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You can do this simple little exercise on a sheet of paper with some colored pencils. Later people will wonder why you keep looking up at the sky and most likely assume you are either idealistic or a deep thinker (both these roles being totally foreign to most painters).

Using simple perspective construct some blocks ( lighter lines than above).
The light source will be front, top and left.
Then we do some simple shading ...

And a mid-tone and a cast shadow. When painting use colors from your existing sky.

Breaking it up ...

A little rubbing - easy with oils and a wet finger - but try and leave a few sharp edges here and there.

Crop and add a few more ground shadows. Remember that clouds always cast shadows on the ground if the sun is overhead.

Thus a simple background is made!

Other cloud shapes are just as easily done if you remember all clouds have shape, definition and perspective. Try and decide their shape first then just obey the rules of shading as if they were solid objects. You can easily make them misty or wispy later.

Note the cloud perspective in my 'Portsmouth 1792' painting below.


STUDENT ACTIVITY: Change the seascape underneath the clouds into a landscape taking care to place the shadows. Allow 40min for all.


GO TO ... what is color?

............or back to main lesson list