When my League instructor Robert Schulz offered this lecture to the class, I remember being struck by the amount of information the students were being given. Reilly's program went way beyond teaching us how to paint, it helped us understand what we were painting. In retrospect it seems obvious that we should pay some attention to the different types of clouds in our landscape, but until then I hadn't given it much thought.
Cirrus are seen early morning or evening. They come together to form cumulus clouds in the afternoon. Stratus clouds are high in the sky and flatter. Cumulus are heaped up, but keep them light and floating. Cumulonimbus and nimbus are thunderclouds with precipitation.
All clouds have action. They are a mass of floating water vapor moved by the wind. Soften edges, pull wisps out of the cloud to show its loftiness and the action the wind puts upon it. Often the shadow side of a cloud is the same value as the sky behind it, a warm neutral against a blue sky.
Your composition will determine which values of the sky vault will appear in your picture. Thalo blue and green are mentioned here, but ultramarine blue and viridian are mentioned elsewhere and work just as well.
|A gray day sky is flat with little or no vault (change in value).|
|A moonlit sky has a slight value change to the sky vault.|
The Rose Dore Effect.
At the end of the day, dust and pollution rise up into the lower sky and become a red-orange haze of transmitted light. Reilly called this the Rose Dore' Effect after the pigment used to get the effect. The sky vault was painted first, and let to dry. The clouds were painted wet on dry, and the rose dore was glazed over the horizon part way up the lower portion of the sunset sky, without changing the value.
© John Ennis 2011
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