Clouds are a beautiful image and motif for art. Clouds are symbolic for romance, dreaminess, and natural beauty, whether you’re painting a landscape or creating a mural or border for your walls. When painting clouds, there are several factors to consider, depending on your medium, experience, and goals.
To paint clouds, you must first choose the type of cloud you want to see. Clouds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on their composition and height. You might want to paint thin, wispy clouds or heavy, thunderous storms. Some people prefer the patchy patterns of a mackerel sky to the fluffy, marshmallow-like texture of cumulus clouds. To narrow down what you want to paint, take reference photos or do some online research on different types of clouds. Many artists believe that being a skilled painter requires intense and careful observation.
In order to paint clouds for your project, you’ll also need to figure out what color the sky is. Do you prefer a vibrant sunset with many colors or puffy white clouds against an azure blue sky? You can paint clouds and sky at the same time with acrylic or oil paints, blending the colors together on your canvas or wall to achieve the desired texture and ratio of cloud to sky. Clouds will be distinct against a clear sky if there is little or no blending, but wispy, barely existent clouds will result if there is a lot of blending.
You may believe that painting clouds requires only one color, but observation will reveal that clouds are multi-layered. Even the most puffy white clouds have some shadow, giving them a sense of depth and weight. Consider blending shades with your base color to create shadows, and be willing to experiment with shade and highlight placement. If your clouds are mostly white, an acrylic paint that allows you to paint over mistakes is a good choice.
Some well-known artists are known for their ability to paint dramatic and fantastical clouds, and aspiring painters can learn from them. Landscapes with prominent and wild cloud details are common in Maxwell Parish’s famous art-deco paintings. Similarly, traditional cloudscapes are used in many of the works of French artist William-Adolphe Boguereau to evoke or enhance the emotion of the painting.
Don’t be afraid to play around with clouds; they’re meant to pique your interest and inspire daydreaming. Use bright colors and geometric shapes, and don’t worry about making your painted clouds perfect. Each cloud is different in size, shape, and composition, just like snowflakes. Your painted clouds can be your own perfect daydream, one-of-a-kind and original to you and your artistic vision.