Tag Archives: clouds

Monsoon: Prayers for Rain

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Until you’ve known the pressure of summer one you can’t love the release of summer two.

Oh, god, I’m so pleased with this comic, especially the first and last panels, but also the sense of motion in the second panel. The guy in the third panel could look more oppressed by the heat, but anyway I drew this without any help from Photoshop or the digital tablet. Just pencil, paper, and a ruler (OK and some reference photos) (OK I fixed a few lines in Photoshop after I scanned it because I’d already lost my eraser). Somehow, just sitting down and committing to doing it is the hardest part, yet, it didn’t take me any longer than it would have had I used the computer, and I’m still happier than I’ve been with the more polished stuff you get with more advanced tools. The drawing part start to finish took about an hour. I never know how long it takes me to write things. My lettering probably needs work.

It’s monsoon in Tucson, and it rained intermittently all day, which is lovely and refreshing and also kind of heavy and bittersweet. The Girl, who is now a full-fledged teenager, said she had been wishing for a full day of rain. Can you even wholly appreciate the beauty of a rainy day until you’ve been a teenage girl?

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Portentous Sky

I swear, storms are just bigger here.

I swear, storms are just bigger here.

Further thoughts on Photoshop: I wear polarized lenses pretty much any time I’m outside during the day, and sometimes inside or at night. I’m rather attached to my prescription sunglasses for a variety of reasons. Of course, polarized lenses change the way the world looks: everything is crisper. Colors are more intense, details are more defined, outlines are sharper, and shading offers more definite contrast. Basically, the world looks better. In general.

Of course, if you’re wearing polarized lenses and you use them to look through another polarized piece of glass, you get another effect. Sharper, still, in a sense, but overwhelmed with colors that simply aren’t there if you remove one of the pieces of glasses. It’s not the face of reality, and yet it’s what you see, if, for example, you wear polarized sunglasses in a car.

We went to see our friends in Bisbee over the holiday weekend, which coincided with the actual start of the monsoon–that is, the first big storm. The clouds were still hanging heavily in the sky, and distant showers dotted the horizon, as we headed back to Tucson.

Even the best pictures often fail to capture the majesty of something like this: the sun streaming down through breaks in the clouds, illuminating the lines of rain sweeping diagonally across the desert. I start with a nice image, and tinker with it, trying to light up the most stunning parts so that the flat image matches the glory of memory. I haven’t quite hit it yet.

When I was little I liked to imagine that the beams of light piercing the clouds had something to do with the proximity of heaven to the earth, even though I knew it was just sunlight. There’s something special about the big sky, about towering cumulonimbi, about light that takes on, for a short time, in an illusory capacity, the quality of a solid object. When you block out part of it, maybe, you can see a greater part of the reality of that which remains.

I fully intended to publish a comic, or at least a drawing tonight, but The Man sometimes gets really excited about particular movies or shows. Right now it’s the Netflix original series Sens8, which is pretty good, but I don’t know if it’s worth him staying up 90 minutes past his bedtime every night. I didn’t even get to work until almost midnight tonight. At least we’ve only got maybe 2 more nights’ worth of this season, so hopefully both of us will be better equipped to work by the end of the week.

The Breezeway Part 4

Spring 2014, Here again I had the idea for the design first and then found an appropriate quote later

Spring 2014, Here again I had the idea for the design first and then found an appropriate quote later

It’s important to photograph these images as soon as they’re posted. The colors do fade very quickly, and every once in a while, the kids deface things. This one not only got sun-bleached in a week or two, but also got scribbled on by someone who clearly was too young to hold a magic marker. It’s still very beautiful to me. These letters were all cut out freehand.

Spring 2012, the teachers really seem to like the poetry boards

Spring 2012, the teachers really seem to like the poetry boards

More freehand letters, plus I cut every one of those leaves out by hand. Sort of wish I had planned the layout a little better, but it’s still fairly striking.

And here is my last bulletin board of the 2013-2014 school year. Anyone who lives in southern Arizona has seen the sky like this: during the monsoon, if it rains in the afternoon, sometimes it clearly slightly afterward. The clouds are all lined up like this, with sun tumbling through the breaks and spilling down over the mountains, which glow gold, red, and purple, depending on the time of day.

Summer 2014, the monsoon sky

Summer 2014, the monsoon sky

This sampling of a dozen images represents most of my favorite, and maybe about half of the designs I’ve done since 2009, when I first started. Looking back, it’s not an insubstantial body of work!