Painting Clouds In Watercolor | Eva Nichols | Skillshare

Painting Clouds In Watercolor

Eva Nichols, Watercolor Artist

Painting Clouds In Watercolor

Eva Nichols, Watercolor Artist

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8 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Introduction To Painting Clouds In Watercolor

    • 2. Materials For Painting Clouds In Watercolor

    • 3. Stormy Clouds 1

    • 4. Stormy Clouds 2

    • 5. Stormy Clouds 3

    • 6. Cummulus Clouds 1

    • 7. Cummulus Clouds 2

    • 8. Wrap Up Painting Clouds In Watercolor

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About This Class

Painting Clouds In Watercolor

In this class I will show you how to paint a variety of different clouds formations in watercolor using

wet-into-wet, wet-into-dry, as well lifting techniques. I will show you how to create a couple of easy landscapes from your initial cloudy skies and show you a variety of painting techniques to create atmosphere and depth.


We will be painting 2 different types of cloud formations  in this class, and I will show you how to paint 2 very different, but easy landscapes using the clouds I demonstrated for you.


Whether you are a beginner, or an experienced watercolorist this class is sure to teach you new and useful watercolor techniques to enhance and bring new drama to your watercolor landscapes!


  1. Introduction and samples of cloudy skies to get some inspiration for our paintings.
  2. Overview of materials for this class.
  3. Painting demo of 2 different types of clouds in watercolor. A stormy, dark sky, and a big, billowing cumulus cloud in the sky.
  4. Painting demo of 2 different landscapes using the previously painted watercolor skies.
  5. For your class project you will paint your own interpretation of skies and landscapes using the watercolor techniques demonstrated.


Please make sure to post your painting to the project gallery – I can’t wait to see your clouds and your landscapes.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Eva Nichols

Watercolor Artist


Hi, I am Eva Nichols, a Danish born watercolorist residing in Truckee, California where I love being part of the creative community. I show my work at various galleries in California and Nevada, and teach watercolor classes both locally as well as nationally and internationally. 

I love watercolors because the are such a lively, interactive medium. My painting inspiration comes from nature and traveling. Sharing what I have learned about watercolor over the years is my passion.

I like to keep my classes fun and inspiring, letting the watercolors flow and make them paint for me taking advantage of "happy accidents"!

You can watch some of my demos on my YouTube Channel: Eva Nichols Art

For tracings & handouts or to sign up for my Newsletter please go t... See full profile

