Wordsworth’s Lonely Cloud

Beginning a Large Cloud Portrait

Beginning a Large Cloud Portrait

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
Marcel Proust wrote of the primal remembrances we experience by surprise when certain sensations confront us in our adult life. That experience happened to me repeatedly while residing on an island in the Texas Laguna Madre a few weeks back. I wrote earlier today that I was cycling back to earlier remembrances in my art endeavors. As a child, I would lie in the grass and gaze up at the billowing clouds suspended overhead, often looking for recognizable shapes. In my adult years, I still admire cloud formations, but usually while on extended road trips. When painting en plein air, I have tended to give the clouds a cursory treatment, focusing instead on my main subject of architecture or other such grounded subjects. But recently at the Laguna Madre, when looking out over water, horizon and sky, I began trying for the first time to paint what I call “cloud portraits.”
The studio version I am beginning today of the island is my largest to date: a 20 x 24″ composition on stretched 140-lb. cold press D’Arches paper. The work is requiring a great deal of time and planning, but I’m enjoying the challenge. The Wordsworth poem is fitting for this watercolor composition and how I feel this day, with the Laguna Madre flashing on my inward eye. In the painting, however, fire wheels will replace the daffodils.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.
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