Peninsula Clouds, 2010
24″ x 19″ : 61 cm x 48.3 cm
Before the big storm moved in I took the time to get some good shots of the Palos Verdes Peninsula with clouds billowing above it. I always wanted to paint this view looking south from the pier. Most of the time it looks a bit ‘boring’ with cerulean blue skies, the ocean, the headland and the sand. I wanted to paint it so the center of interest would be the sky. In our area you don’t get to see a lot of cumulus cloud formations as it is almost always sunny and cloudless. Not that I am complaining but this time of the year is perfect for nice and interesting skies.
This painting is all about the sky. Painting clouds in watercolor can be tricky, but with a few preliminaries it can turn out quite nice. One thing to remember is that they paint themselves if you let them! The sky needs to be painted in one go and it helps to pre-wet your paper to create nice soft edges. But not everywhere! It is important to leave some areas dry to also have some hard edges where clouds meet the blue sky. Of course, that depends on the look of the actual sky you are doing.
When applying the washes it is imperative to work quickly, roughing in the shapes of the clouds and painting the sky areas around it. I premix two big puddles and use two paint brushes so I don’t have to go back to mixing more right in the middle of it all. Since the paper keeps drying while you apply the washes you should get a wide range of beautiful edges, from soft to broken to hard. I love getting the broken shapes that only happen on damp paper. They are the trickiest and riskiest to achieve as the paper is just about dry, the possibility of explosions imminent! The key is not to fiddle with it, NEVER go back in with the brush trying to correct! Usually I like to put some figures in my paintings, but I felt it unnecessary this time. The seagulls rising into the sky give it some life and the absence of people add to the desired mood, in my opinion.
I wanted to take this last post of the year to thank all of you who showed interest in my blog this last year! I appreciate your visits and supportive comments! They give me confidence to keep this going, not just to promote myself but because I feel like some things I say are actually useful to some of you and that makes it all worth while!
Happy Holidays everyone.