Three Cloud Studies in Acrylics

I haven’t left painting the sea, but for the moment I’ve been exploring several types of cloud structures and brush strokes to achieve some desired effects – all about learning.

Acrylic Cloud Study 1 (11×14) my goal was to achieve a very soft atmosphere of wispy clouds with some depth – this particular study (used my own reference) has at least 8 layers of paint.  An underpainting of ochre was done first and then the background.  The ochre was a bit much, but I do like how it kind of peeks through the sky-blue background.  The cloud was done by dry-brush scumbling eliminating most hard edges and giving the piece a soft feel – click onto image for a larger view of the details.

Acrylic Cloud Study 1

Acrylic Cloud Study 1

Acrylic Cloud Study 2 (8×10) in Texas (used my own reference) we see some great cloud structures form just before a storm blows in.  They sort of bubble up with bright white bubbles and floating gray clouds around the structure.  These clouds are amazing to see.  In this study I wanted more hard edges to distinguish both the white bubbles and gray structures – still learning how to use the brushes and I can tell you I’m destroying some in the process!  Click onto the image for a larger view of details.

Acrylic Cloud Study 2

Acrylic Cloud Study 2

High Rising Sunset Clouds (14 x 7.5):  in this scene (reference image a photograph by Steve Lyddon of pmp) it is all about the height of the clouds, hoping to create drama from the low value background to the light cloud structures (keeping the land mass minimal).  My goal was to create height, depth and allow for some wispy aspects to the clouds.  The background was done with blues and purples using a hake brush giving it a nice smooth appearance; the clouds have many layers (initial was put down with a palette knife for some textures) done mainly by scumbling – click onto the image for a larger view of the details.

High Rising Sunset Clouds, acrylic

High Rising Sunset Clouds, acrylic


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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77 Responses to Three Cloud Studies in Acrylics

  1. rubiescorner says:

    These clouds are wonderful!

  2. I especially like the first one but they’re
    all fantastic!

  3. nutsfortreasure says:

    WOW beautiful works of art Mary.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have just returned from working in Paris and so am catching up. What a lovely surprise to see your cloud studies. They are beautiful and it’s clear to see that acrylic is definitely a good medium for you. Janet

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Janet for your thoughts on my cloud studies. I’m trying to get a feel for thickness/thinness of strokes, layering and transparency of applications. Appreciate it! Hope you are doing well.

  5. Your clouds are gorgeous! Not an easy subject!

  6. Arts & Rhymes says:

    All three very beautiful! The first one is my favorite; looks like cotton!

  7. I agree with the commenter who said you can almost see these clouds moving. Beautiful!

  8. aFrankAngle says:

    Wonderful! Clouds provide endless variations, and never the same. Hi Mary (as I ease myself back into a routine).

  9. Nicodemas says:

    Beautiful work Mary! Love them all but my favorite is the one on the bottom of the page.

  10. Gorgeous clouds, Mary. I love the first one the most. The colours in the sunset one are fabulous. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Sylvia – glad you enjoyed the series. The sunset painting was an incredible journey to paint, one layer after another to building translucency in the clouds and letting the colors become the focal point. Have a great week ~

  11. Hi Mary,
    Good to see you back! I too love clouds. I really like the first painting… you can really feel the lightness of them. Nice work! ~Rita

    • Mary says:

      Hi Rita, thanks and it’s good to be back. I destroyed a brush with the first one, doing a dry brush technique – I definitely like the effect, just need to keep to one old and used brush (I don’t have one, lol) so I don’t destroy the whole lot.

  12. Wonderful collection Mary, you covered all different aspects of cloud formations in a very unique way. I do must say love taking photos of clouds and your first study is just simply perfectly executed so it is my very favorite! This medium reminds me of your skills of interpreting waves at which you excel as well. I’m so happy and blessed to be back and see your artworks once again and share my thoughts on it, with that said I must say as well Welcome back Mary!!! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Welcome back to you Eva – so great to see you again. Thank you for your generous thoughts and feedback on the series. So funny that you mentioned waves and the similarities, because that is what I thought when I was painting this series of clouds – looking for patterns and feeling the flow. Awesome ~ have a wonderful week, btw your first art creations you posted upon your return were simply stunning!

      • Mary you always put me in a good mood, art is our way of channeling how we feel and perceive life with all her offerings and it seems that she is so very generous, I consider myself blessed by it. It is most wonderful to be part of this extraordinary community, to be surrounded by wonderful people and you’re a shining one among them, just awesomeness over all! Thank you once again and wish you as well a most wonderful week!

