Saturday, August 23, 2008


I've spent a lot of time this summer looking up, with my head in the clouds some might say.

We play the cloud game on long drives. Mostly, they just look like clouds to me. Fake clouds. If you saw them in a painting you would laugh, decry them as phoney.

We turn the bend and suddenly there a dolphin frolics in the sky between the trees. Around the next bend, swathed in robes a Bedouin spurs on his camel. Then hordes of Mongols wielding cutlasses storm across the sky.

These fascinating clouds. By turns dark portents, angelic snows, childish whimsy, cotton-candy circus safety nets, demonic phantasmagoria, hellfires in white.

So I wonder, from a painterly perspective, how can you represent them credibly?

What I did on my summer vacation? I spent untold hours trying to pin a cloud to paper.

This is my cloud:

This photo is dark and doesn't do it justice, doesn't capture the light, the texture, the thickness, the slabs of colour. (Oil pastel crayons were always my medium of choice.) (Note: I have no formal art training whatsoever.) What you can't see is that this is layers of white and yellow and white and white and blue and white and grey and white and more white, on a 9 × 12 sheet of drawing paper.

(Perhaps I will get around to scanning the picture, to see if it shows depth.)

It's a cloud that looks like a cloud, because to draw a cloud that looks like a stampeding elephant would invite ridicule. I will save that for a future endeavour.

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