Blue Skies Forever

SK11313 Spirit of the Southwest Step 5

I begin painting with the sky because it’s the source of light and influences the rest of the piece. My colors are mixed and lined up on the palette. #1. Pthalo Blue + a tiny bit of Lemon Yellow + White. #2. Pthalo Blue + White. #3. Ultramarine Blue + White. #4. Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. #5. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. If you’d like to know more about our Double Primary Color Mixing System CLICK HERE.

SK11313 Spirit of the Southwest Step 6

The sky is lightest near the horizon so mix #1 is used to paint the part directly above the mountains. It becomes darker toward the top of the canvas as the dome of the sky arches overhead so mix #3 is used here. Then the transition area is painted with mixture #2. The shadows of the clouds are painted with #5 into the wet blue sky, allowing me to soften the edges.

SK11313 Spirit of the Southwest Step 7

Highlights where the sun illuminates the fluffy clouds are added last with mix #4. Making the edges soft allows the clouds to recede into the distance. This follows a simple rule: Soft Edges go Back, Hard Edges come Forward. Another rule that helps to give depth to a painting is: Cool Colors Recede, Warm Colors Advance. I’ve used this in painting the mountains. The most distant one is bluer or cooler. The bluffs are made much warmer so they appear to be closer.

SK11313 Spirit of the Southwest Step 8

The warm and cool rule also applies to the landscape seen through the arch. The most distant part of the field is bluer, the Sage Brush is made warmer as it comes closer to the foreground. The soft yellow Chamisa near the opening is the warmest. I think this stage of the painting is one of my favorites. Jack and I love the way it looks with the distant scene finished while the rest of the piece is still just sketched in. Enjoy it this way for tonight, we’ll start painting on the courtyard tomorrow! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

3 Responses to “Blue Skies Forever”

  1. Tracy Says:

    Loving the one!

  2. Evelyn Rowland Says:

    very helpful on the blues! i’m going to see how this works in watercolour 🙂

  3. Phil Kendall Says:

    My sky is always that inviting optimistic Mediterranean blue. Using acrylic Titanium white…Cerulean Blue…Idanthrene Blue & Ultramarine…sometimes the sky first, sometimes the subject first depending on just how messy I’m going to be!

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