When I packed my paintbox today, I had in mind a specific subject. But driving to Horsebarn Hill, my attention was captured by the fantastic show of soft clouds bathed in the sunset colors. Overhead, the rounded undersides of the clouds were turning from soft orange to pink and coral, while in the distance, long, flattened strings of clouds were colored from smoky blue to purple greys.
Painting outside every day for a year taught me that the texture and the color of the clouds changes dramatically with the seasons. In spring, the clouds are diaphanous, with no clear edges, soft pink masses of fog floating in the air. Summer clouds resembles merengue, with billowing round tops sharply drawn on the blue background of the sky, and more ragged, diffused, and flattened bases. Fall clouds become grayer as we approach winter, with a limited range of values and less contrast between lit and dark areas. In winter, clouds often come in big grey blankets with minimal texture, and their horizontal movement gives the landscape a quiet and restful atmosphere.
Passing clouds are like passing thoughts across the open face of the landscape.