Second only to which view to paint, weather is the predominant topic we hear when plein air artists gather. Will a few clouds add interest to the sky, or will a total overcast make the light flat? Does the radio forecast for rain indicate a short, light drizzle, or will it pour enough to create a lake on the palette and wash paint right off the canvas?
My hubby recently introduced me to WeatherSpark, a new site that claims to offer Beautiful Weather Graphs and Maps. While an artist may squabble a bit with their definition of beautiful, I will admit that it is one of the easiest-on-the-eyes weather sites I’ve come across. Click on Dashboard to open a very flexible view that gives a great visual presentation of the next few days. The best part is to turn on Clouds in the Graphs drop-down menu to show the cloud cover prediction for each 3-hour period. How cool is that? Now I know that tomorrow morning will be a better time to paint with only 19% cloud coverage, expecting it to bump up to 40% in the afternoon, and anticipating 100% cloudiness and a half-inch of rain on Wednesday morning.
Although it is typical for the desert to be cool in the mornings and warm up most afternoons, like many other parts of the world, Tucson seems to have experienced a little more mixed up the weather this year. Everyone talks about how much colder and wetter it is, and you can see that each week has had a spell of cold, rainy weather by scrolling backwards into the Beautiful Weather Graph historical view.
The fun part is hearing people comment. Following each rainy moment, a local resident is sure to proclaim with certainty that, “This was the last rain Tucson will see until the monsoons come in the summer. We’ll have sunny days and beautiful weather from now on.”
Of course, the picture on the Beautiful Weather Graph shows something just a bit different.