July 23, 2011 - Wrestling with Clouds

"What do I look like?"
"You look like a bear holding on to a balloon," you said.
"Not," said Pooh anxiously, "not like a small black cloud in a blue sky?"
"Not very much."

- A.A. Milne

Today I have been wrestling with clouds, which is neither as biblical nor as romantic as it sounds.

At yesterday's Open Studio, I began two paintings side-by-side. On the left-hand painting, the clouds were lovely, wispy, atmospheric, and everything you would want from a cloud. Witness:

On the right-hand painting, the clouds were . . . not. And they stubbornly have remained so. I've tried regular brushes, sponge brushes, paper towels, fingers, re-glazing, lifting, and even gesso-everything-and-start-overing. Here's where they stand, and they are still utterly, utterly tragic:

I am going to sleep on this problem, and perhaps I will reach for my cure-all collage papers tomorrow. In the meantime, however, the below floated by 'round sunset time:

I think Somebody up there has a wicked sense of humor.

... twenty minutes later . . .

Those tragic clouds were so embarassing that -- admittedly in a fit of pique -- I slashed a glaze of gesso over the whole sky and tackled them again. My weapon of choice for this round was a wet paper towel. It took three additional tries, but now I think can live with them:

My wise sculptor brother-in-law says that all art is a series of experiments. I repeat that to myself like a mantra. It's saving me a bucket in therapy bills.


Maarit said...

Aww, poor clouds. They're notoriously squirrely critters.

Serri Miller said...

Embarassingly, I just-now figured out that most clouds are composites of 3-D shapes and must be modeled as such. So it's back to the drawing board. Literally.