Paintings In Oil Should Exclude White Clouds

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Some kind of landscape scene is frequently a favourite for beginners in oil painting. That is quite understandable and nothing to be objected at. But one of the mistakes they tend to make is in the treatment of the sky especially in the way clouds are painted and particularly in the colour given to clouds.

A frequent misrepresentation in this respect is that clouds are frequently painted white, all white. In fact, very few clouds are actually white in colour, and when it does appear, it is in very limited areas.

Are Clouds Easy To Paint?
Clouds are sometimes their worst enemies! They keep giving the impression that they are easy to paint. This is partly because the scene below them will be, like as not, quite complicated and full of difficult -- to -- render things and objects. We may like to get things right, or at least looking right, and that can be demanding, so they need working at.

But clouds? Well, they don't seem to have any definite form. They are just sort of almost blobs in the sky. We tend to paint the sky blue and then paste the clouds on top, a few here and a few there, perhaps without little thought for the structure and disposition of clouds.

In the first place, the sky is only rarely a continuous blue shade. It varies quite a lot, not least as it gets near to the horizon where the tone will change quite dramatically. At or near the horizon the colour may change to some shade of purple, for example, but unless we have noted these kinds on changes, we are unlikely to select those kinds of shades. Similarly with clouds: they have a good deal of detail overhead but virtually all of it can be lost towards the horizon (although there are exceptions to this, depending on where the horizon is and what it is). Indeed, the sky generally can lose detail towards the horizon, not least as clouds tend to mass up there, as in Peel, Isle Of Man. That should not be too surprising for the horizon is relatively far away and clouds overhead are not, but unless we are really thinking about it, we are perhaps on likely to paint it as it is.

Clouds are really satisfying things to paint. However, much of that satisfaction lies in making them real enough to be believable. That it is not always easy and, in general, is something we need to work at. The place to start, as in much oil painting, is in observation. Am a little knowledge about types of clouds and how and when they occur will not go amiss, but the main thing is to become familiar with the kinds of shapes they are soon and the colours that go along with them.

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