working on a painting of clouds

Finally getting a chance to work on my new easel.. well I should say - finally went out and bought a new easel! I used to have a pretty big wood easel that I built with a friend while we were in college.  He was a hobby wood-worker, and he wanted to learn painting.. I needed an easel at the time, so we decided to make our own.  We came up with a pretty decent easel that lasted for years, not bad for a couple college kids. 

But, as time went on - and kids came along.. I couldn't find a good place to store the big easel - so it ended up outside, and then it eventually deteriorated.  Due to lack of painting space I went more light & mobile.  I have been using a portable, light-weight collapsible easel for years.  It's been great actually.  Nice to take anywhere, and set's up quickly.  But, not really good for large canvases.. and it looked a bit small in the new studio. 

Now that I have the space, I've been meaning to get a decent wooden one again.  Finally bought one - nothing special really.  I only paid about $85 for it.  Here's the first painting I've got going on it.

Clouds have been on my mind recently.  I started a smaller version of this one, but wasn't happy with the direction it was going.  The sky was too bright blue, and painting realistic cumulus clouds is not actually an easy task!  So I decided to go bigger, which I always like better anyway.  I was pretty shocked / surprised to see this cloud painting by Renato which he posted to FB, just as I was in the middle of working on this one!  Never feels good to get beat to the punch. But I'm amazed by Renato's work and I have to admit I decided to go darker on my sky after seeing his beautiful piece.  It really makes the clouds punch.