Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How to Paint Storm Clouds

Texas Storm Clouds
9" x 12" watercolor paper
by Karen A. Cooke

This watercolor was painted from a photo taken by a friend during a recent trip to Texas.  I liked the clouds in the photo and asked permission to use her photo to demonstrate painting clouds.

Photo used for painting reference on left;
Painting on right

The painting above provides great practice for painting storm clouds..  All elements of this painting are loosely painted with minimal amounts of detail.  The painting was also painted on a slight slant to allow the paint to flow on the paper.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 9" x 12" piece
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: flat, liner and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
Old credit card or palette knife
  • Sepia
  • Payne's Gray
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Yellow Ocher
  • Ultramarine Blue

Painting Instructions:
Lightly sketch the horizon on the page.  No other sketching will be needed. 

Use a large round brush to paint the sky area.  Wet the sky from the top down to the horizon using clean water. Using a pale wash of Cadmium Orange drop in some color in various locations in the sky.  See above photo for location.  While this is still wet, paint in a wash of the Paynes Gray, apply the paint working from the top of the painting down to the horizon.  Add Ultramarine Blue in various areas of the sky and also increase the intensity of the Paynes Gray in some areas.   However, do not completely cover the entire sky area.  Allow some white areas to remain.  Using a tissue or paper towel, lift some of the paint to create lighter areas in the sky for clouds, if needed.  Pick up the painting and tilt to the bottom left to add some flow to the watercolor on the page and create some movement in the clouds.  Allow to dry.  

Horizon Trees
Using a deep wash of Paynes Gray and your round brush, paint in the trees on the horizon.  Vary the heights of the trees to add interest.  Refer to the photo above for placement. Allow to dry.


Using a wash of Brunt Sienna and Yellow Ochre, paint the base of the grassy area moving from lighter shades in the back and moving to darker shades in the front.  While still wet, drop in a wash of Sepia in various locations for the base of the tall grasses.  While this area is still wet, use either the sharp edge of a credit card or a small palette knife and pull up some paint to indicate the grasses.  Allow to dry. 

Finishing touches:
Using a liner brush, add some additional grasses moving from small and short grasses in the horizon to taller grasses in the foreground.  Allow to dry.  Using a utility knife, scrape in some highlights in the tall grasses. 


Happy Painting!

No comments: