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Outdoors: Cloud illusions

cloud_study__stormy_sunset_1998.20.1.jpg
National Gallery of Art
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John Constable, Cloud Study: Stormy Sunset

When I visit a major art museum, I find myself drawn the landscapes.

I could spend hours studying the paintings of John Constable, which is what I was doing when my husband asked me if I was appreciating the art or just looking at the clouds.

I have to confess that I look at clouds from both sides.

Yes, clouds are an important feature of composition.

But like Constable, I am rather obsessed by clouds and weather conditions.

In fact, I am convinced that my mood and productivity are influenced by barometric pressure.

John Constable believed in showing nature exactly as he saw it, and he created countless oil studies of clouds before painting his landscapes.

But many artists - Turner, Monet, van Gogh, Wyeth, O’Keeffe - to name just a few, used clouds to create both movement and mood in their paintings.

The clouds formed under high barometric conditions are depicted in peaceful and cheerful compositions.

Paintings with ominous, frightening or warlike themes tend to include clouds formed under low barometric pressure or storm conditions.

Are some visual artists, like me, obsessed by clouds?

Are their artistic depiction of clouds influenced by their personal responses to air pressure and weather?

Maybe it is just a composition thing.

But I still have to believe that somehow, it’s cloud's illusions they recall, even if they really don't know clouds at all.

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"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.