Flying Above the Clouds



I just recently flew home to Hawaii from the mainland. I was lucky to get a window seat.  When I wasn’t sleeping or writing,  I watched the cloud formations in the sky. The sun was setting slowly in the west, but as we moved westward we were catching up with daylight.

The cloud formations over the Pacific kept me entertained. I believe we were flying between 30,000 and 35,000 feet.  The clouds were about half that altitude. I watched the arrangement of clouds change as we moved along.

At one point the patterns fascinated me enough to cause me to get out a pad of paper and pencil.  I wanted to get out my camera, but the camera was stowed in the overhead bin and my neighbor was sound asleep.

The sky below looked like a large white fluffy quilt. The clouds were defined by curving lines which divided the white softness with repetitive patterns. The patterns were soothing.  I was intrigued and waited to see how the clouds would change.

As time passed, the clouds took on a slightly pinkish cast.  I tried to memorize the scene below me. I closed my eyes and visualized the clouds.  I made a mental note to do a painting of this scene.

As I watched the clouds I thought of a cloudscape Georgia O’Keeffe painted in 1965 titled Sky Above the Clouds IV.  What a giant undertaking that painting must have been since it was 96″ x 288″.  You can see the painting I am referring to at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Website. O’Keeffe was drawn to changing patterns and colors. She felt the clouds seen from above were “breathtaking”.  I agree.

So, here is an assignment,  Look at your surroundings with a purpose. Look for patterns.  You will find that after a while you won’t have to consciously look for patterns. You’ll start seeing them every where. Take time and jot down what you see in a quick sketch. Use whatever materials are available at the time.  That simple act will help you remember the image for later.  Imagine how patterns could be incorporated into your artwork.

Happy pattern hunting!

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