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Monday, August 08, 2016

Sky Painting Tip #1 The Arrangement of Clouds

'The View from the Marsh'        9x12       pastel      ©Karen Margulis
available $155
It is Sky Week here in my studio. I am gearing up for next week's workshop on painting skies so you could say that my head is in the clouds! I am also celebrating the release of my latest pdf demo booklet. The booklet is more than just a step by step demo. (more on this later this week) To celebrate, let's talk about clouds today!

I will open the discussion with my new favorite sky quote from our friend Bob Ross.

"Clouds are very very free"

A simple statement but one that is so important to painting beautiful clouds. It is a statement that gives us freedom. It gives us permission to paint beautiful expressive clouds. It reminds us that we don't have to copy the clouds exactly as we see them. Clouds are free and so are we!

a dry wash underpainting on Canson Mi-Teintes

Sometimes we are guilty of being caught up in getting things 'right'. We are afraid to move away from our references. It can get us into trouble especially with things such as clouds. Clouds move and change constantly. A photo is just a moment in time and the clouds are frozen in a photo. It isn't natural. They may not  be arranged in a interesting way. They may even form odd shapes. When we copy these things we copy these problems. Our clouds may look stiff and heavy. We might have to explain "Well that's how they were in the photo."  So what should we do instead?

The initial layers
Give yourself the freedom to move clouds around and change them so that they support and add to your composition. Arrange them so that they become interesting shapes and so that the sky becomes an interesting negative shape. Give thought to your clouds. Allow the clouds to evolve and don't box them in. Clouds are free and so are we!

For more cloud and sky tips check out my cloud demo on Etsy

Painting information: reference photo not available (lost in a huge pile) Canson Mi-Tientes gray with Terry Ludwig pastels.

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