Sky and Cloud Paintings

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Ken Bushe 2014

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After the Greatest Clouds

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Sky Paintings / Cloud Paintings

All these paintings take the sky or clouds as their main subject. Scottish skies are well known for the extreme range of colour and light which can be observed on a daily basis.

I’ve always reacted strongly to the landscape of the sky and if I could live in it, I would.  Painting clouds and sky are as close as I can get.

The significance of this moving cloud landscape on our daily lives and emotions can’t be overestimated, and when we now spend  much more of our time indoors it is  important not to shut it out of our lives to our detriment, as though these things don’t matter.

Sky Study in March 2

Sky in March   8x10ins.  Oil on Canvas                                                                    Sold

Sunset Study 5

Sunset Study 5    8x10ins. Oil on Canvas                                                                 250

Sheriffmuir 2 - Oil painting of low clouds on the moor

Sheriffmuir 2   8x10ins.  Oil on canvas                                                                   Sold

Rainbow 2

Rainbow   10x12ins.    Oil on Canvas                                                                   Sold

Stunning natural phenomena. No wonder they fascinate our species. This rainbow hung around for far longer than most.


North Sea from the Earth House 3

North Sea from the Earth House  60x75cm.  (24x30ins approx.)  Oil on Canvas            Sold

Blue Sky and Cloud Study 2  Oil painting  of cloud

Blue Sky and Cloud Study 2   6x8ins. Oil on Canvas                                                Sold

River Tay Cloud Study  - cloud  oil painting

River Tay Cloud Study   8x10ins.    Oil on canvas                                                      Sold

.”....Wind and clouds are part of my life”.


Cloud Painting - Outdoor oil painting of sky

Cloud Painting   8x10ins.  Oil on Canvas      Cloud Painting                                          190

Cloud painting - begun outdoors and finished over several days in the studio.

More -

Oil painting of Sheriffmuir. Painting of cloud and landscape

Sheriffmuir   10x12ins.   Oil on canvas     Cloud Painting                                            Sold

A day of exhilarating, powerful light, almost theatrical at times. More

Oil painting of cumulus clouds forming

Cloud Composition  10x12 ins  Oil on Canvas     Sky Painting                                       250

Contemporary oil painting of clouds and light near Newburgh over the River Tay

Clouds near Newburgh   10x12ins.   Oil on Canvas   Sky Painting                                Sold

Cloudscape near Newburgh in Fife with the River Tay in the foreground. The river road to Newburgh is a visual feast for anyone who loves skies...


September Cloud Study -  Oil study of Cloud and light in September.

September Cloud Study  8x10ins. Oil on Canvas      Cloud Painting                            Sold 


August  10x12ins   Oil on Canvas       Sky Painting                                                  Sold

“The soul can split the sky in two” - Edna St Vincent Millay

...There’s some palette knife work in the foreground but most of the work is done with brushes


Cloud Study 3-750x613

Cloud Study 3    Oil painting on canvas  10 x12 ins.    Sky Painting                               Sold

Backlit clouds from high ground north of Alyth.


The Touch  Oil painting on Canvas of Sky and clouds

The Touch  6x8ins.  Oil painting on Canvas                Sky Painting                              Sold

Clouds in April - Oil painting of moving clouds

Clouds in April   8x10ins.   Oil on Board       Sky Painting                                           Sold

On Painting Skies....

Oil painting of sky and clouds

After the Greatest Clouds  14x16ins.  Oil on Canvas Sky Painting                450

“After the greatest clouds, the sun.” - Alan of Lille


...I have an interest in the effects of our atmosphere on the human psyche and emotion. Individual clouds and particular skies can seem to have a character as distinct and complex as we do ourselves. They affect our mood and our daily lives in equally complex ways, often provoking and inspiring us in ways that we may be completely unaware of at the time.

One aim of mine is to identify, define and portray these especially influential and “significant” skies.

I focus on these as subjects for study and subsequent development in my work

Sky Painting - First Call,  backlit sky and cloud

First Call  Oil on Canvas  24x30cms.  (approx. 9.5x12ins)  Sky Painting                            Sold

......inside the mechanism that rotates around sunlight and clouds.


Contemporary oil painting of clouds - Cloud Study 6

Cloud Study 6  8x10ins.   Oil Painting on Canvas        Cloud Painting                             Sold

...from a detailed pencil sketch...


Contemporary skyscape painting of Clouds and Sky

Late February Sky   10x12ins.  Oil on Canvas           Cloud Painting                               Sold

A progression of the original oil sketch (see here) to ...take the image a bit further.


