The painting above was done during our watercolor class to demonstrate a highly effective watercolor technique for painting skies in five minutes or less. Using a wet-into-wet technique, I allowed the paint to mingle freely on the wet paper, leaving areas of light for contrast and drama. I had the students paint three different skies this way.
I began this painting as a watercolor art lesson during the painting workshop showing how to use the technique of negative painting or backpainting to depict desert shrubs and sage. Even though the foreground is in shadow, you can still clearly see the effects of the sky light coming from the left side of the painting. The highlight side of each shrub is identified by the value conrast with the shadow side of the shrub behind it. The example we used had a desert style home in it, but I changed it into a distant cliff to add more interest.
Click on the inset photo to see how I laid in broad loose washes first, then defined the edges with a pencil after the initial washes had dried. This is a technique I often use to help me find where the contrast of values will be. The pencil lines will be obliterated by the paint since they appear only where an edge will be.
This was an art class demonstration of How to paint skies in watercolor. The sky only took five minutes. But the rest of the painting took another day! This painting is entirely made up without any reference material.