Friday, 21 July 2017

Sky Gazing

Blushing Sunset, acrylic, 12" x 16"

Blog 30

While most of us look at the sky to figure out what to wear or whether to take an extra layer or an umbrella, skies continuously inspire me – as you know, if you have seen my landscape paintings. I love to take in the perfect blue of a sunny day, and watch the clouds moving along, while trying to figure out any shapes. I am also attracted to the beautiful colours of the sunsets or a rainbow when rain and sunshine collide. Even the deep purple sky and the big storm clouds that precede a storm are fascinating, as long as I watch them from the security of a sheltered area. Then, there is the changing moon and the starry night.

The colour of the sky influences the colours we see. To explain this phenomenon would be a blog in itself. However, here are two examples: Two of the most visible changes happen at sunset. Just think about the beautiful colours that are reflected in the water or the golden tips of the trees.

While I enjoyed watching the sky for as long as I can remember, I noticed many things only once I started painting landscapes. When you want to paint something, you spend time to really observe the objects you want to paint. You see the different colours in the shadows and pay attention to details. I started looking and admiring the way many famous artists painted the sky. However, my fascination was really awakened when I took two separate workshop studying the works of Vincent van Gogh and Joseph Mallord William Turner. I admired the energy that is visible in van Gogh's skies, and loved the way Turner used colour to create light and the mood in his paintings.

Putting an emphasis on the sky is very effective in creating the mood of a painting. A bright blue sky makes us happy, because we associate it with a beautiful day.

White fluffy clouds create a peaceful mood, and I am sure I am not the only one who wonders how it would feel to lie down in the white fluffiness. Watching the white clouds move along is very calming, and you get so absorbed that other thoughts are pushed out of your mind. Definitely, an activity that I can highly recommend.

Dark clouds on the other hand are often an omen of dark, dangerous or scary events. You expect something bad to happen. There is a certain element of suspense that can be either thrilling or worrisome.

A night sky with its twinkling stars and the peaceful moon remind us about the vastness of the universe. There are many people who regularly watch the stars to see the different constellations. I just watch the night sky for its beauty and peacefulness. It reminds me that there are still lights, even in the darkness of life. I also look for a shooting star in order to make a wish.

In the world of art, there even is a term for art that focuses on the depiction of the sky: the skyscape. A subgroup is the cloudscape, a skyscape where clouds are the focus point. Skyscapes either include small stretches of landscape or birds as well as manmade flying objects to help with orientation and scale, but the sky can also be the sole subject.

I enjoy living close to Petrie Island. On my way along the river, I have witnessed some amazing sunsets that have inspired me to pick up my paintbrush. Here are some of my favourite skyscapes:

Hay Fields in Nauheim, Germany
Powdery Sunset
The Front

Sunset Magic
Ottawa Sunset 

St. Lawrence River Sunset 
Evening Glow
Summer Storm

I hope you enjoyed my sky gazing blog and that you will observe what is going on above you more closely. I would also like to invite you to visit my Facebook page for news updates at

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