Saturday, March 24, 2012
The Creative Process: Painting Clouds
I hate painting clouds.
That being said, I love clouds. I find them fascinating, and I love to watch all the different shapes and colours they can be. I spend a lot of time staring at the sky, and I have tons of pictures I've taken of different cloud formations, and every once in awhile I get the overwhelming urge to paint something with prominent clouds in it.
Recently I was working on a painting with a large red-and-purple cloudy sunset sky (you know the type) and I screamed at the paint a lot. I came back later, stabbed some more paint at the canvas, and screamed at it even more. Clouds are so frustrating! It's their amorphous nature that makes them so irritating--they don't ever have a defined shape, but you can immediately recognize a cloud that doesn't look cloud-like. There's a fine line between clouds that are too defined and look unnatural, and clouds that just sort of look like smushy colours because you tried blending them around too much and the paint all ran together and now your canvas looks more like a fuzzy smear of white and blue and you start screaming and throw it across the room in a fit of rage and frustration.
Okay, maybe you don't do that last part (or maybe you do)*. Fortunately, last fall I took a painting class with a long-time family friend and very established painter, and learned a ridiculously simple and extremely effective way of painting clouds.
*For the record, I have in fact screamed at, punched, and thrown canvases out of frustration.