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1. Introduction To Painting Clouds In Watercolor: you're watercolor artist. Today, I'm going to show you how to paint clouds in water color. In my previous skills, here, class I showed you how to be a different kinds of skies, and I wanted to expand a little bit on the whole business off pending clouds because they can be a little bit tricky. But there are ways off getting some very effective clouds without too much trouble. So let me Syria, how do that? So we're going to go into the studio and get our materials together, and then we'll get painting. And I just wanted to show you that I do have some samples of clouds. Yeah, I just wanted to show you the nature of clouds. You can see their doctor had the bottom and their flatter at the bottom. They get smaller as they get closer to the horizon, and you have a mixture off hard and soft edges, and can you see how big they are? We're now up the top of the sky versus how small they are at the rise in line, and you can see there's a mixture of hot and soft edges on the clouds, and you'll also notice that the skies starkest up top and can you see how light it gets? A suit moved down towards the horizon. 2. Materials For Painting Clouds In Watercolor: So let's go over the materials were going to be using in this video. And, uh, as you can see, when you watch this video, I have to change studio in the middle of it because off the covert Flight 19 and I had to wear Dr to Wear opt in Utah from California to help my daughter and son in law with my little granddaughter Sophia. She's only a little over a year old, and both mom and dad have to work from home. And it was, uh, it was necessary for climate to come and help out and make sure that Sophia didn't get into too much trouble. So I had to set up a makeshift studio here. So a few of my episodes they have been filmed in this makeshift studio, and the lighting sound scooters out as I'm used to, but I hope you can bear with it. And so let's get to the materials he had. So apart from a watercolor paper, which, you know, I like the arches either £140 or £300 cold pressed what kind of paper, and I had to buy a couple of blocks because I didn't have enough paper with me here. So, um, that's the people. This is my travel board that I used. And then, of course, I had my tallit. It is basically my standard palette. Except I have green gold from Daniel Smith on this one. Instead of my vernacular on gold and the colors I'm going to be using are going to be quinacrine rat, French, Otto, marine blue, cobalt, blue and purple. Ooh, maybe a little bit of indigo. Maybe a little bit of transparent yellow and burnt sienna. But she and I used to weigh down the blues for the couch, and, uh, there you can see the palate still have my little puddles in there. And, of course, we need our water. I always like to have the two containers of water, so could keep one, please. Um, we need a lot of the tissue to lift out the clouds. And then, you know, whatever brushes you like to paint with. I know I'm using my big number 30 round, and I have a couple more rounds here. Number eight, this one of number six and I had a little hoops detail brush. If I need that I have my dagger brush, and that's pretty much it's for the brushes. And then, of course, we need our spray bottles. I have my dot bottle and I have my Mr Bottle. And then I have my credit card to scrape out some rock formations for the background. And if you need it, you can use a pencil. I like to use, uh, and number two and keep your lines very light. If you were using a pencil, so that is pretty much it, so let's get started. 3. Stormy Clouds 1: So the next time going to show you this as stormy cloudy sky. And, uh, I have a little bit of my indigo there left over, and I'm gonna put some indigo with French ultra marine blue that I used from a night sky. That's what I have left over here. So I'm putting in some of my cobalt blue And can you see how slightly Dakar a little bit gray or blue that work really well And then I'm gonna take some over here, and then I'm gonna put in a little bit off for China. Not too much to create a three. A little bit of writing to. Yeah, that's better. Going cleaning shots because of the integral. This is perfect. That's great kind of lavender, bluish gray color. I'm happy with that. And see you hold it up. Show. You can really see the blues that I have here. Can you see that? Nice res. Bluish little hint of wants to it. All right. So you shall step. We're going to wait down. No paper. Just all the way now. Not old way down. This one. That's short. Nicely distributed. No fly spots anywhere. Moment to sink in. I just you know, all this extra water was in trouble. And then do you sure thing going to spread a little bit on the back? Yeah, I could see the water was pulling up on the edge. So one running back into the painting, Okay, this time gonna start with this. Confused A little bit of a dollar blue we have here takes on this great color and put it in good color in my sky graze blue It's out my brush And actually, I think it's gonna let it sing into the paper a little bit. I think I might go back into my cobalt blue and then get a little bit of that bird Sheena read. It's too much blue. And then why is still it's still very, very wet. Can you see that? Super wit? And as you want some of that a little bit thicker pigment in here some places and I'm thinking clouds. That's what I have in my head Clouds. Okay. And while that dusts has a chance to do seven to the paper a little bit white down and then I'm gonna take tissue paper, and I kind of crumpled it up. And now I'm going to start lifting out some cloud shapes and I'm trying to pick where can lift it out. So I get some of that dark color underneath