Watercolor Painting Process – Clouds

I thought a good way to get back into watercolor painting would be to paint clouds. Clouds are amorphous within their bodies, sometimes with hard-edged boundaries and sometimes blending into the sky behind them. Two basic watercolor techniques can be used to create these elements: use of a loaded brush on dry paper to create an edge and applying watercolor washes to make a gradient of tone.

Below is documentation of the stages of my most recent cloud painting.

First stage:

Pencil drawing of cloud shapes and shading.

Watercolor: Clouds Stage 1

Clouds Stage 1
Preliminary Drawing

Second Stage:

At the bottom, I used the wet-on-wet technique to introduce watercolor tones create darker areas within the borders I sketched. At the top of the paper, I blocked in gray tones on the dry paper.

Watercolor: Clouds Stage 2

Clouds Stage 2
Wet-on-Wet and Wet on Dry

Third Stage:

I added layers to the bottom portion, using gray washes. On the top, I added edges to the boundaries, grading the tones toward the center of the mass of the clouds.

Watercolor: Clouds Stage 4

Clouds Stage 3
Final Painted Stage, Assorted Techniques

Even though I painted these clouds with the lighter ones on the top, I like it better with the dark on top;

Watercolor: Clouds Final

Clouds Final
12″x16″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

4 thoughts on “Watercolor Painting Process – Clouds

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