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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An Effective Way to Paint Better Skies

'Caribbean Sky I'    4x4    pastel
"The Sky is the source of Light in Nature and governs everything"  John Constable
Get the sky right!  It is one of the most important elements in a landscape painting.  The sky is the light source and it sets the mood of the scene. Even if the sky doesn't play an important role in the painting it still deserves more treatment than some blue paint or pastel marks. It is important to our growth as landscape painters to understand the sky and the clouds.

John Constable knew how important it was. He studied the skies and is known for his clouds. In fact he undertook a study of the sky in which he completed 50 small painting of just the sky. He would write down the effects he was seeing. This is an excellent exercise and well worth the time and effort.


My Caribbean Skies Plein Air series

Do you want to paint better skies?  Do you struggle with clouds?  The most effective way to improve is  simply to practice.  There is no sky study by Constable that appears to be transferred directly to another composition. They were studies.  He was trying to capture the ever-changing sky so that he would be better equipped to paint more effective skies.  As Mandi Gomez says in her book 'Essential Constable'. "Constable was simply practicing his scales"

What a wonderful way to think of studies. They are like practicing our scales so that when the performance comes we will be ready!   In today's post I am sharing some of my Sky Studies. I did these  while on a cruise. I would paint a small 4x4 study of the sky every day of the cruise. There is no better way to gain confidence in painting skies and clouds than to practice.  My challenge to you this week....Go practice your Sky Scales!

'Caribbean Sky II'     4x4     pastel  available in my Etsy shop $35

It's Cloud and Sky month in my studio classes. I will share some of my lessons here on the blog so if you like what you are reading please be sure to sign up for email updates, follow me on Twitter or on Facebook. Links on the sidebar!

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