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How to paint cloudsMay 26, 2021 By LifeArt School Off
Painting a stormy sky with its dark, dramatic clouds or the pinks and reds of a sunset is very appealing. A little knowledge about the common cloud forms and their characteristics will help you to capture these scenes and enable you to add credible clouds to any painting.
Although it’s invisible to the naked eye, the air around us contains water vapor. When air rises, this cools the water vapor, which then forms droplets or, at a high altitude, freezes into ice crystals. This is what we see as clouds. Slow-rising air creates sheets of cloud, while fast-rising air creates cotton-wool lumps of clouds.
Clouds are classified by how high up in the atmosphere they occur. The long, sheet- or ribbon-like clouds found in rows at low altitudes are stratus clouds. Rows of small, cotton-wool clouds found at similar altitudes are called stratus cumulus. Large, billowing, cotton-wool clouds arecumulus clouds. These can extend to great altitudes; when the top flattens out in an anvil shape it gets called a cumulonimbus cloud (nimbus is a term used to describe a dark, rain-bearing cloud). Cumulonimbus clouds are the ones that generate dramatic thunder storms and hail. The whispy clouds found at very high altitudes are cirrus clouds; these are made from ice crystals.
How to Paint Stratus Clouds
You want long, horizontal sweeps across your painting, so use a flat, wide brush. The lines of the cloud should almost be parallel, but paint them freehand, not using a ruler. If they’re perfectly parallel they’ll look artificial. Remember that perspective applies to clouds too, so they become narrower (smaller) and paler the further away they are.
How to Paint Cumulus Clouds
Think of the strong winds that whip up these clouds, and try to translate this action into brush strokes. Work fast and energetic not slow and painstakingly meticulous. Resist the temptation to make these clouds simply white with dark shadows. Clouds reflect colours and may include reds, mauves, yellows, grays. Concentrate on the shadows, which give the clouds shape.
Suggested colors: Alizarin Crimson for pink tints; Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Orange for golds; Payne’s Grey or Burnt Sienna mixed with one of the blues used in the sky.
Landscape Art Workshop!
- Arranging and rearranging nature components, picking what is important and what is not.
- Creating a toned canvas to help set the mood of the work and expedite the painting process.
- Mixing bright clean colors.
- How to paint a value study using only three colors.
- The importance of connecting shapes based on value.
- Selecting a limited palette to simplify the mixing process and make color harmony almost automatic
- Why it is important to simplify and leave some parts of the painting for the viewer to interpret.
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About The Author
Leonie has been painting for 30 years. she has a degree in Art as well as a Teaching diploma. Her dream has always been to help other reach their full potential, in art as well as in daily life. LifeArt School has been in operation since 2004 and has managed to help various students become full time artists. Leonie is also a well know local and international artist. She paints three days a week and her work is available in various galleries.