There were two colors in the sky when this picture had been taken on a warm summer afternoon: a subtle Phthalo Blue mixed with Titanium White and Permanent Alizarin Crimson as well as another shade with less Phthalo Blue to create a whitish-red for the clouds. I dabbed the paint on with a large brush, applying the first layer of oils the 15" x 30" canvas had seen. Once a full coat of paint had been applied to the top third of the painting, it was time for my favorite part: the fan brush.
Everything in painting is about color and texture. In the case of the sky, it is the absence of texture that makes the background and foreground come to life. To remove the texture created in the application of the paint, there is only one tool, the previously mentioned fan brush. With a delicate hand, i slid the brush from left to right across the top of the canvas. The textures immediately vanished in the wake of the brush as the clouds melted into sky and sky into cloud. And just like that, the sky was done.
With a brilliant sky in place, there is no limit on how great the rest of the painting can be.
~The Anonymous Bard 10/21/11