Clouds are also extraordinarily difficult to paint.
This is a painting from a photograph taken in Kaua'i. It's a sunrise shot. The bright sun was rising to the left of the picture (obviously), and, as is often true in Hawai'i, the sky was hugely interesting. Clouds in layers, clouds hangin' out by themselves, clouds obscuring the sun, clouds revealing the sun. Big, puffy, beautiful, gray, purple, yellow clouds.
What makes clouds so difficult to paint? Start with their complexity. Clouds come in a multitude of shapes, they're changing all the time, and they're heavily layered, lying over and under each other in glowing sandwiches. And that's the other difficult thing about clouds: they glow. They're luminous. Light plays on them and light flows out from them. Finally, add in the element of color. A uniformly "gray" cloud is a very rare thing. They come in (or contain) pretty much every color there is.
All of these factors make clouds particularly worth painting. They're great for practice in wet-in-wet techniques, glazing, melding colors, striving for luminosity.
I feel OK about this particular cloud study - in fact, I'd call it one of the best I've ever done. And it also, as ever, reveals to me all that I need to work on: painting darker than I think I need to, building contrasts, and creating shapes with brush strokes.
I love painting clouds.