Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Great Book For Painting Clouds...Become a Cloud Connaisseur

'At Day's End'                 12x18             pastel           ©Karen Margulis
available here $165
 Clouds are not always white and fluffy. But ask someone to draw a cloud and often they will be hard- edged white cotton ball shapes. It is the universal symbol for a cloud!   If we want to move beyond painting symbols we need to become cloud connoisseurs. We need to spend time looking at clouds of all kinds.....and really seeing them. Study them. What colors make up the light and shadow parts of clouds? Where is the light coming from and how does it effect the appearance of the cloud? Do they have soft or hard edges? How do they interact with the sky?  How do the weather conditions effect the type of clouds that appear?

I am learning to be a cloud connoisseur. I love visiting places where I have a clear view of the sky. I can't get enough of the clouds. There is so much to learn!  That's why  I was excited to find a great book on clouds at the Albuquerque airport. It is called 'The Cloud Watcher's Handbook' by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. This wonderful book is a handbook for cloudgazers.  It is full of great photos  and information about cloud types and other sky related phenomena. The book assigns points for spotting the various cloud types and gives you space to record your observations and keep track of your points.It makes learning about clouds into a game.

'The Cloud Collector's Handbook' by Gavin Pretor-Pinney
 What I love about this book is that it makes you more knowledgable and AWARE of the clouds. No longer are they just clouds....those white puffy things.  They have names and they form in certain conditions. The information in the book will help me paint more authentic and believable clouds. It hals already made me a better observer of clouds. I finished the book on the plane. As I closed it and looked out the window I spotted a cloud formation that I had never seen (or noticed) before. I know that cloud type now! It's called Radiatus and they form along the direction of the wind. They are also called 'Cloud Streets' and they are loved by glider pilots.

Paint with knowledge....paint with understanding. Knowing more about clouds will help you paint them better!


Radiatus clouds or Cloud Streets

Up in the sky with Crepuscular Rays
Painting notes: 12x18 on Uart paper with a 4 value block in with soft pastel rubbed in with pipe insulation foam.

1 comment:

Eileen Sullivan said...


What a wonderful discovery! I began using pastels because I wanted to do paintings of clouds!