This lesson takes the previous cloud lesson, “How Do I Paint Clouds?” one step further. It’s for all levels, but I would say to try do the first cloud lesson (it’s simpler), then go for this one, if you are at all tentative. It’s all about orchestrating value and intensity in order to achieve the “glow” of a sunset. Also, making some larger, gestural marks while maintaining a “light touch” with the pastels is a big part of this lesson.

This is a two-part lesson. First a Follow-Along Demo. Follow along at your own pace but remember my suggestions for time limits! Next is an Independent Assignment meant to expand on some of the principles presented in the Follow-Along Demo and to personalize your work. When you have completed both parts you can upload one or both images to receive a personal video critique on your work. Remember that the more mileage you get, the more progress you make, so I recommend that you complete both parts before submitting your images.

Who it’s for – This lesson takes the previous cloud lesson, “How Do I Paint Clouds?” one step further. It’s for all levels, but I would say to try do the first cloud lesson (it’s simpler), then go for this one, if you are at all tentative.

What’s it’s About – Orchestrating value and intensity in order to achieve the “glow” of a sunset. Also, making some larger, gestural marks while maintaining a “light touch” with the pastels.

Set a Personal Focus – Try to focus on just a couple aspects of the painting. For instance if you really are interested in color, focus on that and don’t worry too much if you don’t get the drawing exactly how you’d like it. Take it a step at a time!

Set a Time Limit – Keep it simple and don’t spend more than a couple hours on it. If you find yourself spending two or three hours on it, it’s time to STOP and try another version! I recommend looking at the video on the Stages of Learning, Creating Thumbnails and Scaling a Sketch.

Materials

  1. Your pastels
  2. A full sheet piece of Colorfix paper marked off to a piece to the same proportion a 23 x 9.5.
    I used Terracotta for this lesson, but you could use a different color or different brand of paper if
    you like. Please use sanded pastel paper!
  3. Sketch book and pencil or pen

Extras

  1. Easel
  2. Baby wipes
  3. An apron

Part I
Follow-Along Demo

Before You Start, a Few Tips on Following Along

  1. Stop the video whenever you need to – it’s one of the great things about learning this way. Plus, you don’t need to take notes!
  2. Don’t feel funny about copying my pieces! It’s a time-honored way to learn and I know you’ll develop your own “style” in due course. I give you lots of ways to take off on your own and expand on the demos/lessons.
  3. Take your time, but not really! I want you to speed up a bit so you can start to develop the “whole” piece all at once.
  4. Do it differently. If it feels uncomfortable, you’re likely on the right track.
  5. Remember the three “P’s” Perfection, Procrastination, Paralysis. There is no such thing as a perfect painting, so don’t even worry about it.
  6. If you have trouble, ask for help! My team and I want you to have a great experience doing the lessons!!
  7. There are 5 stages in each lesson. The beginning of each stage is a good time to pause the video, take a short break and check in on how you’re doing.

Dreaming Orange: Remember that when it comes to clouds, nobody is going to be able to look at your piece and say “clouds don’t look like that”, because there are infinite possibilities when it comes to clouds! We are really free to get very dynamic and gestural. At the same time, I would try to maintain a light touch so that your clouds have an ethereal, transparent quality rather than a heavy overworked look. Stay as thin as possible for as long as possible.

Part 2
Independent Assignment

Do a second version from you own reference material. I think we all have a sunset or two that we have been meaning to get to. Now’s the time! If you can, maybe a photo-taking excursion is in order!

When You’ve Completed Both Part 1 & 2
When you’re done, click here to upload pics of your painting and I’ll send you a Personal Video Critique. I’m curious what you’ll come up with! The first critique request is a free bonus for you. If you’d like additional critiques, normally a Personal Video Critique is $97 but you can send a message my support team to get a discounted critiques package – I’ve already told them that since you are taking lessons from me, you get at least 40% off.

If you aren’t ready for a personal critique from me, then be sure to upload your work to our Community page where your peers can take a look. I often comment on the Community submissions as well – it won’t be a video critique but I really enjoy seeing your work and helping you when I can.

Next Up!
When you’re done, send me your image or images and I’ll reply with a video critique of your efforts! Just follow the simple directions on the site. I’m curious what you’ll come up with!

The Stages (applies to both part 1 & 2)

  1. Planning
    • Crop your reference, (feel free to crop it just like mine or change it up a bit).
    • Do a quick 5 to 10 minute thumbnail. This is a great way to get a feel for the piece and visualize the final version.
  2. Drawing
    • Scale up your thumbnail to the correct proportion Watch my video on scaling a sketch!
    • Lightly sketch in the essential shapes
    • Use your thumbnail sketch more than your photo reference at this point
  3. Blocking In
    • Establish the essential shapes of the piece, (3 to 5 largest shapes) Use the sides of the sticks)
    • Establish the values of those main shapes. What is the overall or average value of each shape?
    • Get a feel for how the piece works as a whole.
  4. Adding On
    • Add a variety of hues, and intensity to each shape.
    • Add texture and smooth out gradations where needed. Watch my video To Blend or Not to Blend.
    • Add a light source or direction of light.
    • Add detail.
  5. Finishing
    • Resolve any areas that need attention or TLC.
    • Slow down make color adjustments where needed.
    • Go the extra mile and exaggerate contrast and intensity where needed. Give yourself permission to do this!
Sunset Sky
Download the Lesson PDF

Enjoy “Sunset Sky”!

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Ctrl-Click (MAC) and choose “Save File As”
Right Click (PC) to download files.

Click Here to Download the PDF

Download the Images PDF
To Download the PDF file:
Ctrl-Click (MAC) and choose “Save File As”
Right Click (PC) to download files.

Click Here to Download the Images PDF

Skill Builder
The Influence of Light

SUPPLEMENTAL VIDEOS

Lesson 8