I’ve been fascinated by skies for as long as I can remember. In fourth grade, I created a cloud identification chart for my science fair project, pulling apart cotton balls and gluing them down in different configurations on a cobalt blue poster board: Cirrus, Cumulus, Stratus, Nimbus.
I fell in love with John Constable’s sky studies at the Yale Center for British Art as a high school student growing up in New Haven, Connecticut. These tiny oil sketches capture both the movement and magic of weather and the raw fluidity of paint itself. I recently learned that Constable called his obsessive drawing and painting of weather skying.
During this time of forced isolation and the ongoing stress of Covid, I’m struck by the meditative power of nature–and specifically skies–to offer a way to lose myself in the beauty and drama of an ever-changing world. Skies are both ordinary and miraculous, an escape and a grounding.
I sought out expansive, serene landscapes to explore and interpret: Willapa Bay, Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, Blakely Harbor, Union Bay Preserve. My husband and I strapped our tandem kayak onto the roof of our car and took short, outdoor adventures to open the possibilities in a world that had shut down.
I also returned to Taos, New Mexico last fall after being away for more than 25 years and found renewed inspiration in the extraordinary landscape of the region. Skying in Northern New Mexico is startling–impossible to capture the vast scale and dynamism of the sky, but thrilling to try.
Making monotypes allows me to engage in an unpredictable and deeply satisfying creative process. I have specific intentions when I work but I also respond to what emerges on the plate and intuitively follow the image as it unfolds.
Watch Wendy Orville: Inside the Artist’s Studio.
Watch a short Instagram reel of my process.
See the article and podcast with Wendy on Hello, Print Friend.