Painting Skies

You make it look so easy and yet, I have tried all week to do a sky and I discovered that this is very, very hard to do something remotely 'looking' like a sky in aquarelle (watercolor)..  I am a new beginner with aquarelle (watercolor)

Colette - Québec



Here are a few points to make painting skies easier. Remember too, working wet in wet like this works better on paper without too much external sizing. In this example I have used Arches 300gsm (140lb) paper. It is a very forgiving paper and makes the job much easier.


First thoroughly wet the entire area of the sky


Then paint in a runny mixture of different blues Here I am using Ultramarine and a Grey Blue made from Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson and Raw Sienna. Don't try to make the sky uniform and even, simply introduce the colors to the wet paper and allow them to mix and blend by themselves.


Puddles of paint that form along the bottom edge of your wash can be soaked up with a damp 1" brush

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Let it dry without being tempted to interfere. You will find as the paper dries everything blends and settles into a nice soft sky - the secret is plenty of water to start. If you are not happy with the sky as it is drying, wait till it is thoroughly dry, (at least a couple of hours) then repeat the process.

The main point to remember working wet in wet like this is to let the water do the work and once things start to dry, don't be tempted to touch.

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