Friday, September 17, 2010

Abstracted cloudscapes #13 & 14

Two more, finished yesterday.  I find myself going back and forth between the higher-chroma sunsets and the afternoon skies with lots of grays.   For me, each of these are a chance to really study and explore the clouds, and I learn much with each painting.  In contrast to plein air painting, where the eye sees the true colors and subtle nuances within the shadows that cameras often miss, it seems to be the opposite with clouds.  As much time as I spend observing them in life, either from my deck or along hikes, they simply change too quickly to always remember the subtle things.

My camera, however, does capture those ephemeral details, often missed otherwise, especially with a limited dynamic range.   When cropped to an unusually close-up view, they become quite visible.  And add to my never-ending fascination with them.  Whether I'm able to actually capture those details accurately, artistically, in my paintings is a different matter.  But, I try.

abstracted cloudscape #13 - cumulus, shadow & light
12x12 inches
Strathmore 500-series paper

This is perhaps one of my favorites to date.  Based on a photo taken the day after winter officially began,  these clouds were part of a winter storm that produced no rain or snow, but lots of wind and a series of photos that are amongst my favorite taken while down in Bisbee.  This crop is a transition between clouds mostly in dark shadow and those in the sun, which I chose to show the range of values.  The sun is at its lowest point in the sky, to the south, in mid-afternoon.  The small canyon and ranch below was in deep shadow.

abstracted cloudscape #14 - cumulus, luminescing
12x12 inches
Strathmore 500-series paper

Here is an example of the cloud detail I mentioned in the second paragraph above.  It was of a recent photo of a late afternoon cloud from my deck, as I waited for sunset.  The location of the sun is clear; it forms a bright, crisp edge along the cloud.  It's the inner part of the cloud were things got interesting - clouds within clouds, casting shadows and reflecting light.  Blues from the sky superimposed on the colorful purple and pink grays of the cloud vapors, looking almost like a Tiffany lamp.  The base holds on to its deep purples and blues.

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