Did Edvard Munch paint nacreous clouds? The hypothesis was put forward by Norwegian scientists at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna this spring (2017.) The long-held assumption is that the vividly colored sky in TheScream (1893) is a reflection of the artist’s troubled mind. A facile analysis and attractive mostly for the reason that we like to attribute romantic madness to our artists. More careful research is showing that some paintings that have been thought to contain fanciful imagery are really representing unusual meteorological phenomena, such as the lurid sunsets that happened after the volcano Krakatoa (1883) put huge quantities of aerosols into the atmosphere.
Munch himself said in his diary about the incident that inspired The Scream:
I went along the road with two friends – the sun set
I felt like a breath of sadness –
– The sky suddenly became bloodish red
I stopped, leant against the fence, tired to death – watched over the
Flaming clouds as blood and sword
The city – the blue-black fjord and the city
– My friends went away – I stood there shivering from dread – and
I felt this big, infinite scream through nature
Photo credit – Deven Stross
Check out the links and get the rest of the story. Go have a look at the Green Comet Cloud of the Day post on nacreous clouds and see if they look anything like the sky in Munch’s The Scream. This could be speculation, somewhat like my suggestion that Vincent van Gogh might have been inspired by asperatus clouds to paint some of his skies. It is also quite possible that this hypothesis is accurate and that Edvard Munch really did see nacreaous clouds. Personally, I prefer it to the analyses of pop pshycologists.
I previously posted a synopsis of the evolution of a sculpture that Treedragon shared with us on one of the forums I inhabit. Since then he has returned with a suggestion and a query. He was thinking of letting us follow the procedure on his own website and would we be interested?
During and after that sculptural process i shared with you all there were aspects of it i found to be rather useful so now i am looking to do something similar as a particular demonstration page on my website.
What i want to know is if there is enough interest to warrant my providing a link to the page as progress gets photographed and documented.
Well, of course we would, and we told him so, and Treedragon was committed to another very public experiment. But first he had a story for us.
Just thought i would share a little something related to that last sculpture i did with you all “Family” or rather an aspect of it. It sort of shows how this universe works for us if we are attentive to detail…… blah blah ;D
Anyway yesterday a couple of women came by to walk the bush walks and view the sculptures etc and so forth and early on in the piece one of them came up to me in the Hammer Dome where i do my sculpting, i noted she had a somewhat determined glint to her eye and the conversation started off somewhat like this…… “How much is that sculpture with the wave in it?” “Sorry it’s not for sale.” (she was referring to an earlier sculpture with a wave form as a main feature), and then she noticed the sculpture finished the other week, you know the one. “I really like that one, how much?” “Sorry that’s not for sale either”.
i explained how sculptures tend to vanish from public view when sold whereas here in a sort of public(ish) place many get to view them and i get to see them and their changes throughout the day etc etc. She still had a glint in her eye especially when i said “anyway i feel a sculpture should be created for the person concerned so it belongs to them……”.
She paused for a moment or two…… “If you sculpt me one how much?” “ummm…..” “Look we are just going to walk around the sculpture walk and when we get back you can tell me how much……” and off they went.
Well i didn’t have a price, how long is a piece of string? but we came to an arrangement, the one where buyers do not have to buy whatever i sculpt unless it feels right and then and only then, pay me some coin. Now the other aspect of this is that i had been contemplating where to get some more coinage to visit the quarry and unbeknown to me she left some money with Heather so i could go to the quarry to get “her piece of stone”…… hmmmm maybe i seemed a bit intractable ;D ;D
Nice, eh? So, that settled, he gave us the link to follow his progress. Unlike us, who got updates over the following weeks, you can see it all at once.
On one of the forums I frequent, a member by the user name Treedragon started a thread wherein he let us follow his progress as he completed a sculpture. His style can be defined as abstract, or we can forego defining it at all. These are just the shapes that remain after Treedragon has removed all the unnecessary stone. He has explained that he doesn’t begin a project with a set plan for the piece. He’ll sketch in some initial cuts and then let the stone tell him where to go from there. He also doesn’t try to interpret what the piece means when it’s done. He explains that that is the purview of the people looking at it. Us, in other words. Here is some of what he had to say during the project:
The purpose of this post is to share just a little of what I do when not haunting the forum these many years, and thus maybe offering something of interest while using the occasion/s as a form of motivation, (for myself), setting myself up to follow through……. If you are reading this then at least I have started ;D
When time allows I sculpt stone, there has been a slab sitting on the work bench waiting………..
I had been asked – “How do you go about creating a sculpture, is it planned or do you just create something?” My reply was as follows – “Well many times I just draw a line on the stone and then just ponder where to take it…… and then………. uummm….. just remove the bits of stone that obviously should not be there and basically just smooth up what is left…….”
Here is the series of images Treedragon shared. Comments by Treedragon.
Header image above
The stone slab you see is basically an offcut from a quarry that mines a building stone called Hinuera Stone, with Hinuera being a place to the south west of Hamilton, North Island, NZ. The stone is a form of compressed volcanic ash, of average hardness and quite uninspiring to look at and work with it being way too high in silica for my liking as it blunts my hand tools quickly.
