High Ceilings

I read somewhere that if you want high ceilings, go outside. In this spirit, I’m spending long hours staring at the winter sky (though from the warmth and dryness of my southwest windows). ¬†I do this in part because it is winter, and the ground looks like hell. But the sky, and the light! Despite some days of dreaded nimbostratus rainclouds (unchanging grey from one horizon line to the other, not enough light even to tell where the sun is hiding), I’ve found much to fascinate me.

Sketch from November 19 - low cloud formation on the horizon.

Sketch from November 19 – low cloud formation on the horizon.

My easel is set up beside a pile of canvas paper. I am forced by the subject matter to paint quickly, as it changes too fast for my usual asthmatic snail pace. Some sketches are good, some are completely horrible, but as I do 3 or 4 at a sitting, there’s no time to get hung up on it. I’m taking some of my favourites, and making larger, longer (i.e.- asthmatic snail paced) works from them.

Sketch from November 17

Sketch from November 17

At first I didn’t know what to expect. It seems silly to try to do something “just like that, but…bigger!”. I find that the paintings require entirely different things once the scale changes. Colours have weight, so the amounts, the darkness or lightness, whether they are bright or broken, all these things change. They provide composition to what would otherwise be only colour-field-style paintings. One of the larger works is speaking in an abstract language, so I need to answer it accordingly. Another wants me to charge at the canvas with loaded brush, abandoning most of my usual ¬†consideration. A third is too young to say much of anything yet, but we’ll see.

My inner asthmatic snail is getting quite a workout.

Sketch from November 17 - last light.

Sketch from November 17 – last light.

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One Response to High Ceilings

  1. Nancy Lee March 7, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    I just love these skies.

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