Bleak Winter – Time Lapse Painting

Bleak Winter

This painting is about the sky and light. In the video you will see a number of sky painting methods I employ in many of my landscape paintings.

The first thing to get right are the paints you are going to use. I use the word ‘paints’ instead of colours because some paints do not produce good colours when mixed. The 4 colours (black & white are not counted as colours) used in this painting all mix well together. Indian Red is the only ‘dodgy’ colour in the bunch. Strong and rich when neat, it produces unpredictable colours in mixes.

In this painting I placed the blue (Cobalt Blue & white) and the sunlit clouds (Raw Sienna & White) as flat areas of colour with very little medium (Liquin). I am not going to talk about cloud shapes or perspective as I have discussed these issues elsewhere (here and here), this is about colours. By dragging a flat brush diagonally in both directions, then horizontal and vertical I blend the colours together increasing the randomness of cloud shapes and giving the overall sky a soft and misty look. In the areas where the colours mix you will see how important it is to have colours which mix well. Some of the Cobalt Blue will mix with the Raw Sienna, and vice versa, and the resultant overlap is a nice soft colour on the edges of the clouds.

The dark clouds colour is Cobalt Blue, Raw Umber, Indian Red and a little black to adjust the tone. When this is placed on top of the previous layer, mixing with what’s already there, it modifies the colour and lightens it, allowing lots of interesting shades to emerge. The dark colour can get much more lighter in colour, especially after the blending, so the dark shadows have to be re-established over and over again with fresh paint. The highlights on the clouds are produced by adding a lot of white to the dark mix plus a little of the Raw Sienna. The sun is almost in the centre of the scene, hidden behind the clouds so shadows are on the left or right, depending on the placing of the cloud.

Hopefully the video will make it a little clearer.