The underlying design or pattern in this painting is a series of ‘wedges’ one on top of the other up into the sky. These shapes form a harmonious pattern which tie the sky and ground together. Its always a concern that the sky might become detached from the ground in a landscape.
Harmony of colour in a painting also helps to ‘stitch’ the different parts together. For example, when mixing sky colours I will add in all of the colours which will be later used in the ground part of the landscape. As you can see in the video, the underpainting is Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber and the 2 blues (Prussian and Cerulean, see previous post). OK, this is the underpainting, what about the final mixes? As the method is ‘alla prima’, the underpainting is not completely dry when the later layers are added, so a certain amount of mixing will occur. The actual final mixes are as follows: sky blue – Cerulean Blue, Prussian Blue, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber in reducing quantities (i.e. mostly Cerulean with less Prussian, then less Yellow etc.). This mixture is added to white. This is 4 out of the 5 colours used in the entire painting (black and white are not considered as colours). The cloud grey – the above mix (including the white) with Burnt Sienna and Black added. Added to this is the fact the same brush is used with very little cleaning between colour changes. This ‘dirty’ brush is also used to apply the white (with a little yellow) mix for the cloud highlights. The same colours are used in every part of the painting, only the quantities of each vary. This is ‘harmony’ the easy way and the key to it is the limited palette. In previous posts I have mentioned, several times, other advantages to limiting the range of colours you use (this is one such post).
Here’s the video.