Vivid Sky

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I’m still interested in the amorphous formations of clouds in the sky. However, instead of drawing or painting specifically shaped cloud objects, I am allowing the watercolors to be watercolors and let them flow, mix, bloom with the addition of diluted color or clear water, and blot with the touch of a dry brush or paper towel.

My painting started with vivid colors as a multi-colored wash. Initially I wanted to lay down the blues, in order of redness. From my testing, I have noticed that French ultramarine and cobalt blue are on the red side. Inanthrone blue is also slightly red, but what I like about that color is its darkness. On the other hand, Prussian blue and phthalo blue are on the green side. The long and short of it is, my ordering of the blues did not work out so well, so I shifted gears.

I laid down the dark indanthrone blue at the top of the frame, followed by French ultramarine. After this, I applied Prussian blue and then lemon yellow. Finally near the bottom of the paper, I used cadmium orange to complete the spectrum.  I returned to the top of the paper and overpainted the indanthrone with indigo blue followed by permanent mauve underneath it.

The result of these merging stripes of paint was a shiny surface of glistening deep color approximating the colors seen when the rays of the sun are split by a prism.

I didn’t really want a 9×12 portrait of a spectrum so I dabbed away with my paper towel. As some of the pigments were staining, I wasn’t able to blot up all the color. I dripped some extra water on the blotted surface and even flung some diagonally across the paper with one of my mop brushes.

I gave up artistic control at this point and allowed the paper to dry. I painted in some wavy lines with Van Dyke brown at the bottom. This part of the canvas reminds me of mountains receding into the distance.

Watercolor: vividly colored sky with clouds

Vivid Sky
9″x12″ 140# Rough Watercolor Block


I am pleased with this study, although I don’t think I worked hard enough to get these results. Maybe I should embrace this and allow the watercolors to do more of the work in the future.

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