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Clouds and Sunbeams
When taking a trip a visual artist needs to plan the painting route from start to finish. So with the "After the Storm" oil painting clouds a step by step mental painting plan is first formed. Brushing on paint colors is started with the really light blue sky areas and then brushing in the surrounding darker blue cloudy areas around the bright source of light. Painting this way the artwork can be thought of as light blue sky areas being the background area and the darker blue cloud areas as the foreground.
In the lighter painted background sky area color sections of this artwork is placed on the canvas center. Numbered below is how the artist oil colors will be brushed on as viewed in the reference image to the right. I start painting with number one the lightest hues.
A thought to keep in mind as you view this image is that the top portion where the sun is. It's as if your looking at the sky just about overhead at say 12 o'clock noon. This is important for as you paint the lower clouds that reside towards the horizon line, your painted clouds should look smaller and more like the edge of a plates. Painting with this thought in mind produces the effect of distance in your painting. On a cloudy day take time and study the shapes, colors and sizes of clouds as they float across the sky.
One: Bright Sunlight Top Center Area
Three artist colors are used to begin painting in the background area. They are Titanium White, Thalo Blue and Cobalt Blue. It's a blending of each color, one into the other that imitates the atmosphere and cloudy appearance of the sky. Begin by painting in a small area of Titanium White near the top in about a two inch circle. At the bottom of your painted circle add in just a touch of Thalo Blue. Be mindful that Thalo Blue is very rich in color so you don't need very much on your paintbrush. Think of using a ratio of 95% White and 5% Thalo Blue to start out with. Blend the Thalo Blue back and forth like a happy smile at the base of your two inch circle. Move up into the white area while blending letting the blue fade in value.
Image an upside down V as your painting. Later around the outer edges of the V is where darker clouds will be painted in. The inner portion of the V is where your brighter colors need to placed. Some adjusting can be made depending on the cloud formations you are painting. Keeping this in mind helps to provide a mental roadmap to your artwork.
Two : Lightest Blue Sky Area.
This where the bright sun light illuminates the atmosphere in the oil painting composition. It is where I often use Titanium White with just a pitch of Thalo Blue. I blend this mixture so that it fades into the white.
This is a medium blue color area where the cloud moisture in the atmosphere begins. Together all those zillion upon zillions of tiny water droplets are here reflecting the sunlight. You may want to introduce a slight hint of Cobalt Blue as you brush paint into this area. Lessen your white paint and strengthen the blue colors while painting downward on your canvas.
Four : Darker Colored Storm Clouds.
Instead of using a premixed black artist oil paint I prefer to mix up a small pile of Viridian and Alizarin Crimson of equal parts. This may seem strange because it produces a rich dark black. But this color mix can be adjusted according to the colors I want to achieve in my artwork. After mixing by adding white you can create a grayish color for shadows in the clouds.
Before brushing in the sunbeams I let the whole painting dry completely. This enables me to start painting with thick artist paint without worrying about any previous painted areas blending. Then selecting an area of the artwork that will have the brightest sunlight and at an edge of a cloud I brush on Titanium White. All the while as I work along the cloud's edge I brush the paint out and downward on the canvas away from the cloud edge creating the sun ray. I let the paint thin out the further away I paint from the cloud. Painting this way lets the previously dried painted surface show through.
Cobalt Blue, White, Ultramarine Blue
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