1. In this sunset scene, the top of the sky has been gradated into the raw sienna wash and here I'm putting in the base of the sky with a mix of lemon yellow and alizarin. This too will diffuse.

•J. Now for the dominant cloud. This is put in after the paper has dried slightly, using strong, rich colour.

3. I then move downwards towards the horizon, making the clouds smaller and closer together as I go, rather like railway sleepers receding into the distance. If the mix is right, the clouds will begin to soften and diffuse.

3. Now is the time to put in the shadow underneath the clouds. You need to work quickly, giving each cloud its individual shadow before the initial raw sienna wash is dry.

4. I lore you see the effect has softened and now the horizon can be painted in. If you want a softer horizon, then paint it in before the sky is quite dry. If it's a harder edge you're after, then leave it longer.

4, You can see how, due to the dampness of the paper, the clouds and their shadows have weakened and diffused. The horizon can now be put in.

3. After the first cloud, smaller and flatter clouds are introduced towards the horizon, giving recession and perspective.

4. The clouds having diffused, the horizon can now be introduced, remembering that in a sunset situation the horizon will be quite dark.

I have to admit that this painting came straight out of my head. However, it lias about it an air of spontaneity and freshness which I strive for in all my paintings -although not always successfully! I so often look at a painting and think, if only I had not gone back and fiddled with it. This time I was determined to leave well alone. We all seem to have this urge to 'improve' a wash, and usually the result is disastrous!

This wispy cirrus sky was very simple to paint, but you must employ a certain amount of dash and verve to retain the freshness - then leave it alone! Into the first raw sienna wash I dropped a mixture of ultramarine and Payne's grey, remembering that the clouds are created by negative space. As always, the clouds must diminish in size as they approach the horizon.

This is one of" those lovely cumulus cloud formations which build up and dominate the whole sky. The characteristic Hat bottom is apparent here, as is the cauliflower shape at the top. To achieve this top shape you have to time the blue wash so as to get strong definition without a hard line. The sky colours arc repeated in the landscape below: for example, the pinks and blues.

Another example of cirrus cloud, this time in a late afternoon sky with plenty of colour variation. Again the main clouds were taken out with tissue, but using the whole arm for the painting to give a free yet definite directional feel. The setting sun floods the whole foreground with a warm light.

There is plenty of wet into wet about this painting, giving very soft edges to the clouds. The strong mixture of Payne's grey and alizarin was put on and then allowed to diffuse down the steeply sloped paper. Before this was quite dry, I pnt in the distant hills and right-hand trees, but allowed the washes to dry before putting in the church and left-hand trees. The shadow on the snow was painted in lightly and quickly. Never go back to snow shadows; they must look like a virgin wash.

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Canvas Painting For Beginners

Canvas Painting For Beginners

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