Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sky Demo (watercolour)

Mimi is struggling with skies.

Now I am no expert by any means, but I can show you two sky studies I did, today, one not good, the other a little better. Skies in watercolour take a lot of practice. I haven't painted w/colour skies on a regular basis for many months, so I am very, very rusty.
I think this is a good opportunity for all the watercolourists amongst us, to paint these skies and compare notes. Between all of us, we must come up with a technique of some sort. I have to be honest, and tell you, I never did master the real wet in wet skies. I prefer to wet my paper, leaving any missed areas, missed. I paint on my colours, starting from the top down. I have been doing it that way for years, so to me it is natural. Now this is not always an ideal way, as the sky is darker at the top than on the horizon. When one is learning,, it is easy for the depth of colour to get away from us, so I do suggest you start at the horizon and work your way up. Turn your paper upside down, for a start. See! Now it is right way up.. ;-))

Wet the paper thoroughly.
I took some photo's of my progress, and I hope you guys will too. I put my camera on my tripod (the one with the bent leg Ree)

Wait until the sheen has gone from the paper for the best results.

Mix up your colours while you are waiting. (I used Ultra Blue - Quin Rose - Raw Sienna) They shoul dbe the consistancy of cream if you want bright skies. You don't need much, see pic' below.

Now you need to work fast. Have you paper on an angle, I prop mine on a piece of 4"x2" that has had one side planed on an angle. Dip your brush into your Raw Sienna and place a swipe across the paper at the horizon line. Rinse the brush and dry it on your cloth or in my case a toilet roll wrapped in a paper towel (I use this for acrylics and oils too) and load it with a little quin rose. This colour is strong, so practice the strength on scrap paper first. You need to be working quickly as the paper is continuing to dry. One pass across the paper, picking up a little of the R/S. Next do the same with the Ultra Blue. Wash the brush, dry by dabbing, and load with U/Blue and swiping one way then the next one pass only at a time fill the rest of the page. Mine was not successful, see below.

Now the second one I did, i wet the paper, waited for the sheen to go. I left the paper right side up, and painted the Ultra Blue first. Then I picked up a little Quin Rose and paint one pass of that, and then the Raw Sienna. The R/S was weak. AS you can see from the dry painting, the lower sky is very pale.

Mimi wanted bright colours, so using the full strength (you made up in your dish) pigment was the way to go. Not weakening it down. If you let the Quin Rose mix a little with the Raw Sienna you will get a sunrise glow. IF you use Quin Gold instead of Raw Sienna, you get a beautiful Sunset Glow!! (I just remembered that) Remember!!! Only one pass. Do not go back over the sky or you will loose the beautiful translucency of it and it will look dirty.

I will try some more of these tomorrow, if I get time. I will do some more though, and I will post here when I do.

I urge you all to give it a go and post yours please..

gives a neat demo.. CLICK HERE and then click on Technical File (new)

Reference Photo for this week. Mt Warning was named by Captain James Cook in May 1770 while sailing up Australia's east coast. The mountain 'warns' sailors that they are about to encounter a rocky reef.