If you want to take up landscape painting, whether you are pursuing the art for pleasure or to improve other aspects of your craft, you need to learn how to paint skies well. Skies have been featured in art since time immemorial. This probably has something to do with how wild and free the sky looks, how endlessly it stretches to the horizon. Here are some tips to help you learn how to draw clouds and skies beautifully.
#1 Work on Soft Edges
A soft edge is basically a boundary between an object that is hazy and poorly defined. You need to work on this. It’s difficult to master because it’s often so imprecise, but with a bit of practice you will be able to get it done. Look at how soft edge exist in the natural sky, this will give you some pointers.
#2 Use Chromatic Grays
It can be tempting to stuff as much bright and bold color into a painting as possible, but this can often make the painting too intense. Colors that would otherwise be considered dull, such as grey, can actually make the painting seem more realistic. Grey can be used to complement bolder and brighter colors. You can use shades of grey along with complementary hues to bring realism to your painting.
#3 Different Shades For Distance
It is important that you use different shades for clouds that are further away. These clouds should be painted using color shades, whereas warmer shades should be reserved for clouds that are in the foreground. The colors should also get less intense for clouds that are further away. The previous point can help you make distance visible in your two dimensional painting.
#4 Never Use Pure White
Clouds aren’t actually white, not if you look closely at them. They have tinges of blue from sky, or golden or red from the sun based on how high or low it is in the sky. Nighttime clouds often have tinges of navy blue. Make sure you use white chromatically otherwise it will make your clouds look somewhat unnatural.
#5 Feel Free to Improvise
You don’t have to try and copy the landscape onto a canvas if you don’t want to. The sky is your inspiration, and you’re not taking a photo you’re painting which is completely different. You can improvise and add colors and objects as you see fit. There are no hard rules in this regard. Just keep your skills as a painter in mind and add things accordingly.
#6 Mind Your Brush Size
Small brushes can make landscapes look a little too deliberate, and at times even forced. Bigger brushes can help make this less of an issue by adding a bit of looseness to the overall aesthetics of the painting. The finished product will look slightly less precise but that is how it should be because nature is hardly ever precise. Rough lines and soft edges are what landscape painting is all about.