Abstract art is generally defined as art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality. Instead, abstract art explores colors and form to create images that have the ability to evoke intense emotion. Alternatively, hyperrealism seeks to reflect realistic scenes from daily life.

An artist based in Denver has managed to combine both realism and the abstract on a single canvas, and weather figures heavily into his work. That”s because Ian Fisher”s subject is clouds.

“I can paint something that looks like something but at the same time delve into abstraction in such a way where the content of the paintings with the clouds really allowed me to do that,” Fisher told AccuWeather. “I was a fairly representational painter, painting things to look like other things. But I loved abstraction, I just didn't quite trust my own mark when it came to abstraction, so painting the sky kind of allowed me to keep a foot in both camps.”

Fisher says his eyes were always drawn to the skies of his landscape paintings. Eventually, he experienced his liberating epiphany.

“When you”re looking at the painting, the sky was the most interesting part of it... And I just made that kind of conscious decision to eliminate everything but it.”

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 10.45.59 AM.png
Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 10.45.59 AM.png

The mesmerizing results are incredibly precise, yet mystical, oil paintings of rolling clouds of all shapes, sizes and colors. Fisher expertly recreates the ephemeral nature of clouds in his realistic depictions that simultaneously feel very abstract. “I can paint something that looks like something but, at the same time, delve into abstraction in such a way where the content of the paintings with the clouds really allowed me to do that.”

Although Fisher says he doesn't pay much attention to the science of clouds and weather, a perusal of his work brings up cumulus, cumulonimbus and nimbostratus clouds among many, many others. In fact, painting clouds has inspired him into become a storm chaser of sorts.

“After doing this for so long, I do start to notice patterns and times and things and start predicting my own time to go out on a rooftop and photograph what's going to be out there, what's gonna happen. Though, I”m surprised more often than not because they”re totally fleeting, they”ll change from second to second.”

Artist Ian Fisher
Artist Ian Fisher

Fisher captures fleeting cloud formations eternally on canvas. Fisher says he has so enjoyed painting clouds that he may foray into painting other weather phenomena.

“I”m not sure if I would tackle or go into things like a tornado or something like that, but I really am interested in lightning. I think that lightning -- and specifically capturing lightning -- is really interesting because it's such a moment, just a split second where you have this thing that affects a scene and a composition so quickly and directly. I find lightning very difficult to paint, which interests me as well and I just like that idea of kind of capturing light and light within time and lighting is that perfect light switch for that.”


Another rare subject that offers the ability to realistically portray something with the resulting painting feeling very free-flowing and mystical.

“I continue to believe there is still territory here to be mined, I just kind of keep working on it. I've got plans for the next 10 paintings that I want to make and you know that keeps driving me.”

See more of Fisher's artwork at his website here.  

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