C. Carey Cloud

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Hoosier Artists - C. Carey Cloud
        by Maureen Northcutt
        Indianapolis Sunday Star
        August 13, 1967

When a successful toy designer gives up a lucrative business to concentrate on fine arts, a precarious profession moneywise, that is news.

This is exactly what C. Carey Cloud did a few years ago. His style of painting which he calls "realism in depth" became an instant hit with fine art collectors.

Millions of his toys had been distributed throughout America for years, with nearly every large chain store selling his creations in the 1940s.

For more than a quarter of a century he had designed the toys in Crackerjack boxes. Cloud estimates that if children played only six minutes with each of his Crackerjack toys, he furnished about 4 million play hours a year to children.

Then in 1948 he moved from the mad rush of Michigan Avenue, Chicago, where he held sway in toy designing for more than 20 years, to the hills of Brown County. There, in his storybook log cabin studio one mile from Nashville, he began painting his realistic works.

The home where he and Mrs. Cloud now live, is a large two-story, remodeled farmhouse about 200 feet from his studio. Cloud smilingly says, "There are no stop-and-go lights to delay me from going and coming around here."

The transition was not difficult for Cloud since country life was not new to him; he was born on a farm south of Warren, (Ind.) and lived in this area until he was 17 years old.

Could sees the Brown County scene through different eyes than do most painters of the area who concentrate on landscapes. He is interested in more intimate subjects, such as the minute detail of weather-sculptured old wood and the contrast of light and shadow playing on old buildings.

Since he insists that everything in his painting be authentic, he carries materials such as rocks, stones, leaves and half-rotten old boards from sketching locations to his studio. To paint a subject realistically he believes one must become thoroughly versed in all its features.

Cloud was proud when once a building contractor, upon viewing one of his paintings showing the rough siding on an old house, identified the wood as poplar, rough sawed. The builder was right. Humorously, Cloud remarked that the man had failed to identify the size of the teeth in the buzz saw that made the marks.

Approaching his subjects in a personal way, Cloud paints Americana with an air of peace and calmness rare in these harried times. He has the ability to raise the humble scenes to heights of grandeur.

Cloud is identified with no school of painting since he is self-taught. He pays little attention to fads and "isms" in art or the popular forms and concepts. Preferring to be a loner, he belongs to only one art association, the Brown County Art Gallery Association, which he has served as a three-time president. He paints entirely as he pleases and had found the public receptive to his style.

There is no secret in the method of this artist's painting. He uses a small brush and paints with tempera on panels which have been coated with gesso and dried. He uses bright color sparingly relying on the contrast of light and dark to create his moods.

When the detail of a work is completed, he brushed it with a light varnish and then rubs a transparent oil paint for glazing wherever more tone is needed. After several days, he applies permanent coat of varnish. The layers of colors coming though the glazes and varnish give the details a mysterious, sometimes veiled dimension.

One of the delightful features about Cloud's "realism in depth" paintings is that his work is easy to understand. Despite this fact, he puts a printed commentary beside each picture at his exhibitions telling why he selected the subject and how he feels about it. At present his paintings are being exhibited in the Indiana University Memorial Union lounge through Tuesday.

As a man who went from playthings to paintings, C. Carey Cloud has made a successful change in careers and has given Indiana another flourishing artist.
Hoosier Artists - C. Carey Cloud
Hoosier Artists - C. Carey Cloud

C. Carey Cloud