It has been a while since I showed the steps I go through to produce a painting.  I am working on a large one right now, so I decided this one would be a good candidate to go through this process again for those of you that are not familiar with it.

     A friend posted a photograph on social media of a scene on the central coast of Florida.  I really liked it, so I asked her permission to paint it and she readily agreed.  This scene is of huge cumulus clouds over the sand dunes.  I knew I wanted to focus on the clouds so I chose a canvas that is 36 x 48 gallery wrap.  I have the photo below.  This is a really nice photo, but the painting will be done in lighter colors I decided.

     I painted the entire canvas a light blue for the sky including the sides.  After it dried, I went back and it was darker than I wanted (acrylics dry darker, remember) so I went back over the top third with a shade lighter of blue.  Before it dried, I started with a huge 1"  thick bristle brush and started putting in the clouds using circular motions.  Then I blocked in the grass and sand. See below.

     Over all, I liked the shape of the clouds, and did you notice the "yellow" cloud? We have yellow, pink and red clouds often here in Florida so I wanted to make one in this painting.  I let the painting rest overnight and then came back the next morning to look at it.

It is coming along, but I when I put in some grass I noticed the  sideways "V" of shadows.  NOT GOOD! So, I got to work and covered that up quickly!  The clouds are too blue for my liking, but they still have a lot of highlighting to go yet, so I'm not worried.

Here, I have brought up the clouds even more, but now I feel like they are too "bumpy" even though we see clouds like that often, I want them to be softer and more "cotton ball" like. I am also making the pinkish-yellow cloud larger as this is part of my focal point.  I also notice that the top right cloud looks like it has an "arm" coming out so I need to soften that as it pulls the eye up to it.

I like the softness of the clouds better now, and the way they are floating over the seagrass.  I decided to work on the dunes and grass a little and let the clouds alone for now.  I highlighted the dunes, added tall grass and creeping runners.  I also added some of the pink and yellow colors into the dunes and small amounts in other areas of the clouds.  I will let it rest for a day or so, and then come back and do the final touches on the painting.  I am very happy with it overall though

 I decided that the back clouds were too high and pointed, so I took some blue and cut in sky colors so that they were reduced in size.  I think it looks better now, but there is still something bothering me.  I let it set for a day and then decided that the FRONT cloud was too similar in shape to the back clouds.  I added more to the center of them making the shape different.  Below you can see the final painting.  Now I just need to come up with a name!  Enjoy and Thank you for looking!

UPDATE:  I kept looking at this painting and I just wasn't completely happy with it.  I finally decided that the warm blues in the sky weren't right.  So, I painted over the sky with a cooler blue and now it looks so much better!  The sky now recedes as it should instead of being "in your face" as above.  I'm satisfied with it and call it done with a smile! This just illustrates that even professionals struggle with a painting at times.  See the final version below.  Thanks for looking!

'Scenes of Florida'
36 x 48
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas


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