and remember the house on up on the top there bigger than the clouds that you will see. Food it down and you have to have clean tissue paper. So, you know, once you have kind of used it up crap, a new one and just start lifting out now shapes you wanna have? Maybe. And then here we have one that's going into that dark here, smaller ones. And you can't, you know, fiddle around with this too long course, And you're gonna go dry too much on you won't be able to lift out anything. Just keep an eye on and make sure that they look right and not to regular snow. That's UCS. One should think we have a tendency to ought to always get things to regular. Once there. I think that's pretty good. It might just she can lift up some a little wispy wants down there and the rice in line. Think of leaving a loner. He used to share sale there. That's better. Okay, now we're gonna do dry 4. Stormy Clouds 2: so my clouds have dried and I'm pretty happy with him. But they're most likely always be some little shapes that you'd like to win. Fix a little bit, and so I'm going to use a little bit of a stiff a brush. And, um, this one is a short, flat, half inch brush, and I would probably have preferred to have around stiff brush. But I don't have that available here because we're in the middle of the Corona virus things . So, um, I have my studio at my daughter and son in law's house, which is where I'm hungry and down. So I have to use what I what I had already have available, and you might be in the same situation. So here we are. I'm just lifting out a little bit with a damp brush that is a little stiffer then then my regular painting process. But it's not with this cover brush. Of course, I'm not really don't wanna destroy the watercolor paper at this point, just in case, I decided one of paint in a little bit in the clouds, so I just connected thes shapes, and I'm just looking at the cloud shapes and you can see here have superimposed a little picture off some clouds that I I took the pictures just the other day where we had a storm coming in Just so you can kind of see what they look like. So the cloud, so basically more puffy on the top, and then they are flatter at the bottom. There, larger appear to get smaller, to get down to the horizon line. So what? Just want to keep that in mind. And then I want, you know, some different shapes that they're not too similar. I don't want them all like same size and things like that. So I'm just going in here and just kinda fine tuning a little bit way. I think it needs a little help. And maybe you're lucky. And you got all your clouds. Just perfect. Sometimes that happens. But it didn't happen for me today. Um, all right, I like that bad. Or and, you know, if you really, really needed to win lift highlights that you could you send Mr Clean Magic a laser also, But I don't I don't again. I don't think I have any of those here. Have to ask my daughter. She happens to have any, and I don't think so. But I don't reading He did, I can I could make do with what I have here. And I wanted to maybe also fix thes lower Klaus and a smaller they tend to get flatter. Also, I feel when they are down towards the horizon line. So I want to make sure that they're not perfect at the bottom. It's one hell. Make sure you don't have your brush wet, Just damp. If you can feel it's too. We're just, you know, you should tissue clean tissue. That's what you want. Now it's done here in the skies also nighter at the bottom here. So you know they don't stand out as much. These little house. Okay, I think this is pretty Okay, this will be a little longer. It's like 1234 I'm not really too happy with that like that. I didn't want up here. Maybe that goes over this one. See, how we doing? I think that's pretty OK. Pretty OK. That okay, let's try and get a little landscape in 5. Stormy Clouds 3: So I mixed up some partners of corner have French ultra marine blue. I have a couple blue here and some parts of birth gender. This little bit of China here I have my transparent yellow and I have a green gold and I have indeed no, here they are all winter Newton colors and it doesn't matter. You can choose whatever colors you have available. And my idea. Waas. I wanted to just paint like Holy. Remember the African landscape? We had civil, you know, storms rolling in in the different places we were. So I thought that would be kind of fun if I could just kind of capture that and going to start out with just a little bit off the French Ultra Marine blue Quiet down with the little bit of the burnt Sienna. And I, um, just sprayed in with my dot bottle to get some, uh, water on my paper here so I can have some hard edges and some soft edges. You can see how it's fussing out there and there some hard edges in between like to have a little bit of a variety, and then I'm gonna go in, get a little bit more off the boat shin on as I'm working my way forward and I'm gonna put in a little bit of yellow now and I'm just stepping the tip off my brush here in that let's get a little bit of the green gold and I can take a little bit of that in here. And it's kind of toned down with the French Otto Marine blue with a little bit of the Bert show. No interest or not too bright. I just want to say some little bushes and stuff. It's some places and I can spray in a little bit more Say move forward here and I'm gonna go in and get a little bit of my indigo and I want some burnt Sienna And he was trying to get some kind of earthy colors and with some greens because, you know, I was there in Africa when it was summer. So there was lots of green, and I don't mind having a little bit of sparkle going on. Is that and going to get some more off that green gold? That's just a fun color because it really spreads if you let it spread out there