Above: Journal spread of practice paintings of clouds. The journal is an approx. 8-inch square journal I made using TH Saunders Waterford 90 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper. I painted the clouds directly without any pen or pencil sketching, layering the white paint into the colored background, picking up the shadows as desired. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Lately I've been missing clouds. Of course they are present almost every day, but I don't always give them the attention that I did in April when they were the focus of my 2012 International Fake Journal Month journal. (You can scroll backwards through that journal at that link. Only the final image in that project isn't a cloud. The first entry to that journal is here—though interestingly that is a cloudless sky.)
While I didn't have the tan paper to bounce off of in this journal it was still fun to paint clouds directly with a brush.
On this day I was running around all day and so I stopped and took some cloud photos in the backyard when I returned home. After dinner I played with different blues to see which I preferred for these clouds. Mostly I simply had fun pushing the titanium white gouache around!
I decided that it is much more fun to paint clouds from life (and not photos) even when they are constantly shifting. You have to rush to get something down, and you don't have time to fuss!
I've always painted clouds, but since April's project I find that I am painting many more clouds than I used to. They have been particularly startling this year. With dramatic light, height, shape, and color.
What do the clouds look like around your home? Do you like to record how their formations change over the years? (Or the course of the day?)
When the girls were alive we spent years full of days where we would work hours and hours out in the nearby wilderness on our tracking training. Our schedule was our schedule, regardless of weather conditions. (Frankly when you have Alaskan Malmutes they actually prefer the rainy and snowy days to the brilliantly sunny summer days so I have a lot of Gortex clothing.) You get to know clouds and weather because of their impact on scent conditions.
I know from looking at Jaques' paintings in the Bell Museum dioramas exactly what kind of day (temperature, season, time of day) he was depicting. He was that good at observing and recording clouds. You can even tell where the thermals are. Clouds have wonderful personalities.