Starting to Paint Again

Author: robertinseattle

Painting a cloudscape…

Many of you already know that I’ve recently moved into a small studio to pick up where I left off over 25 years ago with painting. Over the past few years, I’ve given a lot of serious thought about the subject matter of my next series. I still enjoy the challenges in working with large high-realism pieces and the subject matter obviously has to be consistently challenging to keep my interest long enough to complete each painting and an entire series. My last real series revolved around coin-operated machines: pinball, parking meters, juke boxes, etc. I eventually settled on clouds this time around; they’re highly ethereal, they embody a lot of the abstract and, as such, present a fantastic challenge to put down on canvas.

So then a whole new set of questions came up: What kinds of clouds? What size of canvases? And clouds vary dramatically from one geographical region to another. I finally decided just to start with clouds in the Pacific Northwest, especially now that we’re heading into what appears to be an unusually warm and clear summer. Different regions and the time of day present another set of visual opportunities to explore. I’ll write more on this blog about the thinking process in my approach to painting cloudscapes.

A friend presented me with a house warming gift (maybe it was a studio warming present?) of a fresh new white canvas. So began the ritual to assemble my new materials and equipment to paint my first real painting in over 25 years. Here are some pictures taken over several weeks.

(To see a larger version of each picture, just click on the image.)

The two basic background colors get laid down: Cerulean Blue for the sky and Burnt Sienna for the ground. I plan on using these two colors as the base for each subsequent painting.

Here’s the sky area brushed in by hand.

Woo-Hoo! Some of my airbrush equipment arrives and I start spraying in clouds. Airbrush works well to convey the transparency and fluidity of clouds. Each of my paintings will combine traditional painting techniques with airbrush.

I start building in cloud layers, working from background to foreground (bottom to top).

I start shading in the clouds. The earth area is still untouched at this stage; I’m just starting in on it now and will go back-and-forth with working on the sky, orchestrating between them until I think the piece is resolved.

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