In the Clouds

Sometimes being an artist isn’t fun or enlightening or satisfying. It’s just hard work. It’s hard to figure out how to capture a scene or idea on paper; hard to get paint to do what you want, what you see, what you want to convey. Sometimes being an artist is fraught with doubt and anguish. That’s the kind of week I’ve had. I have a big painting assignment that requires big skies and working at a much larger size than I typically do. Scaling up has been a challenge—one which will no doubt prove worthwhile in the end, but which feels overwhelming in the moment. My head is full of clouds…and I’m only beginning to see a glimmer of blue sky emerging.

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28 Comments on “In the Clouds

  1. My favorite was “too impatient”! I too am struggling with skies… thanks for this post! 🙂

  2. First, Happy Mother’s Day. Second, good to know established artists have qualms about whether or not they are in or out of their comfort zone. Picture a learner if you will: We are always outside our comfort zone. Each new lesson takes us a step further along that journey. And, I don’t believe there is an “end” point … thankfully! Enjoy the day.

  3. Skies are HARD!! 🙂 Funny how we put ourselves in the “uncomfortable” place… and when we get something we like, it makes us sooo happy!! PS, I like Too Stiff and Impatient… what does that say about me?? Haha… they are all beautiful!

    • Thanks Sheryl! Yes…those small successes can be enormously satisfying. At least we’ll never be lacking for subject matter for painting skies.

  4. My favorite was the “TOO STIFF” because it depicts exactly what I’m seeing in Mt Vernon Wa today! I loved all of your clouds! Inspiration for today! 🌤⛅️ I’m going to head out later for plein air journaling. 😍🎨. Happy Mothers Day! 💐

    • Hi Kathy- I love a big sky like “too stiff” but I wish I had let the paint do more of the work so that more of the edges were soft. Happy painting…and Mother’s Day!

  5. That does sound really challenging, scaling up something like a cloudy sky when you’re sued to painting at a particular size. For me, painting a cloud at any size…well, probably a huge challenge! A few leaves, maybe! 😉 The “Impatient” one had me chuckling – I have the same problem with my photographs and I’ve been plagued with it lately. Still, I’m getting out more, taking more photographs, and there are always a few promising ones. Practice!

    • Yes…the scaling up is definitely a big part of the problem, but also something I need to work on. I’m just eager to come out the other side! Good luck with your photos and patience!

  6. I so appreciate you saying that, sometimes, being an artist is really hard work. Part of me, on reading this, thought “she is so right, it so is and nobody knows that – how unfair”, part of me goes “duh, of course it’s work; others go to the office, I sit in the studio and paint”. But why is it that it doesn’t seem like work sometimes? Hm. In any case, I’m often exhausted after a day of painting, especially when putting myself out there trying difficult things like you do. 🙂 Thanks for showing all the studies, too; I really like “interesting” and “improving”!

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I sort of thought the same– why wouldn’t we think it would be hard? Part of it may be the assumption that art is driven by talent and enjoyment– but that’s only half of it– practice, dedication and work are also essential. Let’s keep at it!

      • Hi Jean,

        I am thinking that people — at least where I am — are used to seeing art as an avocation or something to do in one’s spare time. This is largely because it is extremely difficult to make a living as a professional artist, so most artists need at least a side job (if not more than one). I think that people associate art with “spare time” and “fun” and “relaxation” because it isn’t a full-time thing.

        Kind of like how going to Hawaii is “fun” when it’s just a vacation, but it isn’t so much when you live there! Sure, there’s the beach…and the tourists…and the high cost of living…and the roaches…

        I liked “too stiff,” too, by the way. 🙂 …But I should get back to my homework: for the “side job” (career) I’m trying to undertake so I can have the time to do the art… :/

  7. I like “interesting” and “promising”. Sky is big, too big to capture sometimes.
    I’d say your head is right about there Jean.

  8. Jean, I admire your clouds! I’ve just started playing in my sketchbook with them and they need a lot of work before I add them to a painting. Today I propped up a painting I was working on and looked at it from across the room. I thought it looked a lot better than when it was right in front of me. When you mentioned you were working larger than normal I thought maybe backing up might help you too. By the way – Too stiff and improving are my favorites!

  9. Some days feel like a lot of paper is needed to get there.
    Nevertheless, there is a silver lining in all of your pictures; nice work.

  10. I really, really, really love the one you labeled ‘interesting’ next favorite is the one you labeled ‘stiff’ and the ‘too loose’… they are all good in their own way… hard sometimes, to get the vision in your head onto the paper.

    • Thanks Elaine. Yes…translating the vision is hard sometimes. But I’m realizing that maybe that’s as it should be.

  11. Pingback: Drawn to the Coast | Drawn In

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