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Learning How To Paint Clouds With Oil Paints

Art League of Nassau County hosts landscape oil painter.

Having a hard time painting realistic-looking clouds with oil paints? Howard Rose, a plein air artist from Woodbury, showed the artists present at the Art League of Nassau County's Friday evening demonstration at Clinton G. Martin's recreation center how to do so.

“Clouds are amorphic and landscapes are freer than portraits [to paint]," Rose said. “With a person’s portrait you have to get a likeness, but with landscapes you have more flexibility.”

Rose suggested that one way to combat the elusiveness of clouds is to take photographs of them.  He uses Canon G-10 and Lumix Panasonic cameras.  He showed how he collected photos and magazine pictures and put them into special binders. He takes many photos himself, but he also collects copies of his favorite artists’ works, such as those of Calvin Liang.

Using a photo he took of dunes and clouds down at Tobay Beach as a reference, Rose painted a small oil on a board toned with a blue ground.  He showed how to achieve luminosity in the clouds.  Some tips Rose suggested were to use a limited palette of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and alizarin crimson.  Also, keep individual colors on the canvas or board clean until you decide to blend at the end so you don’t have “mud."

Rose’s materials include a portable “Open Box M” wood pochade box to hold his supplies.  Inside he has his Princeton bright (short and flat) brushes in numbers two, four and six with filberts (rounded and flat) in two, four and six.  They are small because his work is not large.  With oil paints, any type is fine for Rose, whether it is Winsor-Newton, Old Holland and Grumbacher.  He also travels with turpentine that hangs in a metal container with a hook underneath the box, paper towels with plastic bag to hold the used ones and an umbrella to protect him from the elements.  The inside of the box is shellacked to use as a palette, but to prevent the oil paint colors from seeping into the wood.

After Rose finished his demonstration painting, the raffle for it was won by Dorothy O’Brien, historian for the ALNC.

“I love it," O'Brien exclaimed. "It’s just so fresh. It speaks to me. I love the shore and the shadows are so beautiful."

Marianne Reamer, refreshments chairperson remarked, “The painting is harmonious and establishes a mood.”

The ALNC, formed in 1925, has four goals for its members: To exhibit their art in public, have workshops, to give artists an opportunity to join together in fellowship and to host monthly demonstrations by our area’s top fine artists in various mediums.  It meets at the Clinton G. Martin Recreation Center, located at 1601 Marcus Avenue, at the corner of Marcus and New Hyde Park Road near Union Turnpike. The next meeting will be in May, with a demonstration of an oil portrait by Ron Silverman.  All residents are invited and refreshments are provided.  Visit www.ArtLeagueofNC.org for more information.

Howard Rose teaches classes several days a week at the National Art League in Douglaston, Bailey Arboretum in Locust Valley and in Jericho.  His show, “Coastal Landscapes of Long Island” will be at Trapani Fine Art in Manhasset in May.  Rose’s website is www.HowardRose.com.

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