What you see in the clouds...

Nature is an endless source of inspiration for me. I love how the Arizona sky often shines with extraordinary oranges and pinks during sunsets. I find I'm looking up at the sky often. I recently drove past a cloud that looked just like one of Super Mario's invincible stars! Naturally, I had to capture it on camera because I didn't think anyone would believe me. I was driving with my son in the car, so I asked him to take a photo for me. 


Star shaped cloud in the sky.


My love for Nintendo games goes back years. I loved playing through every version of Mario Kart. The cartoony racing game was always a blast to play. I enjoyed unlocking all the secrets of the game - course, characters, customizations, etc. There was one course that I ALWAYS struggled with. Rainbow Road. This course was notorious for being challenging. It was filled with super narrow stretches of road up in space with no walls. It felt like I'd fall off every 3 seconds! Just when I'd get comfortable on a stretch there'd be a hole in the ground, or a hidden speed boost that would send me flying off. 

Rainbow Road shown on stretched canvas.


I wanted to use this photo as inspiration for a digital painting. Since I was driving, I liked the idea of keeping the road in the composition. I colored the road as a rainbow gradient and even added a road sign. I considered making the cloud appear yellow and adding some eyes to it. (Like the typical Super Mario invincible star.) When I tried it, I decided it felt like too much. I removed it and kept the star cloud in shades of white. This makes the piece a little less obvious. Not many people notice the star, or the road sign. Non-gamers may miss the rainbow road reference altogether, and that's okay. 

While our Arizona roadways aren't going to send you off into space, it was still fun to see a uniquely shaped cloud like this one. It was fun to pretend for just a minute that I was actually driving on a Mario Kart course. I wonder what tomorrow's clouds will bring…