How to Paint a Sky Using Acrylics

Acrylic paints are water-based and faster drying than oils. Many artists enjoy this medium for landscape painting. The background is just as important as the foreground in landscapes, so it is necessary to get the look of the sky right. Learn how to paint a sky using acrylic paints with this method.

Prepare the canvas by wetting it with a watered brush. Cover more of the canvas past where the horizon will be so as to not have an area of color fading.

Apply a coat of gesso thinned slightly with water over the canvas. Work quickly before the canvas dries.

Clean the paintbrush in water and blot on a paper towel.

Select the shade of blue acrylic paint to be used as the sky color. Start from the top of the canvas, dragging the brush from left to right and working down towards the bottom of the area where gesso has been applied.

Go back over the area with a larger dry brush, blending out the lines.

Clean off the first brush in water and blot dry on a paper towel. Load a lot of white acrylic paint on the brush and apply it on the canvas to create a cloud. Wiggle the brush back and forth, creating a cloud appearance with heavier and thinner areas of paint.

Pull the paint at the bottom of the clouds with the larger paintbrush, dragging down and to the side for a wispy effect.


Use an acrylic retardant found in any art supply store to extend the amount of time before the paint dries.


Acrylic paint dries quickly, so work fast.

Things You'll Need

  • Canvas
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic paints
  • Assorted paintbrushes
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