Soft New Mexico Sky

SE2413 step 4

Let’s start painting. My sky mixtures are laid out on the palette. #1. Ultramarine Blue + White. #2. Pthalo Blue + White. #3. Alizarin Crimson + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. #4. Mix #3 + Cadmium Orange + White. #5. MUD + White. If you would like to find out more about our Color Mixing System and why we call the mixture of Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson MUD CLICK HERE.

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The entire blue sky is blocked in first. Since the sun is coming from the right I make that side of the sky lighter with mixture #2. The darker Mix #1 is used for the left part of the sky.

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The clouds are painted wet-into-wet so the edges will be soft. This is a simple rule artists follow to help give the impression of depth in a painting: Hard edges come forward, Soft edges go back. I begin with the darkest mix, #5.

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Middle tones are made with mixture #3 while the sunny highlights on the clouds are added with mix #4. To enlarge any of the pictures just click on the image.

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The mountains give another opportunity to increase the feeling of distance in the painting. Cool colors go back, Warm colors come forward. By making the mountains farthest away blue, or cool, they recede. As I paint forward the mountains lining the Rio Grande become warmer, making them appear to be closer.

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White Daisies are going to be in the containers by the courtyard wall. I make the tree and brush in the distance dark to provide contrast for the light colored flowers.

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The bluff on the right is made dark so the sunlight can stream in behind it, illuminating the water and hillside on the left. This is another technique to help give depth to a painting. That’s all for today, do come back and visit our studio tomorrow. And please, feel free to ask questions. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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4 Responses to “Soft New Mexico Sky”

  1. Patrice Kelly Says:

    Not knowing a thing about Art except that I have been a photographer all of my life . I am amazed at the size of the brush I see you use almost all of the time , I would think that you would use a very small brush , I be wrong . As usual , I love your paintings , they are always so alive and Happy . Have a Wonderful Weekend !


    Sent from my iPad

  2. Kathy Chin Says:

    Hi Mikki,
    Great lesson, thanks!
    Question, and I feel stupid for asking, but when you say hard edges come forward, soft edges back, what does that mean? Is that part of controlling which part of the brush you use???

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Hi Kathy,
      This is a super question. Soft edges are blurry. Think of taking a close up photo of a flower. When you focus on the blossom the background is out of focus or “Soft”, it drops into the distance. The image of the flower is sharp or “Hard”, so it comes forward. Sometimes to make a soft edge I’ll drag a clean brush over it and the adjoining area to soften or blur the line just a little so it doesn’t attract attention. Our eye is drawn to edges that are sharp or hard.
      Hope this helps. Hugs, Mikki

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