Friday, February 27, 2015

Skies of (Painted) Color

Sailing In5x7 Watercolor on 90# Paper©BEDeuel  Bronson Hill Arts 2008

When we see those perfect sunny-day clouds floating above us, we see white puffs moving across the horizon, usually against a bright blue sky. As painters & photographers & poets, we also know that those clouds are never just "white". There are blues, purples, pinks, even greens mingled in the vapor canvases up there. 
Vermont Sunset
11x14 Water Soluble Oils on Gallery Stretched Canvas
©BEDeuel Bronson Hill Arts 2013

Painting a sky above a landscape is generally easy to capture, largely because it is put into perspective by the foreground. The colors of sky and land intertwine & reflect, but the differences in textures also help to create necessary depth.

Once you're painting upwardly, as if you are in the clouds with your subject, gaining depth, I find, is very different to portray. There are colors & shadows to help, but keeping proportion and perspective is not so easy for me.

This is the 2nd attempt I've made to paint a specific subject. And, even though I'm generally happy with the cloud formations on both pieces as they are, they will not work for the composition I want to create. 

This is what I did with the first attempt:
Start of Balloon...

Balloon Amidst Clouds
20x16 Water Soluble Oils on
Gallery Stretched Canvas
©BEDeuel Bronson Hill Arts 2014

And, yes, I am very pleased with the whole piece with setting the hot air balloon against the clouds. However, if you look, you'll see that there is a lack of shadows to create a depth to the clouds. The mix of pink, blue & white definitely gives one the sense of clouds, but, the expanse of the cloud cover is limited. So, technically, this is the first "fail" to paint "in the clouds".

This is the second attempt:
Start of Mystery Blue Skies

Next Step of Mystery Blue Skies

Right now,the clouds are almost monochromatic: Prussian blue mostly, a touch of Cerulean blue, and titanium white. The base is somewhat "starred" with the colors being crosshatched. (I've discovered that I really, really like this effect. Maybe I like it too much!) The next step is to add some "shine" to it with some golden/yellow hues... after I fix the mottled clouds to the right-hand side of the canvas, that is. I like the depth of the shadows as they are, though. So one hurdle overcome since the last attempt. You can also probably tell that the 2 canvases were started from the same template photo. Hmmm....


The clouds are too small & distant for the subject I want to paint. So it's time to rethink what subject I can do with this canvas! 
High Clouds
6x9 Watercolor on 140#
Canson Paper
©BEDeuel Bronson Hill Arts 2011

The encouraging aspect of all of this is that, each time, I see a breakthrough in executing a design. Always learning, learning, learning! Just looking back at this earlier attempt at clouds makes the point for me. I do still love this piece, but the flow of the clouds is not really there.

What discoveries have you uncovered with your artistic techniques of late? 
Ice Fog
7x5 Water Soluble Oil on Gallery Stretched Canvas
©BEDeuel Bronson Hill Arts 2011
And, yes, it is still colder than any winter in memory around here. Hopefully, not so much where you are!


  1. Good work, I like how you work the sky and the sunset. Saludos

  2. Wonderful skies, especially the Vermont sky. Happy PPF on Saturday.

  3. Beautiful art! I adore your "Ice Fog"!

  4. Gorgeous paintings for us to see here today! Wonder if you'd consider posting one of them for our new theme of "Spring" at Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens ... even if it's a snowy spring for you? Would love to see your art there again!


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