Having your head in the clouds, as I frequently do, is its own reward but there are also rewards in sharing the addiction. I was recently invited by Gavin Prettor-Pinney, creator of The Cloud Appreciation Society (CAS), co-founder of The Idler magazine, and, most importantly, author of the indispensable The Cloud Spotter's Guide (2006) and The Wave Watchers Companion (2010), to give a talk on the cloud in art during the CAS's annual Sky Gathering, which took place this year on the island of Lundy a small but inhabited land in the Bristol Channel.
|Lundy island west coast looking south|
We gathered at a hotel in central London and took a coach trip to the Lundy ferry at Ilfracombe via Stone Henge, the famous picturesque gardens at Stourhead in Wiltshire and Barnstable all of which were new to me.
|Stourhead lake and Greek temple, aquarelle pencil.|
|Passing Stonehenge in a traffic jam, graphite.|
|Barnstable bridge, tide ebbing, aquarelle pencil.|
|Leaving Ilfracombe on the Oldenburg: photo credit Phil Nobel for Reuters.|
|The Oldenburg, built in Germany in 1958.|
|Imaginary Lundy, aquarelle pencil|
|The Old Lighthouse, watercolour and oil pastel|
|Lionel demonstrating sketching in aquarelle pencils|
|Lundy's Marisco Castle: photocredit Phil Noble for Reuters|
In this example the painting contains physical substances, such as earth from the ground on which I was sitting, making connections with the physical world, including the weather (how quickly the paint dries), that photography rarely can. Although I have taken thousands of photographs over many decades, developing my own negatives and positives in black and white and colour before the age of digital photography, my photographs of landscape always disappoint in comparison to paintings and drawings. They often lack depth something that cannot be said of Berndnaut Smilde's beautifully composed indoor photographs.
I shared a room with Berndnaut, who travels the world 'making' clouds, and gained a real insight into his ideas, methods and artistic journey.
|Global Sky, oil, 1999-2019|