Watercolor Training 2: Painting Clouds


Welcome to Cheap Joe's Test Studio!

I'd like to show you one or two approaches to clouds. People seem to want to do a lot of different skies and I do, too. They're so easy to do and we're gonna take a couple of minutes - that's about what it takes - because we want to get in there and get out.

Here's one approach:

To show you the clouds or sky, I've done this little drawing of a local scene in the wintertime. We're going to have some clouds back in here and some darker sky above because it is still wintertime.

The first thing I'm gonna do is wet that area a little bit. This is 140 lb. cold-pressed paper by the way, so I'm not going to stretch it I'll be able to paint right on it. I can dampen this area and come over the trees and the mountain part - don't worrya bout that. We'll leave some of the areas a little bit drier than others. You can also take a paper towel and actually blot out a little bit of the moisture in here - just lightly - and that will give a different effect also.

Then we'll pick up some color and we're going to start out with a basic ultramarine and a little bit of burnt sienna or old sienna in it to give us a kind of grayish color. Now that did get gray didn't it? I'm going to add a little bit of warmer old sienna to it. In here is going to be some of our cloud area.

I'm going to change it again with a little cooler color. Now I'm simply going to pick up a damp brush and soften some of these edges, let some of that come down in there and leave the pure white around here.

We'll warm it up a little more even with a yellower color. Toward the bottom here with a variety of color and these cloud shapes are going to stay up in there. I may have too much color here so we'll take a little bit out with a thirsty brush. The way I do that thirsty brush is to wet the brush thoroughly and then take the moisture out of it with a paper towel. Then it will lift the color rather than putting color down.

You get some really neat effects with this. That thirsty brush really works well. Up here we can add a little cloud up in there floating above everything. That's going to be our sky!

That's one way of doing clouds. They don't show up quite as well as when you're painting is finished, so we'll come back and show you the finished painting.

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