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Sky sketch - 30 X 24 - OOC

edited January 8 in Post Your Paintings
Did this on and off over a couple of days. I don't think it's entirely successful. I've had trouble making the water look realistic. There was  a line of very dark, dense trees blocking the view of the water. I got rid of them and then had to try to imagine the water. Not so good. The clouds are not  well blended - I don't usually blend but thought I'd try it here. I've found out that if you're going to blend you need to make sure your paint is runny enough  And do it before it starts to dry and get tacky. My paint was too stiff to begin with. Lesson learned. It's ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. :)
I'm not sure about the composition. If folks think the comp is alright and that it could make an ok large scale painting I might try it again using what I learned with this sketch. 

Thanks for looking :)




  • Have you done it from a photograph? Can you please share that one?
  • I love the sky.  Not sure about the dark line on the horizon.  Does that need to be diffused?  Or does it reach out too far to the left?

  • edited January 8
    Yes, @kaustavM, I used a photo reference in part but had to imagine the water. Will post it later when I've dickered a bit more with this sketch.

    Thanks, @GTO. I'm glad you like the sky. That dark line is a narrow isthmas joining north and south Bruny Island. I think I need to make each end more distinct or make the whole thing more diffuse. Sketches are great for seeing and resolving problems like this before one begins a big painting. 

    Thank you both for looking and commenting.  :)
  • love the clouds @tassieguy - the ones on the left made me think of Turner :)
  • edited January 7
    Thanks, @ArtGal:)
    I did this sketch to get a feel for whether it would work as a big painting.  If I do decide to paint it properly I'l certainly have another look at Turner's skies.  :)
  • You have a great start.  Can't help but think you'll turn it into an award winner.
  • The color scheme is beautiful me thinks. Good composition too. 
  • edited January 8
    Thanks, @Leo2015.   :)

    I've been working on it today and think I've improved the clouds. Not sure what to do about the water. I have real difficulty tryng to imagine things I can't see and making them look realistic in the context of the rest of the painting. Does anyone else have this problem?
  • I agree with @  Leo above, and you may need to borrow from someone else's photo as reference for reflected clouds in such water and light?, simply google similar images.
  • Thanks, @Forgiveness:) 

    I searched for something online and in my own photos but couldn't find anything with that particular light. A big part of the problem is that the light on the water has to mirror the light in the clouds.  And since every cloud is different it's unlikely that any other photo will be adequate. I'm on R&R at the moment so I'm going to keep dickering with it to get it the best I can make it. Then I'll decide whether to make a full sized painting of it.  :)
  • tassie, yes, I know exactly what you mean. It isn't easy to add something imaginary to something you painted from an actual scene. This often happens when I paint a portrait from a photograph but need to change the background because I don't like what's in the picture. I usually end up painting in a wall or just some dark background. I think your water effect is convincing though. 
  • Cheers, @Leo
    You're right, it's not easy to make stuff up. I've even considered cropping a section off the bottom of the painting so I don't have to do so much water. But I'll keep poking away at it for now. :)
  • edited January 8
    It may not be apparent but I've started softening the clouds by scumbling. Too late to blend any more now because it's dry.  (Sorry about the glare at the top) Once I'm happy with the clouds I'll move onto the water. I usually like to have lots of brushstrokes visible but in this one I'm experimenting with blending/scumbling so brushstrokes are less apparent. I'm still treating this as a sketch and not as a saleable piece - it's a learning exercise so I'm not worried if some aspects of it aren't so good.  :)

    @KaustavM asked me to post the photo reference so here is the painting and the reference together. I took this photo of them together before I did the new work on the painting today.  I wanted to see them both in the same light to see if I'm getting close to the photo. As you can see, the photo was slightly warmer in hue in the bright areas than the painting so I warmed things up a bit  (see above). I think I might have warmed it up a bit too much. But I think I prefer it that way. To get the warmer hue I used white with just a tiny touch of cad red light and cad yellow and scumbled.   :)

  • I think the water looks very convincing.  This will be a very nice painting especially being the size you’ve chosen.  
  • @tassieguy Excellent. there's more dimension to the painting than the photo! I love what you did with the land too. Might be just faint lines of a lightet value in brown on those hills but I can't see those very well. Change of direction?
  • edited January 8
    Thanks, @GTO. If I decide to do it as a big painting I'll make it at least 30" X 38",  and probably much bigger. But I doubt I'll be able to imagine the water well enough for that and I'd have to practice blending some more. This one is a learner in that direction. I want to be able to get that wonderful seemlessness in skies and clouds the best realist landscape painters achieve. 
    I may not get there but I'll give it my best shot. And the best of them manage it without a lot of blending anyway.  And I can always go back to doing the rocks and choppy water and trees I love that need little in the way of blending. Hell, I don't even like blending and scumbling. I just want to figure out how to do it. :)
  • edited January 8
    Thanks, @kaustavM. Not sure of the direction I'm heading in. I just stand at the easel every day and push paint around and hope I arrive at an ok place. Or are you referring to a change in direction of the land on the horizon in this painting?   If so, there is no change. It goes straight across horizontally. I just need to straighten the line a bit. But I'll get to that later. Still working on the sky. :)
  • I think your painting looks better than the photo, especially how you styled the brightest cloud. I really like the soft nature of this painting. Did you want a break from landscapes?
  • @tassieguy no, I meant that you are painting differently now. It's more abstract now. A natural progression perhaps.
  • edited January 9
    Thanks, @KuastavM and @anwesha. Yes I wanted a bit of a rest from my usual subjects - rocks, trees, hills etc  and to try blending and scumbling which I've never explored before.  :)
  • This is very interesting. So completely different from your usual style , Rob. 
    My initial reaction to it was ‘ Oh no. What IS this ? It’s not one of Rob’s paintings! Where are the rocks , the trees , the detail ? 😮
    I couldn’t take to it at all. 
    But you know what , this reaction was all about me and my set in stone expectations of your work. This latest painting is also beautiful, just a different kind of beautiful! It’s actually quite stunning when viewed without prejudice. 
    I think it’s a very good thing that you’re experimenting and I also think it’s a brave thing for you to do , given your success with your former style of painting. You’re taking a sabbatical at the moment and just seeing where it leads. 
    Maybe back to your former style but maybe not.  Time will tell. 
    Just enjoy the journey. 

  • Thanks, @Hilary. This one was just for R&R and to learn about blending and scumbling. I'll be back to my usual style pretty soon.  :)
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