Sunday, September 12, 2010

Abstracted Cloudscapes #8 & 9

Two more.  Number 8 was completed yesterday.  I think I used a total of 6 colors, and each was selected for value vs. specific color.  Clouds, especially these billowy cumulus congestus have subtle changes in value, but in order to capture the volume and luminescence, you need to look carefully where those shadows occur.  I'm not always able to reproduce what I see exactly the way I want, but I keep working at it.

abstracted cloudscape #8 - cumulus congestus
12 x12 inches
Strathmore 400-series paper

I am pleased that with this piece, I successfully resisted any finger blending to it.  Scumbling and varying pressures of the pastels.  I think it may also be getting a bit easier to work on the Strathmore paper as far as layering goes.  

abstracted cloudscape #9 - approaching sunset
12 x12 inches
Strathmore 400-series paper

I worked on this piece late yesterday afternoon and early evening.  I tried a different technique for it, starting with placements of the lightest colors and gradually working around them.  It seemed to be working okay.  This morning, I looked at the painting in natural daylight and the colors were...awful.  The dark blue was too warm and not bright enough and what I'd thought were light oranges were garish and all wrong.  I just pulled it off the board and tossed it immediately.  But, figuring that I had nothing to lose, I sat down and decided to rework it, just to see if I could.  It's sort of a smudgy mess, but I did end up fixing the actual colors a bit more, and I'm posting it anyway, funk and all.  The values, however, are a bit off.  I really liked the photo this was based on, so I may revisit it at some point in the future...maybe with oils.  I definitely see that doing these sweeping clouds with soft or lost edges is a weak point for me, vs. the cumulus.  If I keep pounding away at them, and trying new techniques, perhaps I'll have one of those "ah-ha" moments.  

Those moments are probably one of the best things about being an artist, and the best part is that they never stop.  Unlike my original chosen career, where I got as good as I ever was going to with those skills, as an artist, that won't happen.  

It reminds me of a quote by Atul Gawande, MD, in his wonderful book Better :  "Betterment is a perpetual labor."   That certainly applies to artists as well.


  1. I like this second one a lot. It has, somehow, a melancholy (but lovely, poignant) feel to it for me. (But maybe that's just my mood today--ha!) Or maybe because of the time of day it represents? Because the feeling is really there, the feeling of being there and seeing that at a very specific time of day.
    Is this the one you said has technical problems? It sure doesn't look it.

    I painted a self-portrait study in my studio, under too bright a light that was shining in my eyes. I thought it looked great. Then I saw it the next day and it's so dark! that I look kind of biracial in it or something. :)

  2. Jala, thanks as always for your comments. Painting often feels like I'm in a vacuum, and I look at things and see them as failures or just not what I was hoping for, but another eye sees them differently. I'm glad you like it and saw what I was going for with it :).

    Your self-portrait situation is funny. I think if I'd painted myself that I appeared biracial, I'd just start laughing. It is rather annoying when the lighting affects the results that much, though.

    Good luck packing and have a safe trip!

  3. Is this a picture or a painting? How did they do that? That’s really amazing.painting are like it.


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