What time is it ?
What time of year ?
What is the weather?
This is what you need to know about executing a good pictorial.
The light from the sky lights up or darkens the rest of your picture, it is NOT the last thing to decide but the first.
All other colours in the piece will “bounce “ off the sky.
Often in sunsets and sun rises, the sun glow colours are the direct opposite of the sky colours. You might get an apricot colour in a blue sky, a golden one in a lavender sky. Use this trick to get skies that are “ real looking”.
Blue - how often is the sky really really blue ?
Much more often than we realize, we get jaded looking at it all the time and we are focused on the horizon which is lighter than if we looked up into the sky.
What other colours can the sky be? List them on a page ti expand your ideas.
Unless a storm approaches or some other weather anomaly the horizon is always lighter.
What about clouds ?
For some reason hookers are not very good at clouds. We want to hook straight across when we do skies and we lose some vitality when we do this, we cannot provide depth to our sky.
We also often choose the wrong colours for clouds, using things that do not suit the sky colour well. Using various values of blue to white will depict light clouds. Make sure the colours of your sky suit the rest of your picture.
A cloud that is back lit with rays requires the cloud be dark gray made by dyeing blue with back. The edges of this cloud would be very light.
Skies need many colours of blue even if they are very close, we need to depict more lively skies in our rugs, ones that denote LIFE and DEPTH.
Clouds might be fluffy and pink there might be 7 or 8 colours in these clouds. Try laying out stripettes on your sky colour in a gathered up ball to see if they look cloudy to you, squint your eyes, does everything look like it belongs ?
Clouds need dark unpinnings, this is where they are glued onto the atmosphere.
Think about hooking ROUND ish lines in your clouds. Clouds far away will have more shadows, more emphasis on the bottoms less on the tops. These distant clouds will be closer to the horizon line, not as tall as they disappear and not contain as many values.
Hazy skies are indicated by unfocusing the landscape as its disappears into the distance. Do this with colour!! Duller and lighter as shapes recede, create soft edges with close values.
Use dark clouds with brilliant lights peeking through, be adventuresome.
Autumn skies might have a slight greenish cast.
Night skies can be violet,teal, green,purple,navy.... don’t forget to colour your moon to compliment the sky....violet sky - golden moon, teal sky ? red orange moon. Weather is cold? Make your moon cool colours.
Even skies we see that look lined or stacked up have thicker and thinner bands.
Start really looking at and studying skies, make quick sketches so you might remember them. Nature offers us up panorama each and every day. Get inspired by it.
Water will reflect like a mirror if it is still.
The sky is like a bowl, sometimes if we see water at eye level it reflects the horizon, if we see it from above , it is very dark blue because it reflects to upper atmosphere. You need to really look at the shape of the water you depict in a rug, and the view of it. Is the water a thin oval ? Then it will reflect the horizon probably ?
Is it close to the viewer, what is the vantage point?
This will dictate what part of the sky it reflects.
Because water is often a mirror it can be many , many colours including black!!
Slowly running water needs needs patches of high lights and darks, if it is shallow we will see the creek bed here and there. Hook these types with short patches, no need to use up a whole stripettes in a line.
Quickly running water will need lots of rich ( containing colours ) grays and whites with hooking strokes indicating movement.
It needs curves and highlights.
Reflections of plants and buildings, need to be broken up somewhat to show a slightly rippled wind ruffled surface.
If the water is still do a mirror image with the colours slightly duller in the reflection.
Water around rocks is lighter and will ripple around, use hooking direction to achieve this.
A summer day with sun glinted surface on a lake requires very bright (perfectly white) highlights.
I often provide distance with water by decreasing the strip width as I move away toward the horizon. I also decrease water movement by flattening out the curves I use slightly.
How to Separate Sky from Water.
It does not take much to do this but there is no magic bullet for success every time, trial and error teaches you a lot.
I leave the horizon to the end , it is usually the last thing I do.
I try out colours by laying strips into the space I’ve left until I find the right one.
You can rely on a distant shore to provide a break.
You can also make sure your water varies in saturation or slight value from your sky.
Look at water of all types in nature, from puddles to oceans, learn from this capture the water with photos. Study them to enrich your rugs.