Cloud study

We had been traveling the past week, and traveling is always such a wonderful opportunity to capture exciting new sights and scenes. Don't you think that when you are traveling, even the mundane looks exciting? For example, clouds!

Here in the bay area we don't usually get big large clouds. In fact I realized only recently, living in an urban area, we don't usually look up at the sky much. Traveling across the country in the train, I got to see clouds with new eyes, how different they look in different parts of the country, how they look different at different times of the day, how they can be used in exciting ways to compose a landscape painting.

I would love to learn more about painting clouds, beyond the usual ultramarine blue and dad out a few wisps of clouds with a kitchen towel. 

Here are a couple of studies done from the view out of our Amtrak window, somewhere in Utah.

clouds in watercolor

There are parts of the above sketch that I liked, but there was a lot that I didn't. I used it as a learning opportunity to make notes of what needs to be worked on. I used a different approach in the next sketch, and focussed on achieving painterly effects as opposed to accuracy. 

clouds in watercolor

I learned a lot from the cloud study actually.

  • Clouds can be used to add much drama to a composition of a landscape. 
  • There is a lot of interesting perspective involved in drawing and painting clouds accurately. 
  • Clouds look different depending on how they are lit. Paying attention to the shapes and shadows in clouds can add to the drama. 

I will have a lot of opportunity to practice this subject because I have taken a number of photographs from the train window. I am very excited about this new discovery.