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Sky Paintings

Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth.    ~Diane Ackerman

Cloud painting - After the Greatest Clouds

After the Greatest Clouds    14x16ins.     Oil on canvas      £450

I would live in the sky if I could. 
I’d live in a great cloud castle and keep flying pigs.
Painting sky and clouds is as close as I can get to living in it. Sky paintings in this section of the website take both colour and light in the atmosphere and clouds as their main subject. Paintings of sunrise and sunset, paintings of clouds, colour studies, pleine aire paintings, oil paintings of clouds and pencil sketches are all here.

Clouds and often whole skies have a character of their own as distinct and complex as we do ourselves.
With all my sky paintings, I’m trying to work with these especially interesting, influential or “significant” skies. First of all, though, I have to see them for myself.
The sky affects our mood and our daily lives. It provokes and inspires us in ways that we may be completely unaware of at the time. I try to make sky paintings speak to us like this.
A sky painting with the ability to inspire and provoke in the same way as a real sky….. preserved in paint for a few hundred years….that’s my goal with sky paintings.

I divide my sky paintings into two broad categories – Cloud Paintings and Sunrise and sunset paintings


View Cloud Paintings
2 sky paintings –  the original oil sketch and the studio work created from it.

Oli sketch for larger painting of clouds in September

Oil Sketch for September 6x8ins. Oil on Panel  Private Collection

Oil painting of backlit clouds in September

September 20x24ins. Oil on Canvas Private Collection










Sky paintings made of clouds have their own challenges. The mercurial nature of clouds mean that they don’t sit still for long enough to allow a long portrait sesssion in oil paint. When working outdoors, I paint small canvases as quickly as possible. The raw spontaneous energy that these small oil paintings contain, combined with pencil sketches done and photographs taken at the same time, provide source material for cloud paintings on a larger scale in the studio.
“…you need to travel to see the ocean – I don’t need the ocean – I have the sky…”John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

View gallery of Cloud Paintings


Sky painting in progress Cloud composition

Sky Painting “Cloud Composition” in progress

Cloud painting - Cloud Composition

Cloud Composition    10x12ins.     Oil on canvas      £275











Sunrise and sunset paintings
Sky paintings of Sunrise and Sunset

Sky painting of sunset - The Dimming of the Day

The Dimming of the Day   20x24ins.   Private Collection

Oil painting View of a Sunset

View of a Sunset   18x24ins.   Oil on Canvas     Private Collection










Sky paintings of sunset and sunrise allow an artist to approach the strongest colour, tone and light of any subject possible in the natural world. 
I could paint every sunset. It’s not a complicated ambition.
Painting the sun is an aspirational thing for me ever since I was told in sepulchral tones by my art teacher in school that “No artist has ever painted the sun” (I was trying to paint the sun)  This rather global statement was followed by the more practical aside that…. “(It’s too bright)”
This intrigued me at the time so being an obtuse kind of youth I redoubled my efforts to paint the sun
…and I’m still doing it.

View Gallery of Sunrise and Sunset Paintings


Colour Study - Evening Light  6x8ins   Oil on canvas  Private Collection

Colour Study – Evening Light   6x8ins      Oil on canvas

Oil painting - Nighfall - Colour study of Sunset

Nightfall    8x10ins.    Oil on canvas       £190











“If someone asked you what color the sky is, what would you say?” – Shey Stahl

“If a little kid ever asks you just why the sky is blue, you look him or her right in the eye and say, “It’s because of quantum effects involving Rayleigh scattering combined with a lack of violet photon receptors in our retinae.”Philip Plait






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