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Summer,Creativity & Clouds

"SUMMER begins to have the look,

Peruser of enchanting Book

Reluctantly,but sure,perceives--

A gain upon the backward leaves." by Emily Dickinson (excerpt from a longer poem)

We are in the summer season now. This is clear. Sometimes the season is all that seems to be clear. I have found myself watching the sky more often here in The Berkshires.

I like to look up. I like to see the clouds in all their various forms. Blue skies have their benefits, but so do clouds. After a recent visit to The Clark Art Museum in Williamstown,Massachusetts, I saw several cloudscape paintings. I realized that even an accomplished painter has challenges when depicting clouds. I resolved to look at clouds more carefully and then create my own cloudscape.

Dacher Keltner, author of "Awe The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life" writes:

"Viewing art activates the dopamine network in the brain.When paintings decorate walls in public buildings and offices,people's minds open to wonder:they demonstrate greater creativity, inspiration,problem-solving abilities,and openness to others' perspectives."

This resonates so much with me. How about you?

As I proceed on my "Cloudspotting" creative adventure, I will need a few things:

As a self taught painter, I will use a combination of acrylic and watercolor paints. I may also add in some collage materials...I do recommend watercolor paper, or cardboard, or go wild and use a canvas to paint my cloudscape. I will enjoy the process of "Cloudspotting", learning cloud lingo, "fluffy", works, but "Cumulus" does too.

Enjoy the process of making art! Get into the "art zone" It is a great place to be. Focusing on mixing paint colors, creating new ones, varying paint brush types, have music in the background (if that works for you) Experiment with making art. I don't always like how I draw. So what I do may seem odd, but here goes: I draw shapes of the thing I am painting with a black "sharpie" marker. I then go over the shape with paint as I proceed with the painting. Each person will have their own technique and style which works just fine actually.

When I finish my "cloudscape" I will post it. Until then, have fun making your cloudscape or whatever your creative experiment will be.

More food for thought from "Awe" by Keltner;

"One impressive study,which involved more than thirty thousand people in the United Kingdom,found that people who practiced more art,like painting and dance,and viewed more art,for example by going to museums or musical performances, volunteered more in their community and gave more money away two years after the study's completion. Visual design that encourages more everyday awe also promotes collective health and well-being."

Keep going and keep looking up.


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