Friday, April 24, 2009

“Trace in the sky the painter’s brush, the winds around you soon will rush." *

Trace in the Sky  © 2010 Katherine Kean
oil on linen  30 x 40"

This is my latest work in progress. I saw these storm clouds roiling in the sky above the local foothills. This painting is part of a new body of work dealing with natural atmospheric phenomenon, elements such as wind, rain, clouds, vapor, ash and so on. I’m especially interested in those elements in transition or having an effect on one another, such as volcanic steam coming up against a building rainstorm.

I feel like this particular interest began on a trip to Hawaii last fall. I was staying on the rainy side of the Big Island – that’s the opposite side as the tourist side - and I got to witness these daily weather developments and sudden changes. It was quite a contrast to the parched drought conditions of Southern California that summer. Tinder dry is how the media likes to describe it and indeed I did return home to wildfires. It was all pretty exciting.

This is a larger size canvas for me, it’s 30 x 40” – not huge but it does take a little longer than others and a certain kind of energy. This feels like it is finally getting close to completion – another couple of days should do it. I want to add a lot more emphasis to the lighter cloud areas with highlights that will emphasize the motion of the cloud formations. I find that kind of addition to detail is fun work once I get into the rhythm of it. The rest will get some glazing to saturate and deepen some of the darker areas that might benefit from a heavier feeling.

*I found a webpage with a whole collection of weather sayings along with explanations and the title of this post comes from one of them.


Barbara Techel said...

Wow, this painting drew me right in. Amazing how "real" it looked even being within a blog post. I felt like I could get lost in it.

Happy to be a fellow blog triager with you!

Barbara Techel

Melissa said...

Beautiful! I like the quote, too.

M.Castaneda Oil Portraits Fine Art Paintings said...


Amazing composition, and value work on this painting. Passionate painting classmate!


Katherine Kean said...

Hi Barbara,

Thank you.

I'm happy to be in blog triage with you to!

Thanks for visiting.

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Melissa,

Thanks - I found some unusual weather proverbs when I went looking - some are quite poetic.

Katherine Kean said...

Thank you Magdalena, I appreciate the comment!

Derek said...

Hello Katherine,

I love this picture! As you know, I adore landscapes and skies, so this was very appealing to me. I look forward to seeing more in your 'atmospheric' series! How about one showing snow in a mountain environment?

Thanks for commenting on my blog yesterday! :) Great to hear from you!

best wishes,

Kim Bennett said...

Wow... the sky is amazing and it pulls you right into the composition.

Although it looks stormy there is a sense of serenity to it.

Kim Bennett said...

The back lighting of the clouds is beautifully done.

Denise West said...

Beautiful painting! I know what you mean about Hilo. We went to the Arboretum there last year, and they were offering umbrellas as we entered the path. I looked up at the sky, which was blue at the time, and at our rain ponchos and 1 umbrella and decided to bypass the offered umbrella. Big mistake. The sky opened up and DUMPED on us for a half hour, buckets and buckets!

We live in the foothills outside Denver, so I can also relate to your wildfire story. Glad you didn't have to evacuate. Last year I read something interesting that you might want to keep in the back of your mind. A woman who lost her house said that she gathered all the clothes from her closet and drawers, later realizing that all her favorites were the dirty ones!

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Derek,

Thank you - I'm glad you like it.

I'd love to paint mountains and snow. I guess the challenege for me will be to get to such a location.

Thanks for visiting. I'm looking forward to your next update!

Katherine Kean said...

Thanks Kim! Thanks for visiting.

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Denise,

Thank you. That's a great story about Hilo - it made me laugh. And good point - of course your favorite clothes are probably the ones in the hamper.

Marilyn Fenn said...


You painting is quite evocative and impressive! (I loved to paint clouds before I went all abstract.) You do it very well. I love the mood.

I also really liked your story -- just the right tone, length, interest. It also really drew me in.

Another blog classmate,


Katherine Kean said...

Hi Marilyn,

Thank you. Painting clouds can be right on the edge of painting abstraction.

Thanks for visiting - I'm looking forward to more blogging with you!

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