a little bit of Thean going to kind of diving some areas brush and I want to get some more off my Bert Tiana. I put it here, show the ocean, and I could do some little like that into cute. And now I'm gonna where it's beginning to dry. I'm just gonna getting a little bit off my water droplets from my dot puddle. And I'm just gonna get everything sink into the paper for just a moment. Now that this shine has begun to lift part of the paper, at least, um, I'm gonna go in and I'm going to scrape out and little bit of texture with my trusted credit card. And tears could swing this around out. Try not to prudence Think of which on my edges here. So I just want to get some indication off some undulation and some rocks in the landscape here and now I like that I am going to go in and going to use my dagger brush. I think be good brush to use. And now I'm gonna go in with a little bit of thicker paint That's French ultra marine blue and the burnt Tiana. A little bit more when Shana, there's work it like a dark brown gray color, and I'm going to go in, see how much it spread. She I'm OK, I think. And I'm going to put some trees in. And these are these beautiful occasion trees that you see and shown just with the tip off my brush. You're beginning to get some of those branches in, and I make sure that I don't make the tree too fat to begin with. The caution is still growing down there because it's still damp. So just want to make sure that I can, um, fix that later, okay? And they have a lot of these branches go out could also painted, too. How about tree? That's so interesting. But this one's gonna be the occasion tree. So I just want to get beginning off some of all these many, many branches we know a bit more bloodshed. I am great down making really nice and dark. These things are beginning to dry here for me and make sure that the branches are not fat or then the trunk. I'm going to still have to fat in this trunk up, and I wish I had my line of brush, but I don't. That would be ideal for this stuff. But you gotta use what we have themed. I just wanna shopping a little bit. Even though there's a rock in front there, I still want to soften here a little bit. Just so like that. And thick. And this one hand, just get all those shapes in. Think I'm pretty OK now? Yeah. Again. We have branches going here. All right, then we're going to put the folded Sean, and I'm going to use I think I'll use my bag a brush again. I'm going to use my came to go and I'm gonna put a little bit off that green gold to start with inside it. And see, I'm using just the back of the brush to get these Very typical will be more yellow to get some because they were, you know, with the light hit them. They were actually quite bright green still, and we'll cover up some of the trunks because that's how it is. But they're very open compared to many other trees. So the closest, as far as you know, the shapes of the foliage that I can think off would actually be cypress trees. They should The occasion tree. Okay, I think we're good there. And then we want to have some more. Like little bushes and stuff here and here for around can also have some little bushes. Just little texture. Break it up. I couldn't Even more green gold. I'm interested in text. You like this And around here just to read a little fun landscape here, flock that down a little bit with some cobalt blue. True blue way Can you put a little bit Shannon? And then here Just give it a with for yourself some of those riches And there's not gonna be much of a cast shadow for anything with all those clouds. It's, you know, cloud today. Storms moving in. We won't see any big shadows underneath the tree that branch a little bit. See if we need to put in a few more that shapes to support all that folded share. I think we'll call this a day talking here. Okay, so there's a nice clouding it landscape. This kind of stormy sky looks a little like rain moving in 6. Cummulus Clouds 1: So let's let's paint a cumulus, you know, big cumulus cloud. So I'm going to wet with a big brush the sky area, and I'm gonna leave some dry where the cloud is. We can ask you painful all the way down. It might be the wisest with clean water, and I'm gonna hold it up. So remember, clouds puffy on the top and their flatter at the bottom. So we're gonna kind of keep that in mind here. You know, you have my puddles out, so I'm going to paint in the top of this guy was just really dark. Someone's gonna run this And this is a combination off cobalt blue and end would lose Give this a little bit richer, darker Ah, sky at the top And there's we moved down here Gonna put more off the cool Baldin, hold up here in a water And then down here Oh, skies getting lighter and lighter. No, heart it no, you know, itchy. Just like it's not very skylight. So no pointed edges or anything like that. So I'm just trying to get rid of that And color shrunk Getting a little burgling because Jenna which dry on the backs on describe, spray it back a little bit, and then let's run the color down. And before it dries too much, I'm going to go in and soften some of those edges. I want to have some hot edges, but mainly soft edges out here. Yeah, And then before dry sauna me, I'm gonna create. And a nice, neutral, grayish bluish color can a little bit of ready. And it because you're to wear counter, act the green tone from them and whip just a nice kind of there should be getting some of that Dr Loud color year in some areas up here. We can fix some of these shapes and it's go in here Better that on some of the edges here and again. Want to check our tissue and get some of these? It is softened. Sure way Don't get any hot. You know, ghost lines in here inside the cloud. You don't want that you shall water on and here, softening some of