Highway Sky

When I don’t have time to work on a whole painting sometimes I pick one thing and practice it. For me, painting skies in watercolour takes a great deal of practice and you almost always have to get it right in the first wash. It’s really difficult to go back into a dry sky area and make changes without having it look touched up. It also takes a lot of control to know how dry your brush should be because you can end up with horrible blooms if the brush is carrying too much water onto a semi-dry sheet. Today I took the backs of some used watercolour sheets and practiced skies, with more pigment, less pigment, wetter brushes and drier brushes. It wasn’t easy. The foreground in this one is inconsequential, it’s really just there to ground the composition. I was happy I did this because after four or five sheets of scrap paper I did feel more in control but I will keep on practicing.


36 Comments on “Highway Sky”

  1. Anders says:

    This is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Oh, my… : )))))))


  2. Tony says:

    This sky is so awesome; the light coming through is extraordinary.
    You inspire me to reach this standard.


  3. JoAnn says:

    I love this!


  4. TR Duncan says:



  5. Anders says:

    I love the explanatory texts you write. I love reading about creative processes. : )


  6. rene fijten says:

    Beautiful, I never mastered it for the reasons you state yourself. But the lesson is clear. Excersise.


  7. Genine says:

    wow Shari , this is beautiful! it makes me want to practice the subject I struggle with 🙂


  8. Umm…wow! Just completely lost in that sky, and the perspective is also just as good.


  9. liz bundle says:

    Fabulous in its simplicity – and its perspective, the sky pulling back to the horizon, the lines on the road so crisp vs sky….and the blurry poles give a sense of speed, of travelling into the image. ALL pix that draw you in/have depth are special – and most effective when simple. huge congrats.


  10. azergo24 says:

    Wwow Wow you really got the depth!


  11. Joan says:

    Breathtaking! I live in the land of big skies, but we seldom get clouds/rain. :>( Skies are the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted to paint! I tossed every piece in the trash. I’ll go back and practice, practice, practice.


    • I could probably spend every day practicing skies and clouds Joan. And the bigger the paper is, the harder it gets because the brushes have to get bigger and the pools of wash as well. Yes, practice, practice!


  12. rhonda@bromoc.com says:

    Oh, WOW….love it~! I think you’ve really got it~!!!!!


  13. Nathalie says:

    Very inspirational post and very humbling as well. Thanks for sharing.


  14. Diane says:

    You are so talented! I love the way the sky softly blends and the antennae style lights, how did you get the white lines in the road so straight and with a hard line edge? They are such a great contrast to the sky.


  15. Foreground is inconsequential? NOT! I think the stripe down the middle of the road draws me in all the way to the horizon and the magnificent sky above. I want to be on this road forever, bravo mon professor. Jacques


  16. annerose says:

    This is wonderful, I really like the division of space, it just looks how it is.


  17. anne farmer says:

    And why does it work better on the back of a pice of paper rather then the front of the picture you really want to paint??…


    • When I am doing practice exercises like this I know I am going to throw out a few sheets before I can get it right. I don’t want to work on a new, expensive sheet of watercolour paper so I use the backs of duds and then don’t feel so bad throwing them out.


  18. Linda says:

    I love receiving your daily postings and find them so educational and inspirational. I especially love your “less is more” paintings.


  19. Lee Kline says:

    OH my! This is wonderful. A lesson in itself, Shari. thanks for posting this.


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