, I'll drag my paint with the same brush to outer areas for wisps or that gauze look. I try not to have define edges, for me the flat brush allows me to angle it so that I don't.
I generally do not work many areas at a time but depends on what I need defined because I also do not really sketch anything in. i use outlines more often then not.

Okay let's paint!!! We have thirteen days to do some experimenting, sharing and being creative. I will paint along with you, I wanted this to be more of
a show and tell.
I am not a teacher but seem to do better as I see or am asked questions,
please jump in, share, paint, experiment, express, indulge your style and we will learn from each other.

I'm slow so I am sure I will be way behind you, but because I'm slow I did a little cheating.. Here's the start of my first WIP, and ref. just a study panel.









Normally I do not paint my entire background but on this gesso panel I did to see if I could get the same results.



I apologize colors a bit off, my panel is a bit darker and there is some glare.
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Old 01-01-2009, 04:24 PM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

More paint added:



I don't improve in small stages, unfortunately, so from here on you'll see
some big leaps but this is enough for now....see ya later!

Elaine
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Different Strokes in the Acrylics Forum.
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:09 PM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

nice series here...
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:54 PM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Hi Elaine
Great start, look like lot to learn , thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:00 PM
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Re: MTM Jan.1-14 Painting Clouds n Skies

Hi Robert thank you, hope you get some time to maybe come play too.

Graham, thank you too for all the waves and thumbs up. I'm sure it looks like a lot to learn because there was a good deal said, but in all honesty the only thing you have to learn is a few colors, a cloud or two and the rest is in what you see. There are no hard and fast rules I don't believe to achieve a look. It's information but in the end it's what you feel and what you see and if some of the info sticks that's great but I hope it didn't overwhelm you or anyone else, it's really not that hard. And hopefully we'll prove that as we get further along and all the words stop haha and the painting begins. Hope you'll join in!! Would love your company and talent.

Elaine
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Different Strokes in the Acrylics Forum.

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