        • Mary says:

          It feels so good to have you back to our blogging community Eva – your absence was felt and noticed by many. You are always present and we love your engaging spirit. Here’s to you Eva and welcome back my friend!!

  13. Resa says:

    All 3 studies are wonderful. Yet, I have a fave. The first study, with the ochre undertones is very attractive. ⭐ ⭐

  14. Amy says:

    These layers of paint are remarkable, Mary! It made the clouds look like they are moving. Such a delicate painting. Thank you so much for sharing and teaching us how to appreciate beautiful paintings.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Amy, thanks very much – glad you enjoyed the cloud series. They are a fascinating subject to paint, just as enjoyable for me as painting the ocean.

  15. HI Mary—so glad to see you back! Sorry you didn’t come to Maine…but as the poet says..”The best laid plans of mice and men….”
    Prospero has teetered on the edge of calling me many things, but this is the first time he mentions pareidolia…..I do see faces in clouds….and on walls, in trees, etc….so far I have not seen the Blessed Virgin in a grilled cheese sandwich, though.
    Your cloud paintings are wonderful, and each quite different from the other…I’m expecting great things to come from this new work in acrylics!

    • Mary says:

      Great to see you again Cynthia . . . yes, I missed driving through your neck of the woods, perhaps another time. Keep the clam chowder warm ~
      Oh my Prospero has done it once again ~ he does love teasing you! Oh I’m sure though if you look long enough at these cloud studies something just may pop out at you – actually had what appeared to be an eye show up on one and I promptly brushed it away (so easy with acrylics!). Thank you, as always, for your encouraging words toward my paintings – great? I don’t know, but no doubt I’ll keep providing you with some interesting subjects. Have a great week.

  16. These are all fantastic, Mary. I loved number three!

  17. exiledprospero says:

    Invariably someone, like Cynthia, will see faces in these clouds. That’s fine–clouds ought to have a personality. And there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with gossamery clouds wearing a bit of makeup either–sharply defined dark eyebrows, a dab of meretricious color on the lips, a powdered nose…

    • Mary says:

      You always know how to brighten my day – ah the faces that just appear always providing a spark of fascination to the formations. Just love your creative flair Prospero in what’s visually possible as we gaze up and dream on – hmmmmm I can definitely see the makeup coming in to dramatize that fabulous clouds!! Hello to my friend Princess Ariel ~

  18. niasunset says:

    So beautiful dear Mary, I can imagine it should be so enjoyable to paint clouds… Thank you, have a nice day and new week, love, nia

  19. Beautiful, Mary! I like the first one the best 🙂 Have a great week!

  20. I love clouds, Mary. Whether I’m driving, walking or sitting on the deck I’m always looking up to watch the clouds roll by. I’m just amazed by them and your paintings capture exactly why. I can’t pick a favorite, they’re all beautiful. Sorry for your loss.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Geralyn for your message, means a lot. I’m with you – love watching clouds, they are beautiful. Only time that they scare me is when they have a look of scalloped shapes – around here that look says “oh no” unstable atmosphere, tornado’s may pop up.

  21. Jackie says:

    Wonderful paintings Mary! I love clouds.

  22. anna77dennis says:

    Great clouds Mary, I especially like the first one – you can really feel the lightness!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Anna. I’m so happy that you mentioned the lightness in the first painting, that was my goal. Took a while to achieve it, went through a few light layers of paint to get the effect I was after.

  23. Love your art and always appreciate it when you take time to share your projects.

  24. Lovely, well-worked, paintings

  25. Good to see your work again, Miss Mary.

    Welcome back!

    uncle john

  26. These are great paintings, Mary. Love the drama of the third one.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Janell, so good to see you. Thanks so much – I kind of like the drama in #3 as well. Hope you are doing good and looking forward to seeing what you are up to these days.

  27. Ogee says:

    Amazing that these were done in Acrylic…especially #1. Beautiful, Mary!

  28. lulu says:

    I’m crazy for clouds.

  29. stunning studies – my favorite is the first, and they’re all wonderful xo

  30. dorannrule says:

    Yes! Cloud #1 is absolutely the closest to what I see when cloud gazing. I think it is amazing what you accomplish with that enormous talent of yours.

    • Mary says:

      You are so kind Dorann – thank you. It’s fun learning something new, but oh my if you could have only seen a 16×20 seascape I did recently, well for my eyes only (actually I turned it around and the painting is facing the wall so I don’t have to look at it, lol).

  31. Fabio says:

    Hello Mary, on the sea, or through the clouds, you really shine! Have a great week, my friend.

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