This one is probably the most surreal and truly abstract of those I've done so far, since it resembles nothing most people associate with clouds. It's not a commonly seen cloud, and I've never seen on in sunset colors before. The photo it is based on was taken off my deck during a most fascinating sunset we had last week. I'll probably post photos at some point. The clouds you see are known as "mammatus", and are distended pouches seen on the undersides of a cloud. The name comes from the resemblance to mammary glands. I've actually seen them several times since being out in CO, usually associated with a cumulonimbus cloud. These were on the south-facing surface of a large stratocumulus cloud. No rain, though.
What happens is as the sun sets, these distended areas are what catch the sun's rays, while the rest of the cloud remains darker. The curves and shapes of the clouds are made much more visible by the bright light and it produces an eerie and really dramatic effect.
abstracted cloudscape #5 - mammatus en sunset
pastel on Strathmore 400-series paper
12 x 12 inches
For this piece, I felt it was important to capture the curves of the lightest sections of the clouds, so I applied the pastel in sweeping motions to emphasize this. There are multiple layers of purples, blues, rusts, and yellows applied, and I had to use lots of finger blending in order to try and achieve the soft transitions seen throughout the clouds.
I really need to get some good sanded paper to work on, like UArt or Pastelmat, as I think the process would have been a bit less of a struggle. Nonetheless, I rather like this piece. It's got purples and oranges, which are two of my favorite colors.
On an unrelated note, we are going to be heading up to the north rim of the Grand Canyon tomorrow for a car camping trip with a few friends over the Labor Day weekend. I'm hugely excited, as the Canyon is my absolute favorite place on this earth to be.
I don't know if I'll have time to get another painting finished and posted, but I'm going to try and have several posts scheduled to post Thurs-Mon. They'll be photos of a variety of subjects that I hope you'll enjoy.