Monday, November 14, 2011

Clouds

In northern California, where I live, the sky is clear all summer long, giving us the the warm, sunny summers that California is famous for (unless you're on the coast, but that's another story). It also means that sunrise and sunset are pretty darned boring for most of the year, too. The sky's blue all day, then a few different shades of blue then black and vice versa in the morning. When I first moved here in the mid-1980s summer mornings were often foggy but the fog has been absent, for the most part, for many years. It's always thrilling when autumn arrives and we begin to have some weather. Where there's weather there are clouds. In the early fall, the sky itself is still often visible, punctuated by billowing, blowsy cream-colored clouds with deep blue shadows. Sometimes, there are waves of wispy puffs of white drifting across the blue. As autumn turns to winter the clouds turn dirty gray and often cover the sky entirely, hanging close to the ground. By winter's end, I find myself ready for some boring old blue again. But autumn has just begun here and I'm still enjoying the novelty of a changeable sky.
I like to wake up very early. Even in summer it's still mostly dark outside when I wake, but now, as the days have grown shorter the sun doesn't rise until I've stretched, dressed, watched the news, eaten breakfast and, often, washed the dishes. The other morning, when the dishes were only halfway done, a startling pink glow leaked through the blinds covering the window. Dishes forgotten, I hurried to open them and was smacked in the face by an astonishing sunrise lighting up seemingly endless rows of weiner-shaped clouds. It was over in moments and the clouds rapidly lost their rosy tint and became a ceiling of dull, puffy gray. It rained later that day and into the next. The following morning I opened those blinds to see the same view veiled in a fog that Sherlock Holmes would have felt right at home in.

Both sketches were done with #2 pencil on Strathmore 400 sketch paper. Watercolor and colored pencil were added to the first sketch later in the day.