Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I find that clouds are one of the most difficult things for me to paint. Other people find it complicated to paint water or waves. Me, it's clouds. I have noticed that much of the time the bottom of a white cumulus cloud is gray and that gray is most often about the same value (lightness or darkness) of the blue sky around it. (Not the case with this painting on the left) I've made a mistake many times of making that gray area of the cloud darker than it should be. In other words, I were to take a photo of the clouds and convert it to black and white, the bottom of the cloud would often be the same shade as the sky around it.
No hard and fast rules with clouds though. It takes very clear thinking to paint them. They are far more complex than just putting a few strokes down on the canvas.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What is White?

What color is it? A question I often ask myself. When you look at a paint chip in a store you might say that it is red, or blue and recognize that it has a particular shade but what color really is it? The color only exists because of the light that is shone on it at that moment. In other words, there is no color at all without light and the type of light or shadows that fall upon the object determines the color. If you look at a white building, one side might be in shade, one side in sunlight, one area might have reflected light on it from the grass giving it a green cast and so on. The problem of seeing color clearly is one of determining what colors are around it and how they are influencing it weather it be the color of the light itself or of reflected light and shadow. To say something is white is mearly a generalization. For the artist that white wall may be seen as having a hundred different colors. Study a white wall and see how many colors and different shades of light and dark you can find. It will surprise you.
Sometimes you will only be able to say that this part is a warm color and another area a cool color but you will readily see that white is not white at all.

Inspiration Anywhere

I have always been able to see something worthwhile painting in the most unlikely places. Even an unsightly construction site where the earth has been plowed up and trash litters the area will have something there worth painting. It could be a small flower that struggles to grow among the rubble or an interesting piece of machinery. Whatever the case, I can always find something of beauty wherever I go.
Having said that and being in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the past six months, there is much more motivation to create in a place where things are natural and that inspires me to paint with an enthusiasm I don't have in places where nature struggles against man.