searches and there and we can get some more puffs up here and we can get a little bit so little cloud puffs inside here. But make sure everything is nice. and soft. Some more clouds coming all the way up there. It's kind of cloud behind and we can go in and dark in a little bit more. Make sure you lose the teachers there. Nothing too hard. Nothing too hard edged just from darkened. Even more time here. And you should tissue. I mean, put yourself in. Try to get rid of the true hard edges. If there too hard, it doesn't. Quite soon, it's just soften a little bit more here. Yeah, Here we have a nice cumulus cloud thunderheads building Just if you like, live a little bit more here. We're freaking up. Terrible. It. Okay? I think I need to leave it alone now. A little bit of darkness in here. Oh, self made out. Soften it out, Soften it out. So, like you put in and check away you put in your take away. Yeah, I just want to soften a little bit here. Okay. Well, let it dry and see how we like it. 7. Cummulus Clouds 2: So I mixed myself and reddish purple from the left over from the cloud and then some French ultra marine blue and a little bit off my connected on red and my bird. Tiana and I have some people over there that I can put into vary the color a little bit. I want to grab some clean water and I'm just going to put in some teen water here is gonna be there, furthest away off thes rock formation, said, I'm going to put in that's gonna disappear down there and put some more that who blew in and let's see what we can do. No, disappear like that. Put a little bit more tha cobalt blue here and then I'm just gonna feed up because we're gonna paint over that. That's kind of southwest looking. It will try So this distant ah range of mountains or rocks have dried. And, um, I got my colors out for those closer up. I have transparent yellow and macaron red and burnt sienna have extra virgin over there, and I have French ultra marine blue dark in on neutralizing those orangey warm colors. So I am just going to missed in a little bit of water and then I am going to go in with my colors here, starting out with a burnt Tiana putting it some of their French ultra Marine blue win especially, don't here at the bottom and gonna reach my brush out Take the water out because I want the colors to be pretty saturated now It dipped into the yellow and the red Keep into a little bit more blue here when a shout again and going deep into the bridge And but Shanna, check the water on my brush Try and make some of these really typical shapes you see in a southwest show the blue, uh, in here Make it a little bit more and I think go up a little bit. Yeah, that I want to create one more ship Some of these weird shapes, you see, you know, Southwestern Landscape. Let's go appear. Quit doc behind Saw these. And here, John, like that. I'm beginning to like what I see here. Cringe Show more that French Ultra Marine blue win. There we go. I think this looks pretty good from a shape perspective. Now I just need to little dry a little bit. And then my tour is my trusted credit card. But, you know, you can see how where does still loses? Very, very shiny. It's trying down here. That corner good. Probably put in a little bit more pigment down there. Those look, some fun shapes I got there. Lead them happy accidents. And so I'm just gonna wait for the painter's sink in and for the shine to leave the paper, and then we're gonna go in without credit card and scrape out while it's drying. I'm actually going to go in and do into a little bit more off that French ultra Marine blue and get it if I can. A couple more fill shapes in because I think they are great. Yeah, that course you do have some Nolly evergreens. The vet can actually live in these environments. So let's, um, start out. I think we can start now scraping out. So I'm gonna just scrape a little bit of the top here. Just forget some highlights on some of these shapes that I have. I'm gonna churn it, so don't give my hand and wet paint. I'm very conscious of thinking about the landscape in the Midwest. So get thes. Very distinct lines. Go in with some really dark paint from the puddle to who left over here and just put some shadows in. So these places, deep shadows, some places, and I'm gonna go in again credit card e, push this one behind this one and then have deeper shadows in between these two. This is just a lot of fun, folks, you know, gets yourself some pictures out off the southwest landscape and see what you can come up with. And it's again, like everything else. You go to stop when you are ahead. Right? Change. I'm getting pretty close to happen to call it quits. I think I needed little darkness here. Okay, I'm gonna go over complete almost. You know what goes with me? Just found some puddles here that I just had to utilize. They're enough already. And there you have cumulus cloud. Very dramatic landscape. Um, from the southwest. I hope you find this really fun. And I can't wait to see what you create 8. Wrap Up Painting Clouds In Watercolor: So that concludes my little class on painting clowns in watercolor. I hope you enjoyed it. And I look very much forward to seeing what you post on the project gallery page. Please make sure that you share your paintings with us. And here I just have a little sample off cloud that I've painted in paintings over the years. I have some paintings that I painted, you know, about 10 years ago on some I painted just the other day. Just so you can see a variety off clouds in landscapes, as I have applied the techniques I showed you So wishing you happy painting. And you can also attacked me on Facebook or on instagram on Facebook. I'm Eva s Nichols. And on Instagram, I'm even Nichols coached. So see you soon. In another skills your video enjoy.