Saturday, August 13, 2016


The mark of a beginning painter is the unimaginative blue sky, painted with the same hue and value all the way down to the horizon.  No gradation or color change.  Clouds are not designed well to enhance the composition.  In watercolor, often Kleenex is used to blot out clouds, creating a surface that has been disturbed. 

Better to paint the clouds first and plan the placement of clouds.  Then, paint the sky around them while the cloud area is still wet to achieve soft edges. 

While painting with the Plein Air Painters of Maine (PAPME) this week, the sky looked rather threatening as the clouds moved in.  Being true to the atmosphere of the day, I decided to paint the bright area of the sky yellow and then paint the oncoming clouds a neutral gray.  When that dried, I was able to move down the page painting the background headlands and the negative spaces around the boat.

Deciding whether or not to include clouds is also important.  Since this painting was about the weather, clouds were there to tell the story.  No blues were required!

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