Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Painting Sky's

I am happy to announce 3 workshops at the Peninsula School of Art in Door County. You can find more info on the workshops by clicking here.

I am also going to plan a workshop or two at my farm for the summer of 2021. If you would like to be notified when those workshops are announced, please email me at kylemartinfineart@gmail.com 

I replied to a thread on the plein air forums on wetcanvas, and thought I would share my thoughts on painting sky's here as well. Thanks for checking in!



Concerning Sky's. 

One thing that I consider when starting a plein air work is, are we looking into the sun, or away from it? In the example below, I am looking into the sun under morning light. All of the particles of atmosphere are influencing the colors of the sky, and you can see a little lemon yellow color near the top of the painting, right in the middle. I was observing the sun in that space.

In this piece, I was painting during the golden hour. The sky was transforming very quickly before my eyes, and because I was looking away from the sun I was interested in the way that the color of the sky was different near the horizon vs higher up. I think that the key to painting a good sky is variety. 

The piece below was painted in late afternoon, in early summer. The light is coming from the left. You can see yellow/green in the upper left corner of the sky and the color gradiates to a pthalo blue in the middle and then to a different blue in the right corner. Also, I used a violet color to underpaint the sky, and let some of that show through.

There is a big thunderhead in the piece below, but still plenty of plain blue sky. I tend to underpaint my summer sky's with violets and pinks, and then paying attention to the landscape for clues as to how the sky color is changing from horizon to apex (having to do with atmospheric condititons), as well as how it gradates from side to side (having to do with where the sun is at).

Below here, I started with a yellow ochre toned surface, and then underpainted with purple. I did the underpainting a value stop darker than the sky greens and blues that are on top of it. 


There is much variety even on sunny days. One tip that you could do is to take a piece of cardboard, poke a hole in it, and observe the sky through the hole. Now, move it left to right, and up and down, and see how the sky color changes depending on where you look. 

Also, get a mirror out, and while observing the sky in front of your face, reflect the sky from behind you and you will see a big contrast. As with all things ion painting, variety is the key. Have fun and post the results!