Cloudy Skies

Andy Walker
A free video tutorial from Andy Walker
Art teacher and artist
4.6 instructor rating • 9 courses • 8,846 students

Lecture description

Adding clouds to a sky will increase it's interest. In fact they can become the main focus of the painting. I'll show you how to paint realistic clouds in a variety of ways.

Learn more from the full course

Paint Landscapes in Watercolor Part 1

Learn how to paint realistic landscapes in a loose and free style

01:37:01 of on-demand video • Updated April 2020

  • Paint landscapes in a loose and easy style
English [Auto] All the show you for different ways to paint clouds and we're going to start off with a very simple one which is just using loose brushwork and one color. So let's mix up our color. We're going to use Sir William blue for this one so let's make a puddle of surreally and blue that's a lovely color that we can use for skies. It's going to have plenty of water to it to mix up enough that I can cover the paper that I'm going to work on. Just taste that color out. Yep that's about the right that doubled it too dark. I don't want it to light. The sky is usually the lightest part of any painting. Not always but quite often that's really blue. This needs to be tempered a bit with a bit of burnt sienna and blue on its own. It's a lovely color you use. It depends where you live in the world but if you're living in Britain or part of the northern hemisphere it can be a little bit bright. So just touch a tiny bit of CNN with it just to dull it down a little bit and make it slightly gray. And that's a good color now from my sky. So here's the paper we're going to work out. And they're just going to come in with some very loose brushwork really amusing. A flat brush here and just lots of sort of vertical ish marks across the top of the sky. Just brushing it in very loosely leaving white paper as well. I'm going to just wash brush down a little bit. Just water the paint down a little bit and put some smooth paint along the bottom near the horizon more most of horizontal marks there and just more diluted paint a lot of color just along the horizon line there. Tamp that down a little bit that's a little bit strong in places just for the tissue just lift some of that off and just wanted it to be lighter near or near the bottom because that's the way this guy often goes darker at the top and lighter at the bottom. So there we are. That's this sky don't let it dry and just paint a little landscape on top and see how that goes. Second method is just painting in some light clouds with a second color. So again got some mixes here got a mix of ultramarine blue which are going to use this time of the sky. And could a little touch operate see enter into it the same as we did in the first one just to dull it down just ever so slightly. And I'm also going to use yellow ochre as my second color. So let's go to the paper and begin to paint and that's going to dampen the paper a little bit on this one just in places with a little bit of clean water just to allow the paint to run and go smooth. And coming in here with the yellow ochre just a patch of sunlight really it could be clouds could be sunlight just something there just to break up the sky and make it a little bit different from all too much of that. I want to keep most of the sky blue sun coming in now and just feeding in the blue top where it hits the west area at the bottom it'll just sort of run smoothly into that it leaves some crisper areas at the top and smooth at the bottom pretty much the same effect as we had in the first wave painting. But this is just a different way of doing it. So there we are. Just what is the paint down at the bottom and creates that lovely sort of soft effect with a little bit more going on towards the top of the sky. So there we are ready that's that I'm just going to use some of the sky color the yellow ochre there in the foreground as well just to tie the two things together. It's important to tie this guy into the ground of a landscape. So if he can use that color to do that that's an easy way of doing that. And we'll just then let that dry once again and then painting the rest of the landscape on top. It's very easy to paint this car like that it's just the two colors but it's very effective. And that yellow Passhe just add something to it. The third way is to lift off some of the blue sky in order to create the clouds. So let's come in again. With some awesome marine blue which we use to the sky and a little touch of cadmium red as well just to create a shadow color just want to make a very dull purple and ultra marine blue and cadmium red does a great nice dull purple which we can use for the shadows in the clouds. Yes. Get that right. That's a better color. Just mix it until it's right. Check it out on the paper and we've got some pale yellow Kurzweil for the sun that parts of the clouds so very blue the purple color and yellow. OK. So let's come in now with the ultimate rim blow and paints in the sky and it's going to change it quite quickly. Roughly. There we go. It don't starting to take more than a few seconds really to pop that sky and it can be a little rough it doesn't matter because we're going to get some clouds in on top of that. So just paint the sky like that and then I'm going to come in with a tissue and just lift off wearable McLeod's to be theirs as long as I do this as soon as the paint is down it'll lift right off and give us the clear white paper underneath down to the twisting and turning the tissue around to get different marks. Don't just want the same pattern repeated or to create something that looks like clouds. A bit of yellow ochre just for OPOWER just in a few places want to leave some whites as well. Just thinking about where the sunlight might hit the top of the clouds and then where the bustle of the clouds are. Just want to put in a little bit of the purple color the dull purple shadow color and just with the damp brush just soften those edges. Just want to make it nice and soft around the edges. So just dumping the brush down roots of a mortar just softening those edges up. Lovely ones want to use that brush as well just to make some fine adjustments. So fiddle around too much they have to do all this while the blue sky is still wet. Just make a few little changes to it just to tidy up and one or two places. And there we have it and we can pop a landscape in below that Sky-High Here's another way of doing it. Here's another one here which is a typical scene in the clouds that are exactly the same way. And the fourth way is to paint around the clouds. And for this we need to be thinking negatively but the buyer pathway but in a way that helps us to paint this painting we would use ultramarine blue and surrealism blue. We're going to use the two colors in the sky. This is a photograph from a friend of mine and it shows the dark sky at the top and the are at the bottom which is the ocean at the top. And so really blue at the bottom and we often see that in the skies it was paler. And we can use yellow ochre and aquamarine and Capri and red mix as well just as we've done before. So here we go. What I'm doing now is thinking of the white shapes of the clouds and painting in the blue sky around. That's what I mean by thinking negatively I'm thinking of the negative shapes of the clouds and I'm painting in the the blue sky around them. So I'm thinking what shape are the clouds and where is the sky. If you want you can draw in the clouds but this is best not to do that really it's best to be but will free and wash from a brush. And kumain just damp it down a little bit so as not to too wet with a damp brush. Come in around the edges. Just to soften the sky. Just around the clouds you don't want to harden edge you can have hard edges if you will. But it's good to have a mix really. Troy here just to soften a lot of them down there just around the edges of the clouds that were going to come in with his brilliant blue towards the bottom of the sky and do the same thing to altering the top which is dark blue at the bottom which is lighter and it'll give us the effects of the the curve of the earth. Again just wash it off the brush and just making it just damp not wet. Using an old sponge just to soak up the water. And once again just soften the edges. These are the clouds. Think all the time. The shape of the clouds looking at the whites trying to get the shape of that and painting the blue sky around that. So now we need to come in with some of the the formation of the clouds really with the with the shadow colors to are dull purple the old marine blue Academy of red and has come in with that locating where I think the shadows might be haven't been but this really make it up as we go along. But you just get an idea in your head and work with it and again with that brush that's come in around the edges of that just to soften everything down. But see here how Already the clouds are beginning to form we're beginning to get a 3D structure in the beginning to look like real clouds in the sky. This continue just to Diablo's areas that all fuss too much. But you just want some sort of soft soft line soft edges to hard and then to come in slightly with the last color with the yellow ochre just in places just to touch a bit of sunlight really under the clouds clouds are very rarely pure white. Got a bit of color in them so just want to introduce just a little bit of that and once again with a damp brush soften that ends up Nickolas in and that will create up cloudy sky. So we need to do that is put in the landscape. So that's four ways of creating cloudy skies so the summer clouds really. And what I suggest you do is to have a go at that and see how you get on. There's also a worksheet which shows you the steps of this and how these paintings look when they finish so you can copy them yourself.