Part 3. Project 2. Exercise 1. Cloud formations and tone 

This exercise was much harder than I expected.  I started with some wet in wet watercolour.  This is a technique I haven’t really used before.

I decided to put in a horizon as the tonal contrast between land and sky emphasises the darkness on the land and the lightness of the sky. I didn’t get the land dark or sharp enough though.


I tried oil pastel. I have always found oil pastel hard to smudge, I tried blending it with some olive oil which created an interesting effect and a yellow tone which the clouds did have.

oil pastel

I tried a very sketchy effect using lines

oil pastel

I moved on to conte crayon but I found I couldn’t capture the billowyness off the clouds


I moved onto charcoal which is always great for curves and billowing


I found different material worked better with different subjects, the trees and landscape worked better with harder materials and the clouds worked better with softer materials

clouds – charcoal, landscape – conte

In this sketch I used charcoal for the clouds and conte for the landscape. I like the abstract effects of this. I spent longer on this sketch, lifting out the light in the clouds with a putty rubber.

I was itching to get the patches of blue sky into a sketch. I used chalk pastel and I really like the soft feathery effect I could get with this medium.

chalk pastel

The thing I like about the contrast of cloud and sky is the solidity of the colour in the sky contrasted with the tonal variations of the cloud. I’d like to produce a piece where this is expressed – in the following sketch, the sky is a little patchy.

chalk pastel

I loved just looking at the sky and clouds and really observing the tonal variations in the clouds.

To do: continue sketching clouds, look up oil pastel techniques.