Fall Clouds | Watercolor Demonstration by William C. Wright

“Watercolor seems like it was made for painting cloud-filled skies,” says artist William C. Wright. “When mixed with water, its translucency enables the artist to achieve soft edges and accidental effects easily and quickly. And, because watercolor dries fast, especially en plein air, layering additional colors in the sky is effectively accomplished.”

Follow along as Wright paints a landscape dominated by fall clouds:

“I painted the watercolor scene in The Finnerty’s Outbuildings (below) on a warm, sunny afternoon in early fall. The trees were just being to turn, and there was still a lot of green in the landscape. I painted the sky as quickly as I could because it was changing so fast. I made a simple sketch, but without any pencil lines in the sky. I started with a light gray mixture of cerulean blue and cadmium red light and then painted verditer blue for the sky around the white of the fall clouds. I worked on the landscape until it dried; I then added layers of gray and ultramarine blue in the top of the sky.

“You’ll notice when studying a sky that it’s a darker, richer blue above your head and a lighter, softer blue along the horizon because of the amount of atmosphere through which you’re looking.”

See more of Wright’s seasonal and transitory skies—and learn how he uses four colors to achieve them—in the April 2016 issue of Watercolor Artist, available in print and download at northlightshop.com, and on newsstands February 16.
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Step 3

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Step 4

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The Finnerty’s Outbuildings (watercolor on paper, 16×12) by William C. Wright

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