Painting clouds in oil

I have never painted clouds before and I am having a heck of a time trying to learn!!
I have watched many YouTube vidieos on "How to paint clouds", and it looks so easy.
My clouds come out looking pastry with too many brush lines/strokes.

Any advice??


  • Hi, @Onerom1945. As always, it's about values. Beginners tend to paint the darker areas in clouds too dark.
    It's ok to have brushstrokes visible in clouds providing the value of each stroke is correct. People often fall into over-blending clouds and they lose the vibrancy of the brushwork and individual colours/values. 
  • There are lots of ways to paint clouds. This was an experiment in creating layers of mist. Some reflecting  color. Some translucent. I painted layers then with a big bristle varnish brush I blended that layer. Repeated the process 4 or five times. Paint the last few layers with my favorite $0.25 bristle brush.

    This is pretty much straight forward painting. One thing that you need to observe is the plane that the clouds are in the vertical sky depth. Are they all on the same plane or is the atmosphere churning at different levels? 

  • TedBTedB -
    edited January 15
    While it's counterintuitive,  clouds should be painted half as dark in value as they appear.  Even the dark parts of a cloud are luminous and "dark" only by they fool the eye.

    The same is true of the blue portion, it's lighter in value and much paler in chroma than it appears.

    My naïve take to to treat the blue, cloudless background as a variegated, graduated vertical plane ...but the clouds as objects-with-height resting on a horizontal plane or series of stacked horizontal planes receding into the distance...

    Clouds are the only place I think hue-value-chroma in terms of "warm colors" and "cool colors"  contrasting.  Often the textural subtleties are in hue and not value.  Red-grays, rose-grays, blue-grays, creams and pale yellows.  Even touches of purple and greens.
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