Tutorial: Clouds in the Horizon (Acrylic Paint Layers)

Here I’m going to paint my version of clouds in the horizon using the technique of layering acrylic paints. The main purpose is to create depth and texture. The clouds further back should be smaller and more blurry (and covered by more layers of paint) than the clouds that are closer to you. This will be a horizon over water, so the mirror image of the clouds in the sky will appear on the surface of the water.

Layer 1

Using 2 different colors for the water and the sky, cover the paper with a layer of paint.

Now add the clouds that are furthest away from the eye (closest to the horizon). You can use plain white, but here I use white with some black on the bottom.

Flip your brush to paint the mirror image of each cloud on the water.

Place as many clouds as you like near the horizon line.

Important: allow this layer to fully dry overnight before adding another layer.

Layer 2:

Cover the bottom and top of the paper with a layer of color. Water down the paint to get the desired transparency. Be careful not to use hues with white or black mixed in, because those colors are less transparent.

Then, add more clouds further from the horizon.

Allow to dry overnight.

Layer 3:

Another wash of color (I used orange and blue) and more clouds.

Allow to dry overnight.

Layer 4:

Another layer of color (purple and yellow) and more clouds.

Allow to dry overnight. One more layer and we’ll be done!

Layer 5:

I painted the whole paper with a layer of blue and added larger clouds. I also used grey to better define the horizon line.

And there you have it: transparent acrylic layers used to paint clouds on a watery horizon.

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