Stormy skies

While walking, on the lookout for something I could sketch, I looked no further than the sky. It was both fantastic and rather terrifying, as the brooding clouds looked ready to empty their heavy load on me. So, before the anticipated deluge I took a photo, and continued on my walk, expecting to find myself racing for cover at any moment. Weirdly, those clouds kept on brooding and finally wreaked havoc in the middle of the night. Wind thrashed the trees, streets, and whipped up the sea, but our region was relatively unscathed, fortunately. Not so, further out west where floods drowned cars and wrecked homes and businesses.

The following day was still fairly awful, with showers and cold winds chopping up the sea, so when I returned from my (short) walk, I settled in to do a sketch. I took out my watercolour pad, determined to use some paint, rather than the drawing mediums that I love so much more. I’ve often posted about my bad relationship with watercolour, but I know it’s a good idea to keep persevering. Thanks to Tony McNeight’s classes in the past I have learned not to fear watercolour so much. And, as I very well know, I can’t expect to improve, if I don’t keep trying to use it. So, I arranged my sketch gear around me. My Hahnemühle 140lbs cold-pressed paper, pencils (graphite), aquarelle (water-colour pencils), lumocolor, (which is thick, white and and repels water), indelible ink pens, water-soluble pen, water-soluble graphite, and my little watercolour set.

I lightly sketched the bottom of the clouds with my ‘sketch & wash’ pencil, then applied the little blue patches of sky with aquarelle. (For those who are unsure of how to use this medium, one sketches dry, and then washes water through the coloured pigment). I pulled a wet brush through those areas, and left the paper to dry. Next came the Paynes Grey paint, which I diluted with water at intervals, applying where needed across the clouds.Then I left the page to dry. Next was the indelible pen, plus water-soluble on top. The sea was next, using grades of Payne’s grey, and the grass using aquarelle green.

I dried the paper again and tidied up the navy ship, the buildings and other bits and pieces with pencil. Voila. Stormy skies were over.

4 thoughts on “Stormy skies

  1. A lovely capture of the stormy skies, and surrounding scenery – a deft watercolour rendition! I like the mix of media you used… Our skies here this morning looked similar, and the wind was wild. I took some photos for some drawing/painting references…I have one of those “sketch and wash” pencils, and also love the tones I get from water soluble graphite pencils. Your post was an enjoyable read, thanks.


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