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Threatening Sky in Provence, sky study - Day 5 of the 30 day challenge

Threatening Sky in Provence - Sky study
Palette knife painting in oils
20x30 cm (approx 8"x12") on gesso board
See yesterday's painting here
Available on Daily Paint works

The skies were threatening when I took this photo near Caussols, about a ¾ of an hours drive from home. Yes it's true, the skies are not always blue in Provence! If you  know my paintings, you will know that the sky is mostly blue as I love to paint the feeling of sunshine. So my challenge today was to get out of my comfort zone and paint more of a skyscape.

About this painting

This is the first time I have painted on gesso board. I purchased several of these boards well over a year ago but never used them. They are a laminated panel covered in very smooth gesso. They looked so pristine it seemed a same to use them! The smoothness also seemed daunting as I normally work on a very textured surface. After umming and ahhing for a while I covered them in thick liquitex gesso using a palette knife. This gesso takes a day to dry so it wasn't until this morning I could work on them. However, the surface was still smooth to the touch although it was still somewhat textured - I hope that makes sense. I assume that the gesso had been partly absorbed into the original layer.

Using underpainting white
I used underpainting white for mixing the sky colours for it's quick drying property, but it dried so quickly and was unworkable after a very short period - faster than normal. I also assume it was because of the absorption of the original gesso. I have quite  a few of these boards so I have plenty of time to get used to them. Perhaps working with a brush and paint mixed with medium would work better? If anyone has experience of using these boards, any tips would be appreciated.

As this is mainly about the sky, I kept the foreground very understated.

Some close ups

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