Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tints, Shades and Big Sky Country

Clouds, clouds and more clouds . . .

Montana is such a great place to appreciate the sky and clouds. When you need a picture of clouds and the sky is clear, you just wait a little while and then go outside and there they are, rolling in and bringing some thunder and lightning with them. 

Notice how the sun back lights the clouds. This is what I like to focus on in this lesson. It works with the moon, too!

I LOVE giving kids pictures like this to use for value/color experiments.

First, they create a sky background -- either dark to light like the photo below, or concentric circles around a moon or sun (like the first photo above).

Then come the clouds, also dark to light. I like to provide students with lots of photos to use as reference because the light is different in each setting.

When everything is dry, they cut out the clouds, leaving a border of white paper around part of the clouds for the back light, and arrange them on their sky, as in the first photo above.

Pretty soon we have LOTS of storm clouds brewing!!

What else does Montana scenery provide for the art room? Well, how about these:

1. I like this for foreground, mid-ground and background with strong colors in the front and pale colors in the back. It also illustrates large items up close, smaller items in back.
 2. Here is another example of larger trees up close, smaller trees in the distance. 
 3. I do love river rocks and find that they are a good way for kids to practice shading and shadows either with "real-life" colors or Fauve-like hues. More on that later:))

Hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of summer vacation before it is time to start thinking of re-booting for school:))


  1. I love this! I spent several nights this summer taking pictures of the moon with Jupiter and Venus as they were lining up - I think this would be a great technique for many night sky lessons. Thanks!

  2. I love the the simple way you created the backlit clouds! Lovely!

  3. Thanks to Hope and Phyl. I love getting inspiration from nature!!