Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why the Sky is Blue

Picnic Island Blue Skies
Blue is the most popular color in paintings, with lavender a close second. Next favorite is the tint of either color that matches fabric and paint swatches for any new decor project in the works.

Painters may use half a dozen other colors in rendering blue (or lavender) skies. In this little study of a beautiful island day, I used three blue hues, magenta, sienna, and white to capture the sunny day sky.

Facebook Cover Picnic Island
This stormy day sky required more intensity and movement to capture the storm. Two blues, magenta, and white were used to keep focus on rapid movement.

Lantana Study unfinished
These butterfly attracting wild flowers grow around mangrove habitat areas on Picnic Island. This very rough study will become a painting with a soft Blue Sky painted in ultramarine blue, magenta and white. This keeps the focus on the flowers. Having grown these in my own butterfly garden, I'm resisting the idea of a butterfly on the flower nearest the center flower - too sweet for my taste, I think.

In Olive Tree, one of my most popular Fine Art America listings, I used all colors, achieving exactly the dramatic effect I wanted in depicting the Great Flood story. Olive Tree This sky is not blue, but full-spectrum conveying a sense of wholeness, completeness, within the drama.

I read an interesting article in The Guardian about the ten best skies in art. Best Skies in Art in Pictures The great artist JMW Turner's listing didn't include the photo, but does have a link. I find his skies to be very interesting and certainly would have given one of his images front page placement. More often than not, his skies go for dramatic movement with many colors, but he's also guilty of sweet blue skies using multiple colors.

So why is the sky blue?

We expect the sky to be blue on clear days and so we see it as blue (unless we're painters!). Light waves of blue filtered through our atmosphere give us blue skies, but all the colors are there radiating from the sun.  We see all the colors after a storm when we are gifted with a rainbow. Skies beyond our atmosphere, deep space, are black.

Comments are always encouraged.
If you're following interesting blogs, feel free to comment or post those links here, too. 

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studio

Find me or my work at the following addresses: 
 Twitter -,  and Facebook -


No comments:

Post a Comment