Painter David Holland never truly appreciated the beauty of a thunderstorm until he was driving in the middle of one back in the mid-90s.
Holland, an Oklahoma City-based artist, was heading south on I-35 from a Ponca City arts festival. As the Technicolor hues of the sky grew darker and more ominous at highway speeds, he noticed the rapid development of a thunderstorm blocking the suns rays with inflating clouds.
This impending downpour was not intimidating to Holland but rather fascinating? fascinating enough to chase and depict these types of storms first by camera and then by paintbrush for the next two decades.
[Storms] kind of have a bad rap because they can be so destructive, so Im kind of wanting to promote the positive aspect of them, Holland said. They are kind of a life-giver of Earth.
Holland categorizes Earth as a Goldilocks planet because of its advantageous position in relation to the sun.
Were not too close and were not too far, so we have liquid water, so thats what really made it possible for life to be established on Earth, Holland said. And clouds are the physical, visual representation of that fact that we have viable water on the planet.
Holland uses oil paintings to promote the intricacies of a storms development, particularly visible in the everchanging cloud formations.
What Im after is a real three dimensional look, so that you can see the entire storm from the top to the bottom and then see the dynamics of how its working and how its forming and developing, he said.
In order to capture that process, Holland takes up to a hundred photographs of a developing storm out in the field for a variety of looks the storm achieves throughout its cycle.
As he explained it, Hollands perfect storm is a combination of light from the setting sun and darkness as the clouds roll in, casting shadows, because the gradation of colors is optimal.
He experienced this ideal scenario last March after keeping an eye on the weather from his studio window, which yielded a 24-by-48-inch oil painting of the downtown skyline called The Towers.
In the winter season, Holland is not out storm-chasing like he often is during the spring and summer months. But three of his most recent oil paintings including The Towers are currently exhibited at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.
Hollands work joins that of 32 other artists in the Arts Centers annual fundraising show, ArtNow: Shine, curated by John Seward.
Like Hollands work, much of the exhibit includes art influenced by nature.
Hollands cloud paintings fit the spirit of Shine ... a recently completed work shows a reflection of sunshine on the Devon building at the same time a storm is building to the east, Seward said in a press release.
ArtNow showcases various media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber, wood, mixed media, photography and sculpture.
The exhibit is held in the Eleanor Kirkpatrick Gallery, which is free and open to the public.