How to Paint Storm Clouds


Even if you're not Bob Ross, you've probably wanted to paint an accurate landscape at some point. Budding painters can rest assured, there are simple ways to make your skies and storm clouds look realistic that won't take years of training. A few simple steps will have your clouds looking like they're about to rain down on the rest of your scene. Not all of us can be famous artists, but all of us can be artists.

Things You'll Need

  • Paintbrushes
  • Acrylic paint
  • Canvas
  • Empty cans
  • Easel
  • Water
  • Kitchen sponge
  • Create a solid sky with the color of your choice, probably something in the middle range of tone. Stormy skies often display both light and darker colors that create a muddled effect. Make areas where you intend to add clouds slightly darker.

  • Apply some basic color to the base of your clouds to get started. Use a light color (blue or gray) and paint in wispy, overlapping strokes over your sky.

  • Mix several colors together in an empty can for a more blended effect. Try using a light or sky blue, a darker blue and gray or a small amount of black. Squeeze the colors together into the can and add a teaspoon of water before mixing thoroughly with a brush.

  • Use the same brush to apply the mixed paint. Paint in wispy, circular strokes again until you've filled in the area of the clouds.

  • Dab the corner of a wet sponge in the mixed paint. Dot the cloud with the corner of the sponge adding a layered effect. Hold it down momentarily on the canvas, then lift off.

  • Touch up the cloud with individual colors and a clean brush. Add white and gray flourishes (small lines) throughout the clouds. Darken the lower portions of the clouds by adding a solid gray color.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make bunches of converging clouds rather than the more traditional individual clouds popularized by children and novice artists.
  • According to "Bob Ross' New Joy of Painting," you can "Reinforce the...light areas of the sky using Titanium white...using criss-cross strokes."


  • "Bob Ross' New Joy of Painting," Annette Kowalski, 1997
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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