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Painting Workshop 15
 

Demo Painting

"Cloud Studies" 11x12" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson

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This Month's Challenge

Clouds are one of the most requested workshop topics. They are an illusive subject, constantly changing and breaking the rules we might place upon their appearance. When you paint them you run the fine line between analytically constructing them and abstractly applying the paint. When painted well they can be a true source of inspiration, but when painted poorly, well, let's just learn how to paint good ones...

Workshop Challenge

Challenge 1

The challenge this time is to simply come to grips with painting clouds and that means studying them until your brain hurts and then trying to paint them. In the demo video I show you several key tips and paint four different cloud studies for you, but the rest is up to you. You can either paint from life or from the photos provided or from your own, just so long as you manage to try out several different types of cloud formation and lighting conditions. Each one presents a different challenge. Do several cloud studies following the techniques presented in the demo video until you feel like you've learned something new. Happy painting!

Click image to enlarge.    
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
 
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
     
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
 
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
     

 

Here's a video explaining how to analyse colour and value with a colour checker:

Can't see this video? Watch it on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVny7BswdqY

Get The Ultimate Painter's Tool here: http://www.livepaintinglessons.com/ultimatetool/index.php



Note: If you can't see the videos on this page (above) or on Youtube, I can't help with that sorry - there will be something wrong with your computer settings, but I'm no computer wiz. You would need to contact a computery person to fix that problem.

 

Gallery of the Month's Workshop Challenge Entries  






Painting Critiques

painting

"Sunset Reflections" 16x20" Oil on Canvas by Michael J Severin

    photoshopped version
    My photoshopped version.

Michael I love the broken colour technique you've used here - adding different hues while keeping the value the same - it makes for a wonderful shimmering effect in the sky. Your cloud forms are great - smaller and flatter on the bottom as they recede which is creating all that wonderful depth in your painting. I'm also enjoying the painterly treatment of the foreground rocks.

What I'd like to see done better is the small transition between the orange sky and the sky above it because it seems a little abrupt at the moment but I think the bigger issue could be the strength of all that orange which to me is verging on gaudy rather than beautiful, but hey that's just my opinion and everyone's gaudy-meter is set to different tolerances. I hear this little voice (sounds a lot like Clyde Aspevig) saying 'Taste equals restraint'. Sort of like 'discretion is the best part of valor'. Take out of that what you will but I personally prefer to save those highest saturated colours for the small area right around the sun.

The blue in your water is too light (unless you wanted it to look like mist or ice). I would darken that a little and let the yellowy lights be the lightest part of the water. The distant blue land is too blue for it's proximity to all that powerful orange atmosphere - it should be closer to the colour of the atmosphere. Note that in my photoshopped version I just changed the colour of the atmosphere (mostly) and that made the land fit right in. The darkest values of your foreground and midground rocks are the same whereas if you'd made the midgrounds values very slightly lighter it would have added to the depth instead of subtracted. Overall my first impression was 'great!' so these are just some small points I would look at if I were you. Good work! By the way I couldn't poke any holes at all in your 'Manhatten Beach Pier' painting so I chose this one to pick on.

 

painting

'4 Cloud Studies' Oil on canvas by Pamela Meredith

Great work Pamela. There are a couple of areas in the two on the left where your sharp edges could have been a bit softer, but other than that you've done a great job of the colours and cloud forms.

 

painting

'Different Cloud Studies' 16x20" Oil on canvas by Helen Tyralik

Good work Helen. Mostly all good. Your best cloud forms are on the left whereas the ones of the top right got a bit confused in the darker values, as well as how the land connects to the sea and the clouds bottom left are a bit malformed. Notice there you reversed the idea of flattening the bases as the recede - you have the one closest to us with the flattest base. There's also the overpowering orange in that scene which stops abruptly behind the cloud rather than transitioning smoothly. Looking at these paintings in a mirror will give you a whole new feeling for what's going wrong (or right) with your could shapes. Great studying!

painting

'Remains of the Day' 55x39cm Oil on Canvas by John Main

Hi John, great painting! Love the composition and the totally organic cloud shapes. The only thing I want to bring to your attention is the value of the oranges in the 'silver lining' of your clouds. All that rim lighting should be lighter than the shadow side of the cloud. If you view it in grayscale (see my picture) you can see some of the orange lights are darker than the shadow. Other than that I love it.

grayed version

 

 

painting

'Cloud studies and reference photos' by Lyn Boyer

Fantastic studies Lyn! Great shapes, colours and compositions. Very deftly done. Beautiful work.

 

My final painting

Demo Painting

"Cloud Studies" 11x12" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson
Purchase the fine art print here >>

sketches

Like a sculptor I begin by visualising a cloud as a basic blocky construction in 3 dimensions, so it's very simple but it still has depth and light and shade.
I then think about where the halftones will go - those planes that are turned half away from the light. I mix three colours - one for the shadow which is normally cooler, one for the halftones a little lighter and warmer and then one colour for the lights which are lighter and warmer again.

As clouds get further away their bases tend to get flatter, they get smaller of course and their colours lose contrast, which is to say they become more like the colour of the sky, their lights getting darker and their darks lighter. I often think of a sky full of clouds as a great floating city with huge empty streets running through it.

Every artist will treat clouds differently but for me the key is simplying the forms but giving them enough variation that they don't look like cotton balls.




brush

Get the Demonstration Video

 

Demo Painting from workshop

Painting Workshop 15
'Clouds'
 
Clouds are one of the most requested workshop topics. They are an illusive subject, constantly changing and breaking the rules we might place upon their appearance. When you paint them you run the fine line between analytically constructing them and abstractly applying the paint. When painted well they can be a true source of inspiration, but when painted poorly, well, let's just learn how to paint good ones...
 
 
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