Clouds over the Arboretum - May 2008, oil on canvas, 4 x 6 inches
Frank Wetzel taught me how to paint skies. At first, he had me make copies. "John Constable was a master of skies," he told me. So I copied Constable's skies for awhile and learned a lot about how incredibly nuanced and unpredictable skies can be. When I'd copied enough, I was sent outside with canvas marked out in a grid of little rectangles. I was to set out my colors and mix them according to what I saw above. Each rectangle was then to be quickly filled with a 5 to 10 minute glimpse of sky. This wasn't fun, at first, and much harder than it sounds. But I stuck with it. Four years after Frank's lessons, I've learned to really enjoy painting skies.