Painting Basics TRACK: Lesson 2, Sky Paintings


Create a painting of a sky which shows a broad range of colors and textures. Aim to show depth in the sky, with some parts of the sky coming forward, while others push back.


Triplegem, Brittany SpiszerBowsers, Helen

Reference Photos

  • Sky photos from our free reference photo collection
  • Shoot your own photos!
  • Don’t limit yourself to 1 reference photo, try combining elements of several photos to create your own sky.
Orange Clouds Reference 52
Flickr album: Orange Clouds
Artists for inspiration

John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Maxfield Parrish, Georges Inness, Claude Monet, Hilary Brace, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Emil Nolde, Thomas Sgouros, Thomas Cole, Peder Balke, Frederic Edwin Church, Caspar David Fredrich.

Rainstorm over the Sea, John Constable Painting
Rainstorm over the Sea, John Constable

Recommended media

Use any paint medium: watercolorgouacheacryl gouacheoilswater mixable oilsacrylics. We recommend using the same paint medium for the entire track.

We want to share your progress!

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Landscape in Soft Pastel

Art Prof Clara Lieu demonstrates drawing a landscape with soft pastels. She uses three different reference photos to create a new landscape. Techniques for starting and developing a soft pastel drawing are explained.

Prof Lieu talks about various techniques specific to soft pastels including layering, blending, creating a diverse range of textures and marks, and more.

While this video uses soft pastel, the concepts of creating depth and texture in the sky are the same basic ideas you can apply to any paint medium.

Atmospheric Perspective

Atmospheric perspective in art creates the illusion of space in a 2D artwork. Atmospheric perspective emphasizes spatial intervals, the distance between objects.

As objects recede into the distance, they become less detailed, lower in contrast, and more blurry. Objects in the foreground by contrast are articulated with crisp details and high contrast there by anchoring them in the composition.

Discussion led Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Show us what you make!

Mixed Media Acrylic Painting, Lauryn, banner