In this exercise you’ll concentrate on drawing clouds in the same way as you concentrated on trees, creating comprehensive tonal studies in your sketchbook using charcoal, oil pastels, conté sticks and other tonal media. You can also use a putty rubber to lift out the lightest tones and add texture by erasing small areas, leaving pale and expressive traces of paper beneath the medium.
I have done two sets of studies. The first one is a very clear blue morning sunny sky with very little cloud and the second is based on a sketch I did last week in the Lake District. The sketch was done on a sunny morning with heavier clouds but still a little blue sky showing through. Media used for both sets are watercolour, charcoal and, graphite and watercolour pencils.
Vija Celmins (born 1938) is an important Latvian-American visual artist best known for photo-realistic paintings and drawings of natural environments and phenomena such as the ocean, spider webs, star fields, desert floor and rocks. The interview on Tate Blog titled ‘Thinking Drawing’ dated 1 Jan 2007 is worth reading. http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/thinking-drawing.
The Tate artist room of Celmins interview gave some insight of her process.
John Constable was best known for his landscape paintings. He did a large amount of cloud studies in various media. The article discussed John Constable’s study of cloud in relation to an amateur scientist Luke Howard of the same period is very interesting. http://www.artandarchitecture.org.uk/stories/james_clouds.html.
There are some valuable of Constable’s cloud study in the Tate collection.