Why clouds anyway?

Saturated Reverie, the last cloud linocut for 2016, reexamines those puffy, cartoon “Simpson’s clouds” of a previous decade. These clouds represent the fluffy cotton balls we used in preschool to portray fair weather formations. In my clouds, only some of the formation is actually white or very light blue. The rest belies what is inside…

© Elizabeth Busey. Saturated Reverie. Reduction Linocut on Rives BFK, 10 x 33in (image size), ed of 14, $375.

The real cumulus

These cumulus clouds are usually signs of fair weather. Their towering, flat-bottomed presence reminds me of ships, sailing in the teal blue of sunny skies. They are filled with ice crystals, water droplets, or both, and are low-lying, occurring at about 2,000 meters (3,300 feet.) The height of cumulus cloud is determined by the thermal conditions that created it.  While they can be described as puffy, I always see these clouds as deceptively weighty.

A change in the weather

Cumulus clouds are not the cause of inclement weather by themselves. Changes in the air temperature conditions alter the behavior of the water contents of the cloud. As these now cumulonimbus clouds grow taller and taller, water is ready to be released. The resulting thunderstorms, heavy rains and tornados completely belie the previous happy cumulus clouds.

Clouds as an emotional mirror

It is the changeability and ephemeral nature that I appreciate so much in clouds. When I gaze at them, I don’t see animals or faces, but rather emotions and ambiguity. Thunderstorms like those in Breath of Hermes or Summertide Brings the Derecho encompass anger, but also energy and the promise of change. The clouds in Emancipation of the Sun slowly dissipate, leaving me feeling bittersweet. In Saturated Reverie, a sunny afternoon exists only until there is a change in temperature. Bliss itself is transitory and needs to be appreciated moment by moment.

Who knew clouds could be such an rich subject for exploration?

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