Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cloud Study

watercolour 19x13.5cm

As the sun sets earlier and earlier in the afternoon, I’ve been sitting sketching the sky again. This one’s done on budget 300gm paper – the surface starts to break up with heavier handling when it’s soaked – so I was extra careful about doing any wet manipulation or scraping. I actually fanned the surface dry between stages, and this seems to be the way forward with this technique - certainly with this particular paper, of which I have rather a lot. It does mean, though, that you have to remember very strongly what the original vision was.

Most of the cloud is done with ivory black, with little hints of Payne’s grey. The warm sunlit areas were washed very lightly with Burnt Sienna into Indian Yellow after light dry scraping to bring back the paper whiteness. If you look at the bottom corners of the blank border you can just make out where a run of wash seeped beneath the masking tape surround. I managed to scrape most of that off too, so that worked out quite well.

The blade I used for this delicate operation was my trusty Swiss Army Knife, which I’ve had about me since 1980. I lost it recently, but found it again - ten minutes after the new one arrived. So that worked out quite well too…


  1. Hi Keith, I was wondering if I could use this as a background for a poster? My high school is having a performance and I need to make a poster with a dark grey background. I have signed up for follow up comments so if you decide to allow me, I will be notified. Please let me know asap

  2. Hello Emily, and thankyou for taking the trouble to ask me.
    Just a couple of questions first, out of my own curiosity. Where is your school, and what is the performance you be producing?

  3. I go to a small town school in Canada and the performance is actually a collection of one act plays. The first play is about an old woman with Alzheimer, the second play is about two people have have narrators who develop a life of their own, the third play is about the final dress rehearsal of a Cinderella production where everything goes wrong, and the fourth is "9 Worst Breakups of All Time", pretty self explanatory, that last one. All of the plays have to do with epiphanies and realizations so I am designing a poster with light bulbs against a grey, textured background!

  4. Hi Emily, that sounds very interesting, and of course you can use the ‘Cloud Study’ as part of your own piece. If it does indeed prove suitable, I’d be very pleased to see your poster. I wish you good luck with this particular project, and those to come.

  5. Thank you Mr. Epps! I will send you a copy of the poster. I am not sure if it will be chosen as the one that we will be using but :)