Landscape Painting 5: Clouds and Houses

I love to paint clouds. Like John Constable, I’ve done pages and pages of cloud study. The Chinese painters specialize in one subject: horses, or lotus flowers, or trees. The idea is to paint dozens, thousands of them, until you get to the essence of tree or lotus. Then you no longer need to look at trees, you just paint them.  I don’t think I’ll live long enough to get that good. But this painting is going to be a stab at the essence of Dordogne landscape. Cliffy! This is not exaggerated. There are plenty of places just like this, vertical from the water’s edge and yet heavily settled. It was a good defensive position, hard for the Vikings to loot, and also allowed you to charge tolls on river traffic passing by.  Above you can see the masses of the houses. A few rounds of shadow, dimension, and roofs, and they actually begin to look as they ought.

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