Friday, May 22, 2020

Even Clouds Have Perspective

5/14/20 Maple Leaf neighborhood

Years ago I took Stephanie Bower’s “Good Bones” workshop, which emphasized the principles of perspective. After a morning of rigorously trying to understand the vanishing point and one-point and two-point perspective, we had settled into an afternoon of watercolor painting. As Stephanie began a demo, one student sighed audibly and said, “Thank God the perspective part is over, and we can just paint clouds!” Stephanie smiled wryly and said, “Clouds have perspective too, you know! Everything has perspective – even clouds,” which elicited laughter and some groans from her students.

Whenever sketchers talk about how difficult drawing architecture is “because of the perspective,” as if only buildings are afflicted with it, I chuckle recalling Stephanie’s comment. I’m not sure I fully understood then, but I certainly understand it now: Of course, everything has perspective, even clouds. I learned the same lesson again a few years ago in Suzanne Brooker’s colored pencil class when we studied clouds.

Learning and understanding it, of course, is not the same as being able to render it.

We have been seeing some spectacular clouds lately. On this cloudy day, I was thinking about a challenge that USk Japan had initiated: Use white as a key element in a sketch. White could be the negative space left white on the page or the color white. I went out on our upstairs sundeck to see if I could capture those amorphous shapes as well as their perspective.

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