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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Phil the Forecaster, Tom Thomson, And Clouds

I've been almost obsessed with photographing clouds for a few years now. Ever-changing right before your eyes, they are fascinating.

Image borrowed from here.

Aaron was invited to a presentation at the local St Lawrence College on the weekend and knew that the subject matter would certainly interest me too so we went together to hear Phil Chadwick, retired meteorologist from Environment Canada, share his presentation, "Tom Thomson was a Meteorologist." In addition to his many years as a weather forecaster, his other passion is plein air painting.

Image from here.

His presentation was fascinating as he took you through some weather and cloud basics and over-laid that information onto Tom Thompson's paintings. Basically, Tom painted what he saw. Mr. Chadwick was able to tell you what the weather was that day, where Tom would have been standing, what the clouds/sky in the paintings tell us about what was going on at that moment. It was truly interesting and gave you something else to think about when viewing any paintings of the outdoors. For instance, often in Cornelius Kreighoff's paintings the sky/clouds were a mere backdrop to the action in the foreground and not accurately represented. Only a weatherman could notice such a thing! Although, I do wonder about his work, The Trappers Return, if there really was such a sunset that day.

"Phil the Forecaster" was a delightful and passionate font of information about our weather systems, clouds, art and so much more.

I wonder what he would have to say about another great Canadian artist's clouds: William Kurelek.
Image from a note card I own.

Well, do keep your eyes skyward. You just never know what you are going to see.

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