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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Easiest Way to Paint the Sky

'Afternoon Hush'       9x12       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $145
I love to paint the sky. I even have three different techniques to paint the sky.  Even if it is just a small part of a landscape I always take care to choose the right sky technique. One of my favorite types of skies is also the easiest. I call it an Energetic Sky.

I like to paint an energetic sky when I am painting en plein air. It is fast and allows me to capture the essence of the sky with a minimum of strokes. It is also a great technique to use of large paintings. But every once in awhile I find myself drawn to an energetic sky for smaller paintings. 

It is easy! Just grab about 6 or 7 pastels that are similar in value. These will be your sky colors. Choose your color by the mood you wish to create keeping in mind that most skies will be on the light end of the value scale.

A selection of similar value pastels
  • Take these colors and apply them one at a time. I use the side of the pastel to make broad sweeping marks. I press fairly hard (what I like to call a shouting mark) because I won't be going back over these areas with many layers. I put down a mark and leave it alone.
  • Begin with the darkest pastel in your selection and keep adding the other pastels with broad sweeping marks.
  • Think 'Energetic' and move the pastel around the sky creating interesting marks.
  • Don't overwork! Be brave, Make a mark and leave them alone.
The next 3 photos show the development of my energetic sky. In the photos you can also see how I use the sky color to break up the tree shapes. Another lesson! 

Try this: For your next painting select 6 or 7 pastels of similar value and paint an energetic sky!

I show the step by step demo with detailed commentary on my Patreon page this week. The demo is free this week so you can get an idea of some of the content I offer every day on Patreon.  Check it out!


robertsloan2art said...

Beautiful. Your skies are always so luminous. I love them.


Very wonderful landscape painting !!!