Looking Up

Posted by on Sep 1, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

We have sun in Seattle today. Not a cloud in the sky. This is the kind of day that makes Seattleites smile at each other in a goofy, I-love-you-man sort of way.

So I pick this day to write about clouds, and not looking at things very carefully.

Last year when I was illustrating Dinosaur Thunder (this is my last post about this book, I promise! maybe) – along with stalking dinosaurs and going bowling – I was also researching clouds. I’d never really looked at clouds that carefully before (yes, Joni, I hear you), because clouds are something we usually try to ignore in this town. What I found was that clouds are amazingly diverse, colorful, and full of personality, just as Marion Dane Bauer‘s text describes.

Everywhere I went during the months that I was working on the book I kept looking up to check on the latest cumulonimbular developments and whipping out my camera whenever the clouds were particularly interesting or useful reference. Like this view looking out over South Seattle.

Does that not look like a lion roaring to you? Well, it did to me.

Here are a few more photos from my cloud collection.

I would say to my husband, “the clouds this year are bigger and fluffier and more thundery-looking than before!” and he kept assuring me “no, they’re always like this, you’ve just never noticed.”

Well, today being the exception and with allowances made for global climate change, I think he may have been right. Now that I’ve had another year to look, I concede that we really do have impressive cloud formations here too.

I also discovered in my researching that there are many avid cloud observers out there, some of whom go out of their way to record cloud activity, setting up time-lapse cameras to run for hours over one vista. Some of these videos are inspiring to watch. Here’s one of my favorites:

Those colorful roiling puffs influenced illustrations like this one.

Hurricanes and tornadoes and derechoes aside; seeing the force thunder clouds can wield it is understandable why they are so scary, and not just for children. But that only underscores their allure. Sometimes bunny rabbits, sometimes monsters. Always in motion, always changing. Now I pay more attention and look up more often.

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