“An artist has to be careful never to really arrive at a place where he thinks he’s at somewhere. You always have to realize that you’re constantly in a state of becoming, and as long as you’re in that realm, you’ll sort of be all right.”-Bob Dylan (from No Direction Home)
Well i have been looking up at clouds in awe of their changing beauty and in spite of filling pages still have no idea how to capture them in paint.
Except for the hours and hours when I’ve been deep in a basement studio with my hands covered in clay or singing my voice out in a cold sanctuary rehearsing for Lessons and Carols and Christmas services I’ve focused on clouds. And, they keep changing!-“It’s clouds illusions i recall…” Where has the fall gone? How can it be less than 3 weeks until Christmas and i don’t even have a wreath on the door let alone a decent watercolor to share.
Clouds in reflection
Snow clouds and a light dusting
Well i guess we all just do the best we can and share what we can. No matter how they may appear to us they are what we’ve got today and it is good to have tried. After all if we think we have arrived we probably aren’t in a good place at all! The best place to be is in a state of becoming.
This past week we have had everything except cumulus nimbus from roll clouds to sheer zones, mares tails, stratus, strata nimbus, mackerel, and fair weather cumulus and more. I have a long way to go to find a comfort zone with getting the effects i want.
Watercolor can be most aggravating. Pushing acrylic around was easier.
Adding Chinese white to the mix is interesting. None of these imparts the ethereal brightness and glow of a real cloud. I am feeling rather stubborn at this point; this may require a lot of paper and paint.
Last night I finally got myself back to a figure drawing session. This is the watercolor sketch which came out of the evening.
Sessions usually consist of 10 very dynamic 2 minute poses followed by several 5 minute poses and 10 minute poses and ending with a long pose which the model will hold for 2 or possibly 3 20 minute sessions. I usually work in charcoal or pencil for the short poses concentrating on various aspects of the pose or parts of the model and then switch to watercolor for the long pose. Sometimes I work directly in pen (sharpie) when I am feeling confident. This time I was struggling just to be there and draw at all so I am pleased to have done this much. I always work large this one is 18”x24”. The paper is 100 lb Bristol –very unforgiving worked vertically on an easel so one can not really use washes or flood the paper. got back rather late so-
No watercolor today but I did do a bit of work in the ceramics studio between my walk and a visit to the doctors. I need to do the mares tails clouds I saw this morning. Images like this sit on my mind and literally keep me awake-how can I get them to happen in watercolor?
Angel in the dust
(and yes, last nights model really is this “well endowed”)
Today has been a day of clouds and silver-tipped trees outlined against the sky.
My travels take me outwards from the center like the travel lines on a spider web. Some of the roads are dirt and some are paved state highways. One heads north and anchors me to the mountains and another east to connect me with the ocean. The one which reaches out to the western hills is closed to me now but, one heads south and connects me to cities and art and performance. I’ll take that tonight to resume the figure drawing I’d let go. Ghosts haunt all of them and make travel difficult; yet if I don’t travel off the hill will there be a new day?
Thank you Jane for your latest post. I was just about to post a little sketch inspired by the sunset and clearing weather we were given this evening. It is so lovely to just pick up a brush and let the colors go. this was done with a triad I am currently experimenting with:
Prussian Blue-cool,staining,transparent, and grainy
Raw sienna-earth tone,semi opaque
Each of these pigments has a complex personality and together they allow huge variation of effect. That is if one can get the mix right and control the water. I am struggling and would welcome comments from others. I am always interested in trying new pigment/triad combinations and would welcome suggestions and advice.
In another sunset scene over the ocean-
i am still struggling with getting the colors i need in this painting using the above triad and have settled (I think ) on using Thalo blue in the rocks and ultramarine deep in warming the sky. It was a very cold, bleak sunset so I may still stay with the Prussian blue in sea and sky. Suggestions welcome???
But whatever the outcome the best part is doing it and discovering that suddenly i can listen to “You are the New Day” by the Kings Singers again and smile.
It’s hard to ignore these but easy to snap them with a camera and even harder to capture them in water-color. I think the ultimate test will be which image grabs the imagination best; the photo or the painting. I’m working on this and hope to post something soon. Each cloud formation and time of day has its own mood and that has to be caught in the picture as well. These last few days have been awesome for cloud study. Here is one from last night snapped on my way to supper.