Skygazing

study of clouds

Study of Clouds over the Sea, Brighton, oil on canvas by John Constable, 1822

Like my distant relative, the English landscape painter John Constable, I find myself increasingly looking skyward. Along the Sonoma Coast, the sky is alternately either clear blue or opaque gray for most of the year. But as winter approaches and the storms blow in from offshore, we’re treated to dramatic cloud formations, appearing in waves that modulate our rainy season and score my days of working in the studio.

Though skyscapes remain subject to cultural interpretation, I’m drawn to them more for their timeless indifference. As perhaps the only remaining visual manifestation of wild nature, skies are the cause of human interaction and emotion more than the effect of the same (although this is likely changing). Studying the sky helps me to feel connected to past generations, contextualizing the effects of the built environment that is most often the subject/object of my work as a maker.

Ultimately, skygazing reminds me that nature does not distinguish between good and bad, and that all living things are subject to the same planetary forces.


One reply on “Skygazing”

  1. Scott,

    The sky here is monotone, and was recently dumping snow…lots.

    This post reminds me strongly of Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto and his Seascape series. His idea was to capture an image that has been a part of the human psyche since time immemorial. Stark, subtle, and arresting images.

    See images on his website: http://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/seascape.html

    An overview of his conceptual concerns here: http://www.whitecube.com/exhibitions/seascapes/

    And a youtube video of his concern with the craft of photography here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxqvmVhjSC4&feature=player_embedded

    Enjoy,
    Nic

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