In my last post I talked about the clouds and sky and how I design them for the overall composition.
My skies often have drama but I always keep in mind that they are backgrounds so I don't allow them to outshine what is more important, usually the main subject or theme and I never paint them as an afterthought.
I could make them the primary subject of course, then everything else would step up in support of it.
So even with drama it is always an understated drama, at times just enough to provide texture and participation but not so much it overshadows the rest, even when stormy.
They are a supporting character in the whole of the painting.
Click title under each painting to see original post.
|"Union Pacific 4259"|
|"Catalina Pacific Concrete (Storm)"|
Being a supporting character can also mean using the sky to describe the sentiment behind the subject of the painting as I did below by painting the sky with a certain amount of upheaval.
|"303 S. Pacific #1"|
Or by using the sky in a more subtle manner to further an attitude about the subject where I used the sky (part of a design element) as a harbinger of retirement.
|"Harbor Line #50 Crossing"|
Or painted in a more dramatic manner as the phantom cloud below. Although it occupies very little of the composition its swooping posture and action plays well to the backlit tangle of pipes and busy energetic composition.
|"Oil plant #5 (Phantom Cloud)"|
Or used as drama to celebrate.
|"Truck at Rest"|
Sometimes they loom over the subject in an almost menacing way to different degrees.
|"HB Power Plant - Dusk"|
|"Santa Ana River #3 Footbridge"|
Or they may be menacingly fun
Directly pound the subject into submission.
|"BNSF (Cajon Puddle)"|
Other times they linger in the background slowly settling over the subject.
|"Oil Plant Backside (w/ Storage Tanks)"|
|"Oil Plant #3"|
I may use them to burn, beat down or choke out the subject.
|"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 8"|
|"Warehouse Rooftop (w/ Palm)"|
|"Villa Riviera Wrapped for Restoration"|
|"Study 'Villa Riviera Wrapped for Restoration' "|
Or are left nearly white to make a point about the eventual disappearance of the subject.
|"Catalina Pacific Concrete (Demolition 1)"|
Sometimes my skies contain contrails, as a design element variation, allowing me to carve up the sky instead of relying on the usual clouds.
|"Oil plant #7"|
|"Sunkist Packing Plant (w/ Contrail)"|
|"Whitepoint Battery Bunker"|
And yes, sometimes I will even use higher chroma or saturated colors in my skies when I need to. You know, happy skies.
|"Pacific Harbor Line - Weeds"|
|"Power Pole #5 (2 Buttons)"|
|"LA River #3"|
|"Rails, Bridge, Refinery"|
Lately my skies have gotten lighter as I explore its subtleties and what I can say with them.
It gives the painting a different feel whether it is one of a thick smoldering atmosphere or a cool crisp breath of air.
|"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 3"|
|"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 13"|
My skies are never accidental. I always consider how they will play against the whole of the painting and the idea it represents. It is how I arrive at so many variations. I am not painting a sky or clouds just to suit some design purpose. I am not mindlessly dumping in blue as a background.
I am instead putting down an idea, a thought, a concept, my observations, something about life and using the sky as part of that language.
The sky's the limit (sorry, I had to).