How to Paint a Cloud

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Painting a cloud may seem simple enough to do, but creating a realistic-looking cloud with a true artistic touch actually requires close observation and good technique. Clouds are not just white; they reflect the various colors in the sky. Armed with a range of paint hues and a little know-how, though, you can create everything from the cotton ball-like cumulus clouds that often accompany bright blue skies during calm weather to the stratocumulus clouds that are visible during dark, rainy weather conditions.

Things You'll Need

  • Thick paper or canvas
  • Two shades of blue paint
  • White paint
  • Raw umber paint
  • Rose or purple paint
  • Dark black or burnt sienna paint
  • Flat paintbrush
  • Angular flat (shader) paintbrush
  • Round paintbruch
  • Filbert paintbrush
  • Fan paintbrush
  • Bright paintbrush

Painting Cumulus Clouds

  • Create your base painting (sky) by lightly coloring the background of your paper or canvas in a raw umber paint, which is a neutral, beige color. Use a flat paint brush, which is good for filling in wide spaces, and make soft strokes.

  • Add clouds with white paint. Start by painting large misshapen circles at the very top of your paper or canvas and decrease the size as you move to the bottom of your painting. This technique will add a three-dimensional look to your artwork. Each cloud should vary in shape and texture, so use both hard and soft strokes as you paint. A round brush works well for outlining the clouds, while a filbert brush works well for blending and softening the clouds. Consider using a fan brush as well to add texture inside the clouds.

  • Add two shades of bright blue paint over the raw umber hue of the sky, using soft strokes until you reach your desired color. Use a flat brush or angular flat brush, which is sometimes called a shader.

  • Paint soft, short horizontal lines in several spots in the sky using white paint to add dimension. A bright brush is best for short, controlled strokes.

  • Toward the bottom of your painting, add soft, faint touches of a rose or purple shade of paint to create highlights. Consider using a filbert or angular flat brush.

Painting Stratocumulus Clouds

  • Create stratocumulus clouds by adding more of the rose or purple paint you used in Step 3 above to the painting you already created with a filbert or angular flat brush.

  • Add some soft strokes of grey paint to the white clouds with a filbert or bright brush.

  • Add hints of dark colors, such as dark black or burnt sienna, to different areas of the sky to create a stormy look by lightly dabbing on color with a filbert or angular flat brush.

  • Let your creativity guide you as you work with the paint to create your desired look.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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