August 21, 2006 Bonus Blog
I guess I'm not the only one with his head in the clouds:
Flat-Bottomed Clouds Make the Rocky World Go 'Round
"Speaking of clouds, when I was driving to Tucson the other day, it dawned on me that the clouds seem to change in shape abruptly when one crosses the Colorado River. California has typical puffy clouds—not quite uninteresting, but much less astounding, than Arizona's. Upon entering Arizona, you immediately notice you are covered by what I call, Arizona flat-bottoms. They kind of remind me of the space ships from the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds, just sitting there, hovering in the sky. I can identify any movie shot in Arizona by the clouds (and the saguaros, of course). Arizona flat-bottoms look like someone took a giant knife and sliced off the bottoms at exactly the same spot on every cloud. I'm sure you know what I'm referring to."
"The cinematic march to Akaba aside, to see a burlesque shimmy of desert air, I concur with you. High noon in August at Red Lake. It's enough to blister a man's gouache."
Here are the two cloud scenes I worked on today. And yes, the flat-bottoms are quite distinct in the one (and yes, they resemble those space ships in War of the Worlds), and the anvil thunderhead is quite typical in the other. The main false note in the thunderhead is the highlights on the right side of the cloud (away from the light). This makes it look cutout and flat. Won't do that again.
"There is something ghostly in all great art."
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