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Welcome to the Cloud Shop

‘Create a Cloud Atlas’ cloudspotting art course

From: $28.66

Learn to identify the ten main cloud types with Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, as you learn to paint them and create your own ‘Cloud Atlas’ reference sketchbook.
Please see recommended materials list below.

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Workshop 3: Saturday April 24th, 4pm UTC.

The precipitating and fallstreak clouds: Cumulonimbus, Nimbostratus, Cirrus.

SKU: 1640 Category:
Donna Levinstone and Gavin Pretor-Pinney

This course is taught by artist Donna Levinstone (Member 1,082) and Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney (Member 001).

Learn to identify the ten main types of cloud with Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, as you learn to paint them in watercolour sketches with art educator, Donna Levinstone (Member 1,082). This three-part weekly course of live Zoom workshops will be a seamless blend of cloud art and cloud science. You will build up a set of cloud sketches annotated with your own notes to form a ‘Cloud Atlas’ that can serve as your very own reference to the sky to refer to in the future. No matter whether you are a complete beginner at painting and cloudspotting or you’re an experienced watercolourist familiar with the different cloud types, this course will inspire and educate you to know the sky better and to appreciate its ever-changing beauty.

Each 90-minute workshop will cover three or four of the ten main clouds. (Even if you can’t attend them live, you can still follow along with the workshop videos we send to all participants.) Gavin will explain their distinguishing features and show member photographs from the Cloud Appreciation Society photo gallery to explain why they look the way they do. Donna will share easy-to-follow watercolour techniques and advice to help you sketch each cloud type. We’ll help you add cloudspotting notes and annotations to your sketches to build up your own Cloud Atlas for identifying the ten main cloud genera.

Workshop Details:

  • WORKSHOP 1 (1 1/2 hour): Saturday April 10th at 4.00pm, UTC. ‘The clumpy clouds‘ – Cumulus, Stratocumulus, Altocumulus, and Cirrocumulus.
  • WORKSHOP 2 (1 1/2 hour): Saturday April 17th at 4.00pm, UTC. ‘The layer clouds’ – Stratus, Altostratus, and Cirrostratus.
  • WORKSHOP 3 (1 1/2 hour): Saturday April 24th at 4.00pm, UTC. ‘The precipitating and fallstreak clouds’ – Cumulonimbus, Nimbostratus, and Cirrus.

If your time zone or schedule means you’re unable to join us live for any of the workshops, you’ll be able to follow the video of the workshop in your own time. We share the link with all participants shortly after the live workshop. There will also be an opportunity for participants to share their work with the rest of the group through our own private photo album.

Basic materials you’ll need for this course:

  • A pad of watercolour paper. This can be whatever size or format you want, but bear in mind that you’ll want at least 20 matching sheets for the whole course. It is best to have a pad you can tear the sheets out of as we’ll be wanting to move on to the next sketch while the previous one is still drying. A small pad of 7 x 5 inches / 180 x 130 mm makes for a handy set of reference cards, but one that is 9 x 6 inches / 229 x 152 mm or even 10 x 8 inches / 208 x 140mm will work well too.
  • Any standard watercolour paint set. (Fairly inexpensive options to consider are this or this).
  • A tube of white watercolour paint. And opaque one like Titanium White is a good option.
  • Brushes:
    • any basic fine-tip brush (one will probably already come with your paint set),
    • a broader brush #8-#12 for broad washes,
    • a ‘fan brush’, which has bristles spread out in a flat fan, and is useful for some cloud techniques.
  • A pen or pencil for annotating your sketches.
  • A few sheets of paper towel or tissue.
  • Some Q-Tip cotton buds, though by no means essential, can be helpful for a couple of techniques.
  • More than one water jar to use for brush cleaning and applying clear washes.


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