How to paint a blended sky

How I paint a gradated sky or background using acrylics or a tempera paint.
The Colours: 

For a sky I prepare three colours from dark or ultra at the top to a light sky blue that is almost white at the bottom.   You can also use the same dark or deep blue but prepare three that have white mixed with them to end with 3 totally separate blues with the same base colour.

How to paint a blended sky school painting
Still working in a very fast way, start to brush one strip into the next blue strip

I also use a very wide brush with long brush strokes so they completely move from one edge to the other.

Important: For painting a gradation or blended sky you need to work rapidly before that paint starts to dry.
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So let’s get started:
Wet your brush so it is damp and not soaking wet.

Work with a rapid bold complete side to side brush stroke, trying your best not to stop midway across the canvas. Paint the three ‘wide’ strips starting with darker deeper blue at the top then use the same damp brush in the mid-tone blue for the next strip.  Follow on with the lighter sky blue.  You do not need to clean the brush between adding colours.
Still working in a very fast way, start to brush one strip into the next blue strip.  This will start to blend one colour into the next to you get a blended gradation. Making sure you keep the bold side to side movement.

Before you finish add a little extra white into your lightest blue shade. Slightly wetting your brush again (you might need a paper towel to dry it off). Blend in a little white at the very bottom.  This will act as the lighter horizon.  Being careful not to over brush this last colour or allow it to mix with your darker blue colours higher in the sky.
School painting learn to paint a sky
A large canvas with a blended sky

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Tony Parker
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It is important to try to keep the brush strokes long so they completely move from one edge to the other.  Never stop or start in the middle.

You might find it helps to wet your canvas with a slightly damp and clean brush before you add any paint.  This will slightly slow down the drying process and allow you a little more time to blend the colours.    
Before the paint dries try passing an almost dry brush over the edges of the strips to help smoothly blend them together.

Try not to overwork and over brush.


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