Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Seeing Through the Sky

In his book Modern Painters, John Ruskin speaks of looking not at a sky, but through it.

“It is not flat dead colour, but a deep, quivering, transparent body of penetrable air, in which you trace or imagine short falling spots of deceiving light, and dim shades, faint veiled vestiges of dark vapour.”

Painting: Thomas Hill (1829-1908), View of Yosemite Valley, 1871. Thanks, Armand.
Wikipedia on John Ruskin and Modern Painters


Nick said...

In his fxpodcast segment


Dan Curry also talks plein air, about rendering the atmosphere, not the surfaces.

It's a long interview, but I really like that bit in the middle.

Rich said...

One more reason to look at the sky:

Awe inspired.

My Pen Name said...

great observation Mr. Ruskin but easier said than done! :)

OT, a new film about Pieter Brueger:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! Honestly, the sky is necessarily blue. The sun and other weather can have big effects on what we see - probably why sunsets and sunrises look red and/or orange to us.

Deborah said...

It presumes one HAS some definite atmosphere. We here in New Mexico have to strain to see it most days. I can literally see the individual trees on the top of the mountain that's 23 miles away. How do you approach painting the clear, thin desert air?

James Gurney said...

Deborah, you raise a good point. I find clear air nice to live in, but less satisfying to paint. Give me smog, smoke, dust, or fog any day.

Nick and My Pen, thanks for the links.