Experimentation: My Head’s in the Clouds

sepia clouds

These clouds began a fanciful series that I painted on the trip. I really love clouds, and with nothing else in mind to paint, that was what I painted pretty much the entire four days. When we were driving I looked at the clouds in the distance and thought to myself that the light looked like it was spilling out of them like water. Then I thought, what if the light did interact wit the clouds like water? Thus the series. I really like it, and it scratched an artistic itch for sure. This one is brown just because I wanted to start out by really departing from conventional cloud painting. I didn't really know what I was doing at this point, so it's in a much lower value key with less contrast than I would have liked, but it was fun and I like the sepia effect.

purple cloud waterfall

I think this one or the next cloud painting are my favorite. Purple is my favorite color, and I went crazy with it here, keeping to the monochrome, unusual cloud color idea. I was really just trying to break the rules and do something crazy here. I love the colors.

shadowy cloud waterfall

This one, I think, is my favorite. The values are more on track with what I was looking for, and there's a better sense of depth than the previous two cloud experiments. I think this one, in its own way, was a meditation (all of these clouds were pretty meditative to work on) and it was really helpful during the trip to Georgia, which was for a funeral. I find that sometimes it's easier for me to "cry" or express emotions through paintings than it is to talk about them or even express them normally, so these cloud paintings were really therapeutic for me.

baobab clouds

This one got a bit more whimsical. I got a chocolate bar on the trip back home that apparently had baobab fruit in it. The chocolate was tasty, and I really liked the stylized baobab tree on the front of the package. It occurred to me also that the leaf clumps looked cloudish and so it felt like a natural progression.

I painted this cloud valley painting while watching Star Wars back at my parents' house. By this point I was almost clouded out, but I still had a little bit in me. I thought the light wasn't going to work for me here, but it ended up turning out better than I thought. Writing this blog post is making me want to revisit this series. Hmmm….

still life with flower crown, lace, and wedding shoes

After completing a whole series I was a little at a loss as to what to paint, since I had several half-finished oil paintings at this time but nothing ready to post yet. I was going through my house looking for stuff to make a quick still life and settled on my wedding flower crown and shoes. The lace is an old dress-up petticoat that made a really nice soft setting. I really like it and I might have to revisit this as an oil painting. Lace is pretty hard regardless, though. I really like this and I think it would be cute to do these little accessory still lifes for wedding commissions.

matthew 10: 29 birds

This painting was never meant to be seen- it was just for me, thinking. It was another meditative, kind of feeling piece. It's layers and layers of watercolor on canvas board, and it's really rough. It was done as a sort of thought piece and homage to the works of Makoto Fujimura, who works in the Nihonga style of painting- though my piece is more drippy and tear-like (and also uses bargain gouache instead of gorgeous washes of priceless hand-ground pigments). I was reading through his book Culture Care at the time, as well as getting ready for a group show with the theme "wait and hope". I really got into the theme and did several different pieces for the show, and this one- just on the side- for myself. Anyway, I was in a pinch this month and wasn't ready to show my next painting so this one was able to jump in. Looking at it again was a good reminder of the Bible verse that the two little birds are a reference to- Matthew 10: 29, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your father's care".

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