Skies and Clouds, Late Autumn Studio Paining by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

Late Autumn

When we look at the sky to paint it, our first question is to ask if the sky is active or quiet. If active, our whole painting might take on the feeling of the wind moving over the landscape. It will affect the way we portray the trees, grasses, and any other part of the landscape that can be affected by the wind. Sometimes, it's only high above that we see the clouds racing by, and the earth remains somewhat quiet. Whichever it may be, remember that they feeling of your sky will affect the rest of the painting, and that they must not conflict. Learning to put volume into your sky is one of the most basic challenges of the landscape painter. But anyone who has spent any time looking up will know that the sky is like and upturned bowl, and that the sky color at the very top is usually very, very different from the sky color at the horizon. If you can follow this color change all the way to the background in the painting, your sky will have volume and will recede into the distance and give your landscape volume. Generally, the clouds overhead are much larger than you would expect, and clouds in the distance shrink in size and fade in color just like the rest of the landscape does as it recedes. The sky is most often cool in color, and the sunlit clouds are usually warmer. Up close the undersides of the clouds are usually darker and more ragged, but still much lighter than land. As clouds are seen in the distance, their bases become flatter and there image sharper and clearer. The also be come smaller, and will be warmer in color as they near the land. Practically, it will help to have your brightest clouds nearer to center of interest of your painting. Much of the painting above was done with a palette knife, and there's a nice sense of clouds and movement in the sky.