Painting a Sky in Acrylics

So I wanted to share with you the method I used to create a really nice blurred background sky in acrylics. The painting that this was for actually only contains texture for the main focus of the artwork – the seagull. I wanted to create the seagull as raised on its own with the sky a kind of abstract idea in the background.

The finished painting

So after cutting out a template for the seagull and applying the texture using my own homemade texture mix, I allowed the texture to dry overnight. After sanding off the edges and creating a smooth line where it met the canvas, I then proceeded to paint the sky.

The colours I used for this were mainly white but also with a small amount of cerulean blue hue, some pale umber and some naples yellow. However, the main amount of paint was white as you do not need much of the other colours to create a nice sky.

Firstly I painted on a base coat of white with a bit of the naples yellow and pale umber mixed in (only drops of those 2 colours so that you just had a kind of cream colour). After painting over the whole canvas I left this to dry. I then added a second coat of a slightly watered down mix of the same paints, plus hint of the blue, just to give it some more depth.

Anyway, it was the last coat that was the most important and gave the kind of abstract, distant effect. Paint (all 4 colours) was added on very loosely mixed by a kind of rough, scuffing motion. I tried to make it as random as I could and used the end of the brush to almost try and push the paint into the canvas. I painted the whole of the sky and then left the paint to dry for a minute to the point where it was not quite dry. I then used a dry sponge (the kind you use to wash the dishes!) to blur all the paint together. Leaving it until it was almost dry meant that I wasn’t just rubbing the paint off but instead blurring it together. I then made sure that the textured seagull itself was pretty much white as it’s base coat and did not have too much of the other colours on before waiting for the sky to dry and painting it.

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