So the line is starting to developing a bit as a few, very few, ideas occur to me, top right is morphing into a Koru form (unfurling tree fern frond), this I use this as a symbol of potential and future growth into what may be. The swing down to the left and up into a wave form, sea of life maybe, and somewhere in there I feel a hint of music possibly but that might be later detail.
So with a general form now outlined it still seems too soon to grasp for more detail over and above the fact I haven’t thought of any yet. The next stage is to chisel out the drawn lines so they don’t get wiped from memory, (I have done that often enough on the computer as it is), and then start removing some stone that obviously shouldn’t be there, define some depth. This is where it gets messy and plans can change, I tend to wonder throughout this next stage if anything worthwhile will emerge from the stone.
Having now decided to actually remove some stone instead of talk about it I am at the point where I find out if I have set myself up for a hard slog with an awkward piece of stone or a more mellow block that will not go on forever. This is also the point when visions get blurred in a mess of stone chips and dust and it seems to lose any resemblance to something that might be a sculpture….. sigh
Today’s pic is a composite image from two different angles in an attempt to give a sense of depth such as it is, with the deepest bit only being just over an inch (2.5cm) so far. That’s a couple of hours work.
Well I appear to have had my “awww gawwwd……… why did I start this!” moment, after which i left it on the work bench waiting…….
As promised i have a picture for you. In this case it is the low morning light that is best at showing the broadest range of light and shadow within the various aspects of the form. First thing i saw was the amount of adjusting of various curves/lines that will be needed as i work the piece into something a bit more coherent if somewhat unusual, but it’s early days yet.
Yesterday’s work was a day of “cleaning up” the sculpture … Now the thing about the cleanup times is the empty head space that often results as the eye looks and the hands trim the stone, it’s a quiet space amid the tap of hammer and skid of chisel over and through the stone. Also it’s a time when ideas seem to randomly float into view.
A few minutes ago i was burying a dead possum (ie; turn into fertilizer to flow into the fruit trees….. ahem 🙂 ) and my thoughts turned to the sculpture with a noticing that at it’s simplest it’s a swooping form that contains stuff, but there is an opening, an entry of exit, thus the contents require a flow from/or to containment……… or something.
Well with the exception of a bit more cleaning up here and there and a protective coating of some sort, and assuming i can leave well enough alone……… then i can, to all intents and purposes, call it finished.
The sculpture is now out in the garden with some of the others and i managed to get a photo with a few of them in the frame.
Many thanks to all that followed this process and for your comments.
So suspecting i might be on a roll with getting some sculpting done i have put another slab on the bench, twice the size and i am currently resting my back……….. sigh
All photos credit Treedragon. http://www.labyrinthsculptures.co.nz/
Here is Treedragon’s response to one of my comments:
arjaybe: I’m not very good at discerning the meaning of things, but I get a strong sense of water from your sculpture. I’d like to know what that woven-looking thing is.
I’ve enjoyed seeing this done and I hope you’ll think about doing it again.
Treedragon: Hi arjaybe
i am quite sure you are very good at the “meaning of things” arjaybe and you are quite right about the water aspect, at least from my perspective. The sculpture as an item does not come with a specific meaning as such, however i do use certain forms with monotonous regularity as representations of certain things and this sculpture features water in many aspects from the specific (the wave) through to the most undefined such as the water of life at it’s widest meaning/implication and maybe even a touch of the sea of consciousness.
It might be worthwhile to note that i sculpt for purely selfish reasons in that i am trying to trigger something within myself. i have noted how works of art/sculpture/and all sorts of random things can trigger a “feel things” in people……… from my perspective i appear lacking in this department. Obviously recognizable objects can trigger individual personal response even if just just a memory or two so with me being prone to deliberately doing things the hard way in order to have a fuller experience ::) with the sculpture it seemed doing non recognizable forms had the potential for a more unique experience. The jury is out as to the success or not, of that ;D
Life doesn’t come with a specific meaning i’m told (cue Monty Python) but i’m picking one of the aspects available to us is that we give it meaning.
Soooo….. the woven-looking thing is waiting for a meaning as part of the whole i guess so a stab in the dark from me would be……. umm well it is vaguely sun-like in position and small aspects such as overall circular form and with radiant incised lines but with the main body being woven it is seeming a construct by something/someone/s and each thread has a Koru (unrolling fern frond) on each end signifying potential yet to be (defined) by the thread (maybe a person or groups of people)………..
The sculpture is about Family, or so it seemed to me while creating it, so that could mean something along the lines of the collective intentions/creations of a community shinning their creative light over the sea of potential within their own defined universe or area of life…………… but really it is your decision maybe based on how it all feels to you.
Thank you for asking arjaybe as a result i have just seen a bit deeper into my sculpture something that may not have happened for a while.
As for another one i am not so sure this fits in here within the general scheme of things, i do get a bit wordy……..
However i do have a a couple of nice slabs lined up to play with………….. so maybe i do a similar thing on my website and post a hint or two for those interested i am still pondering the whole event but at least it got a sculpture started and finished.
arjaybe: Thanks, Treedragon. My curiosity is in part because this experiment seems similar to my posting my books here as I write them. Like you, I write them mostly for myself (hoping people will enjoy them of course) and let whatever meaning might be there come in the reader’s mind. Also like you, I see things when I read them that I didn’t realize I was putting there.-)
This experiment took courage. Thanks for risking it.