Oil painting of the mercurial sky near Dun Moss

The Sky Near Dun Moss  8x10ins.  Oil on Canvas      Sky Painting                                 Sold

The mercurial sky of the moors beyond....



September   45x60cms  Oil on Canvas    Sky Painting                                                     Sold

We seem to have the ability in rare moments to expand our own being to become aware of our true self standing beside us....


Paintings of Moonlight

Paintings of moonlight still need to be luminous, if a convincing picture of the moonlit sky is to be painted. Clouds transmit and reflect the moon’s light in a broadly similar way to sunlit clouds, but our eyes lack the sensitivity to appreciate this fully. The strangest thing I have seen in a moonlit sky was a moonbow, a pale spectral form of rainbow.  - Painting Moonlight

Oil Sketch By Moonlight, Sky Study,

Moonlight                                           18x20ins.

Painting moonlight is not impossible, but it does present a few problems. One, is, of course, that you can’t see what you’re doing....


Moonlight oil sketch 1 - Cloud  Portraits

Moonlight Oil Sketch 1 6x8ins          Oil on Canvas 

Nocturne painting - Moonlight Broughty Castle

Nocturne - Broughty Castle  16x18ins     

Broughty Castle is my favourite landscape icon in the whole area.


Moonlight oil sketch 2 Cloud  Portraits

Moonlight Oil Sketch 2 6x8ins          Oil on Canvas 

Four similar sized studies I did of moonlight and the surrounding halo of colours observed as night clouds slowly passed across the moon on the 6th June 2009.


Dawn sky at Tentsmuir

Dawn at Tentsmuir      

Painted directly without preliminary drawing during a calm, clear sunrise.....


Cloud Painting -  Cloud Study 8 - Tonal study of single cloud

Cloud Study 8 6x7ins                     

Colour Study - Sky - Last Light

Last Light - Sidlaws                        10x12ins.

This painting was worked on extensively to build up the layers of colour using opaque paint and oil glazes.....


Contemporary oil painting of colour and light in sky,  Blue and Gold

Blue and Gold                                      24x26ins this work progressed I began to see it as simply a movement of light from right to left across the surface of the canvas


The experience of looking directly into the light, to me, brings to mind all of the symbolism and mystery that we have associated with the sun and light throughout our the history of our species.

It also damages your eyes.

Sky Painting - After JMW Turner - painting of colour and light

Discovery Dawn                                  30x36ins 

This painting was commissioned by a client who, I discovered in conversation, admired the work of JMW Turner as much as I do...


Oil Painting, Scottish landscape art- On the Moor

On the Moor                                        16x18ins.

.....before the strong reds and yellows of the classic sunset make their appearance.


The sky emits light. While this is an obvious statement, painting the sky with oil paint is often better served by a different approach than to a normal subject. While most landscape paintings can have a structure based on shadows, painting skies often requires that the highlights are given prominence and are painted first, with the rest of the painting following on from these.

Dusk, Fountainhall, Sky Study, Landscape

Dusk, Fountainhall                                8x12ins

A very early color study, painted in the Scottish Borders, when I was beginning to realise that the constantly changing sky was, on its own, a massive subject for any artist.


Dawn,  Small oil study, Tentsmuir

Tentsmuir                                           10x11ins

..outdoor oil study looking towards Tentsmuir just after sunrise....


Outdoor oil painting is central to sky based work. Oil sketches painted on the spot have a life and luminousity of their own and are a pretty essential part of understanding the complexities of painting the sky and clouds. -  Outdoor Painting   -  Oil Sketches

Sky painting of Light through Clouds - Breaking Through


Breaking Through                                10x12ins

...I’ve always been drawn to this kind of  sky, where the atmosphere triangulates the position of the sun behind the main clouds


Red Sunrise - oil sketch of Dawn

Red Sunrise                                          6x7ins

....oil sketch of the moment after sunrise before the orb got too bright to look at..


Painting sunsets give the landscape artist the opportunity to explore the widest range of colour and tone that can be seen in nature, far wider than the best paint and the whitest canvas can cope with. Dealing with this limitation is the fascination of my job.

 Contemporary Oil Painting, Dundee from Sidlaws- Scottish Landscape

Dundee from the Sidlaws                    16x18ins.

A very luminous sunset in winter,..


Oil painting - landscape in Angus

Angus Landscape and Sky                   16x18ins

Studio work from an outdoor oil sketch painted near Coupar Angus


Both John Constable and J.M.W. Turner have both influenced my painting to a large extent. Both  artists spent a massive amount of time observing and painting outdoors, and the majesty of the natural world inspired them much more than the established art of their day.

JMW Turner

The Homecoming, Oil Painting, Landscape, Blue sky
Sunset, High Wind, Oil  Landscape.