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The Art of Clouds

Unlike Joni Mitchell, I never use to look at clouds from both sides.  Clouds were always just up there, floating above my head.  I didn’t stop to notice anything upwards. I was too focused on what is in front of me.

There is beauty in nature. That’s not something I needed to learn. I’ve always had an eye for photocomposition and how the simplistic arrangement of objects becomes art. I took a photography class in college and my focus was trees, plants, landscapes, and people. While I was framing the pictures through a lens, I didn’t value the sky as an individual canvas.

It’s cliché to say “Stop and smell the roses,” but we really do need to stop and appreciate our physical world. View it with a creative eye and the sensibility of an artist. Look past the commonplace and see the environment as a composition of angles, textures, shading and contrast.

As a child, I was always fascinated by light and how the sun changes throughout the day - the dimness of morning, the bright afternoon light and the golden glow of late afternoon. For me it evokes different moods as it changes the patterns it makes against objects it touches.

 I remember staring intently at rays of afternoon sun as they streamed through the slants of our living room blinds. The orange hued glow would highlight particles of dust that danced across the field of light. It brings back memories of lazy afternoons, dinners being prepared and books cracked open for homework assignments. 

 It might seem mundane, but those are the nuances of our physical world, most of us just ignore. With a bit of creativity we can all begin to appreciate the physical elements surrounding us in a different way.  There is a meditative quality to observing the ordinary as art. Watch the steam rise off a cup of coffee, beads of water form on the tiles of the shower, limbs of trees waving in a breeze, etc. The possibilities are infinite.

For me, one day driving home from work, the clouds moving across the sky did finally catch my eye. I became fascinated by the patterns and a change in color as the sun broke through following a storm. After that, I began to notice these formations of water vapor and the constant sifting shapes they created. It wasn’t about seeing a specific object formed by the clouds like an elephant, a giraffe, or Abraham Lincoln; it was the sky as a palette that captivated me. 

I began to use my iPhone camera to capture clouds and the ever-changing beauty they present. I look for a change in color that the sun and the sky’s background provide. I guess now I’m a sky gazer, looking up – waiting for a new pattern.

I couldn’t tell you whether they are cirrus, nimbus, cumulus or stratus. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is the magnificence of nature, and how it inspires me. I’ve discovered an art gallery above my head. They’re not my creation, but the way I capture them is. Here is a collection of some of the photos I have taken while looking up. I hope they inspire you. Remember, there is beauty in everything around us, and not even the sky is the limit. 


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