• Andy Whysall

All the Clouds that Lour'd

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Of course we all like a nice blue sky with a fat old Sun beaming down on us, but I reckon that unless you're trying to convey the burning heat of the desert or sell a holiday location, the sky is always best with a detail - and for me that means clouds.

Clouds have been crucial in art for centuries. There are very few paintings by the great and good that don't show the sky like it is most of the time - that's to say with clouds. Gainsborough is one of my favourite exponents.

Thomas Gainsborough, Wooded Landscape with a Peasant Resting (1747)

Constable and others did likewise. Their epic skies, that could so easily be dull banks of blues or greys, are full of detail and genuinely convey the weight and power of skies on English summer's (usually) days. The French Impressionists conveyed the same and so elegantly. One Frenchman in particular...

Eugène-Louis Boudin, La Plage de Trouville à l’heure du Bain (1864)

Primarily a marine artist, Boudin (can't help but laugh) was one of the first French landscape painters to actually paint outdoors. J-B-C Corot said Boudin was the king of skies. Monet credits his work as a great inspiration. There's cosy museum to M. Boudin at Honfleur, where he was born in 1824.

Where's all this going? Clouds; I love clouds in photographs. There is nothing duller, unless it's for a damned good reason, than a sky full of blue. And that is why whenever I come back from a trip I have maybe a dozen new cloudscape pictures. Most of mine are taken over the coast, especially along estuaries (the Solway Firth's skies are to die for), but we can have great cloudy skies anywhere.

Check out the Cloudscape gallery (under construction, Aug 2019) in the website for sky pictures taken over nearly half a century. In the meantime here is a trio of cloudscapes from Normandy; the beach at Grandcamp-Maisy between Utah and Omaha beaches, somewhat west of Boudin's location. Somehow it managed not to rain on me. Also, let me point you back to my post of Lindisfarne views.

I've also started laying out a book of my cloud pictures from about 1979 to present. Keep you posted on that.

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