Tag Archives: clouds

Painting the Dark Alleyways of Castello


The Dark Alleyways – watercolour and ink, 31 cm x 50

The latest painting is of the back streets of Citta di Castello. The brief included a particular doorway, which is down a narrow alleyway, plus three piazzas.

dscn6344Painting the alleyways

The scene needed to take into account the rear of the cathedral, the town’s famous round bell tower, along with three other structures that make up Castello’s memorable skyline.

The tight cobbled streets and strange irregular plan do not give you much room to work with. This area is also quite tall in some respects with high towers, the mass of the cathedral building and the impressive apartment blocks next door. So all in all I think the result is quite pleasing.


Stormy purple sky

Colour blind sky

As autumn closes in the weather has turned a little. Gone are the endless blue skies, sun streaked days with scorching afternoons. Instead we’ve been experiencing the odd dramatic thunder storm.

So I decided to answer the question all colour literate people ask. “What colour is the stormy sky in your world?” Well here you have it.  Tell me, who’d swap all of this for a boring, old grey sky? …  🙂


Painting an Umbri Tuscan Sky

Painting the sky for the Niccone Valley study I decided I wanted a nice summer one. Lots of celesta blue, blazing yellow sun and a few fluffy white clouds. As the image is to be used for the Lisciano Niccone commune promotions I felt it should have a bright, cheerful feel.

Perugino Painting 

St Paul and the Key

Perugino’s Clouds

I was looking through Piero Perugino’s back catalogue of work and came across a wonderful way he painted his clouds, waves of blues overlaying each other. So in honour of the great man I’m going to use this form for the clouds.

Tuscan sky

Umbrian Clouds

Yesterday was a beautifully clear day with the odd cloud in sight, unlike the storms of the previous days. These were the perfect copy of Perugino’s clouds and gave us a gorgeous Renaissance sky in the late afternoon.

Tuscan Sun

The sun, which as it sets, is technically a Tuscan sun, will be a shining star in the top right, echoing the Pinturicchioesque tree in the bottom right. Both will be bold circular shapes and have touches of yellow to make them stand out.

How to Paint the Sky Purple

The Niccone, so far

The Niccone, so far

Finishing off the painting of the Niccone Valley was proving difficult  but then mother nature intervened with an art show of her own. I had an idea to continue the dark blue, purple sky from the previous painting. To echo the composition of Lorenzetti and the previous picture of the Morra Valley.

The approaching storm

Gathering Clouds

Gathering Clouds

Tonight the sky lit up. Orange, green, yellow, white, pale blue, sky blue, ultramarine and purple. The distant lighting and rumbles of thunder added to the occasion and painting in such a setting was magical. Painting though with a limited palette and poor paper leaves you searching for better techniques to record the moment. Enter the digital camera.


Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds

These are beautiful photos of the stormy sky at dusk. They are not meant to be classical photographic  studies of the sky at the day’s end but a recording of the event for further use. Close up a sky like this has a definite watercolour quality to it, with swirling patterns, bold shapes and bright exclamations of colour. Luckily the neighbours are used to my moments of artistic investigation and put it down to me being a foreigner, rather than insanity.

Using the colours

Storm Approaching

Storm Approaching

How to use them is the question as even a display like tonight still doesn’t resolve in my mind the best way to complete the sky. Probably purple and blue will do the trick, too much fussing may over complicate the background.  They are lovely studies though.