Clouds, a few waysPosted: September 4, 2013
I haven’t done very much experimentation on the paper in my current sketchbook (Travelogue by hand•book journal) so I decided to do a few little cloud sketches using different techniques: dry, glazing, wet-in-wet, and wet on dry paper. Clouds and skies are tricky because they always work best when the paper is wet. That means that to begin with, I should be working on sheets of watercolour paper, not thin sketchbook paper that can’t really take big washes.
The first sketch that I did was the wet-in-wet one on the top right. I ran a very pale wash of raw sienna over the whole sky area and then added in my cloud colour which in this case is a mix of payne’s gray and alizarin. I let that dry, rewet with clear water and added more paint to the centre cloud areas. Result: a bit of a disaster because this paper can’t take the amount of water I subjected it to.
The second sketch was the bottom right. For this one I loaded up my brush with a juicy wash of cloud colour that included lots of ultramarine blue. I put the wash down quickly and never touched it again.
The third one was the dry areas of clouds on the top left. Another disaster! You can’t paint clouds with little, dry dabs.
Finally, I used a few transparent glazes in the bottom left sketch. I did an underpainting of alizarin and yellow ochre, waited for that to dry and then went back in with another glaze of purplish gray.
My conclusion: the fastest and most direct way was the best (the bottom right example.) Load your brush up with a good amount of a saturated wash, put it down quickly and confidently, let it dry and never touch it again.