Monday, June 29, 2009


It's monsoon season again. I'm not sure if it's my imagination, but it seems like it's earlier than usual.

Monsoon season is what we in the Southwest get during the summer. Moist tropical air from the gulf of Mexico works its way north into Arizona, which often results in summer thunderstorms and rain. Further west in the California deserts, however, we don't get the rain as often. We mostly just get the humidity -- lots of it!

So we don't always get the dry heat that deserts are famous for. In fact, it feels very tropical and muggy around here. The skies remind me of the heavy, moisture-laden landscapes of the Old Master Dutch paintings, and in fact are the types of skies I typically paint.

I like the way these skies look, I just don't like the way it feels!

Unfortunately, we don't have air-conditioning. We have an evaporative cooler. Most of the time it's more than adequate, but when it's humid, it barely cools at all.

So we're in a good news/bad news situation. The good news: I have lots of reference material for painting skies. The bad news: the weather is miserable, and so is this artist right now!

The photos above look across the valley in which we live. In place of those deep-blue cloudless skies, we have atmospheric hazes that separate the overlapping mountains, along with the cloud shadows and spots of light that dramatize the land. And clouds. Lots of 'em!

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