An integral part of drawing believable skies is getting the clouds right. Whether towering and majestic or thin and wispy, clouds can add sparkle, color, and dimension to even the most basic landscape.
But apart from water, they can also be one of the most difficult and frustrating things to draw. They are ever changing, filled with light and shadow, and capable of going from bright to dark in a matter of moments.
One of the more difficult things to draw correctly in any landscape is the sky. Yet the lighting and qualities of the sky are the things that make or break your landscape. Get the sky right and you’ve won half the battle of a believable landscape. Get the sky wrong and the battle is all but lost.
To help you get the best results when drawing skies, I’m beginning a series of mini clinics sharing some of the tools and techniques I use in colored pencil landscapes.
To begin, I used French Grey 20% applied with long, directional strokes starting at the bottom of the page and sweeping upward. I then used the same type of strokes and light to medium pressure to add Light Umber to the shadows and darker middle tones.
With this method, the under painting is created using colors opposite finished colors on the color wheel. For example, blue is opposite orange on the color wheel, so the under painting for a blue jar will be orange. The under painting for a yellow lemon will be purple.
Do all of your horse paintings show horses in deep grass.
Is the only thing keeping you from painting that sporting scene the idea – the fear! – of drawing all those feet?
The method is a simplified version of the classical method in which I do an under drawing first, then layer color over the under painting.
The subject is a portrait of a mare and foal from several years back. The portrait is a miniature at 3-1/2″ by 2-1/2″ inches.
A horse’s feet are nearly as distinctive to each horse as human fingerprints are to each person. Bone structure in the legs, body type, and genetics all play a role in the shape of the natural hoof, how it strikes the ground and how it is positioned throughout the stride. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all foot for the artist who is interested in painting individuals.
Over the years, skills at drawing feet improved and they are now among my favorite horse parts to draw and paint. Hopefully, this mini clinic will help you find the same enjoyment in producing a solid, believable foot. Let’s go!
One of the things I like about the regular (okay… semi-regular) life drawing I’ve been doing since early this summer is the range of subjects. Yes, I gravitate most to organic things. Trees. Grass. Leaves.
But there have been times when the door handle of a classic car or a crack in the sidewalk has sparked creativity. It’s a good way to hone the skills necessary to painting. Consider composition and ways to make the center of interest stand out.