Cloud Practice


I decided that the clouds needed shine hard edges, because they were almost entirely soft edged. So, I went in with some more shadow work, not sure if it was a good idea or a bad idea… let me know what you think.

I watched a video Liron Yankosky posted about Sergei Temerev, yet another amazing realist watercolorist. I also admire Stanislaw Zoladz and Ilya Ibraev among others. I really should start doing some artist studies like Stephen Berry does over at Seamless Expression. One of these days…

Anyway, Liron’s video lead me to research more, and I found the artist study by Stephen Berry, and I watched the videos of Sergei painting from Stephen’s blog.

I noticed a few things about Sergei’s technique that I wanted to try:

  1. He wet both sides of the paper, and didn’t tape it, instead he relied on the surface tension of the wet paper to keep it on the board. He doesn’t always do this, but I wanted to try it out.
  2. He doesn’t start at the topand work down, instead he starts in the middle of the cloud, at the point of deep shadow, and works out to the highlights from there.
  3. He appears to use a very dry—squirrel?—brush. I think it’s squirrel because it holds so much water while still appearing very dry.
  4. He feathers edges carefully and often with a dry brush.

These are all things I wanted to try. I tried a few attempts, which were utter failures (see my post from this morning here.) Then, after work today, I tried again. I’m proud of the results.

This turned out better than my other attempts because I wasn’t relying on my imagination as much with the clouds. Instead, I relied on a photo I took of some clouds in the backyard.

My painting isn’t exact by any stretch, but consulting the photo helped me with the form and lighting. This is something I found very difficult to do ala prima. Though I still painted this one ala prima, relying on the photo instead of my imagination gave me a reminder about where the lights and shadows should be.

This painting style requires a lot more care and attention than usual for me, but I really appreciated the results.

Wetting the back of the paper really allowed the pigment to “stay alive” on the paper for a longer time. I had a harder time getting hard edges, but lifting pigment was a lot easier.

Anyway, my phone is dying, so I should quit before I lose all of this. That’s it for today. I’ll try again tomorrow.