During last week's nimbostratus skies, I toured the fabulous Tacoma Art Museum where I found many cloudy canvases, including this beautiful one (above) by Arizona artist Ed Mell. Despite the title, the clouds are the whole reason for this painting. I love the warm russet southwest colors and the cool gray of the clouds, rain, and carved hills. You can almost hear this storm through the big, bold, geometric forms.
What would this painting be like without these clouds? The clouds occupy a narrow band of sky at the very top of this painting, but they are the restful reward after the viewer's zigzagging visual journey through the canyon. The horizontal line at the top gives weight and balance to the painting, the rounded forms of the clouds reflecting the water-carved rocks of the canyon.
See what I mean? This painting has a completely different feeling that the previous one, partly because of the flat light, but mostly because there are NO CLOUDS in the sky. Kinda boring, eh?
Not my favorite style of cloud rendering, but an interesting color palette for these sharp-edged cumulus clouds. This has the feeling of an N.C. Wyeth painting with the clouds pressed into service to frame the subject of the illustration and set a mood for the plot we can imagine but will never see unfold.
A scintillating detail of Ufer's painting showing deeply shaded cumulus clouds and blue sky shimmering with light and energy (my photo of the entire painting is out of focus!)