Storm Approaching

Storm Approaching. Day 3 of watercolor workshop with Michael Riordan. 7" x 10.5"

Storm Approaching. Day 3 of watercolor workshop with Michael Riordan. 7″ x 10.5″

And the storm WAS approaching. While his demo was finishing, the thunderstorm came and the day was cloudy and drizzly all day. We’re hoping for better weather tomorrow when we go “plein air” with Michael Riordan.

We learned clouds today, starting again with an uinderpainting of cobalt and cad orange, leaving the focal point (white against darkest dark) covered with clear water.  Once the underpainting dried, we turned the paper upside down because the lightest blue is along the horizon and we put in the clouds.  We then turned it over and kept working on the middle ground and foreground.

I wish I had taken a picture of this when the clouds didn’t look quite as good…they were full of little bits here and there and just didn’t gel.  Although, frankly, I am SURE I’ll have another cloud painting where I don’t like what happens!

A key to fixing  that, which he suggested to many of us, is to brush water over all of it, perhaps with cobalt lightly in some of it just to get the particles all loose and perhaps encouraging it here and there to smooth out.  I am much happier with them after doing that.

I brought it home, didn’t like it as much as the second one I did today, but then I put in the cloud shadows (in the middle ground) and the painting popped for me.  I’m pleased with it.

So fingers crossed for good weather (rain is ok, we’re doing “wet in wet” after all — ha!) but we hope heavy winds and freezing weather will not be on the menu…


15 thoughts on “Storm Approaching

  1. Hi Rachel – your practice sessions are inspiring. The clouded sky looks like my morning sky over the mountains. You have captured the grandeur of it all. Enjoy every moment of your class.


    • Jill, thank you! as it turned out, there were only sprinkles in the afternoon for a brief bit. Plein air painting was harder for me, for sure, but I’ve been mulling over what the impediments were and what to do to improve. I’m sure you’ll keep hearing about it as I blog!


  2. This is a lot better than I could do with clouds on my initial attempts. I always tried to make them look exactly how I saw them instead of allow them to happen on my paper with the color and the water, Rachel. Now. I play with them with the water a bit and get much better results. These are very good!


    • Oh Leslie, thanks for your encouragement. I was working without looking at the photo and was having fun watching the effects of pigment and water. Upside down painting is mind twisting too, but i enjoyed it. And really enjoyed learning how to smooth it out with water.


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