Finished painting and Hints on how to paint midday skies


Finished Painting:Solid Picture Frame:

A good book to look at for all these concepts for paintings landscapes is Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting

The Reilly papers is also a good source of information, please do check it out : The Reilly Papers

Sky values:

The sky is the lightest part of the landscape and should not get darker than a 7 or 6 on the value scale because the sun and sky are the two light sources that we have outdoors and therefore it follows that nothing can get lighter than the light source itself! So following this rule gives us the luminosity in a landscape. The next important concept in painting skies are the gradients that we find because of the warm yellow color of the sun and the cool blue of the sky.

Gradients in sky: (First Washes):

There are two gradients going on in the sky one going darker and cooler away from the sun and the other going lighter and warmer  from zenith to horizon (from top to bottom). In this case, sunlight is streaming in from the left hand side, so the blues go from warmer and lighter to cooler and darker left to right. Also, the sky changes from a slightly violet blue to a slightly green blue top to bottom. So this is what I am trying to establish here in the first washes.

I had taken these photos at Rotterdam and been using them for reference, you can see these gradients happening clearly in this one below:

Rotterdam photos2Rotterdam photos1

first washes


 Cloud lights and shadows:

The light areas of the clouds receive the light of the sun and are warm, I have placed pale tints of yellow on the left one and going towards slightly orange on the right one. The half tones and shadows donot receive the direct light of the sun rather get the cool light of the sky from the opposite side and therefore are cooler going from a warm blue to almost dull violets, I`ve even placed some red violet for color interest.

After that it gets a little tricky:  due to atmospheric perspective, from zenith to horizon, the light areas of the clouds go warmer and darker and cloud shadows go cooler and lighter, so the contrast gets decreased towards the horizon and the tones sort of all merge together to a pale warm tint and this gives the illusion of depth and distance.

shadows distant cloud lights establishing horizon finishing touches


The ground is of a value only slightly darker than the sky because when the sun is overhead , the ground is perpendicular to it and receives the most amount of light. I let the colors of the sky flow into it and added some dull greens and reds for buildings and trees, and a  lighter portion for the canal.

So these were the things I was trying to concentrate on in my first cloudscape painting , also trying to achieve a moody and atmospheric quality by being looser with the brush and also looking at warm cool relationships and also and also ………heeeee das wars dann. Thanks for looking , I hope you liked it and see you next time with a sunset sky! Tschüss!!



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