So simple a request. Please paint a series of moon phases. Easy subject.
But not so fast!
There certainly was more to this project than meets the eye! Not withstanding the huge amount of difficulty just getting the wood panel supports during the pandemic! (Don’t get me started on the 50% increase in price for the materials after waiting six months just for them to be available!) Finally, after “many moons” had passed, I had what I needed to get started. Bless my customers for their unwavering patience and support!
Yet, logistics aside, the subject had to be addressed. This seemingly straightforward subject – something we have all seen and taken for granted in the night sky – is decidedly complex.
There is an immense amount of topological detail (that man in the moon created by the shadows of craters and dunes.) But to represent the painting too literally would have deprived it of its mysterious wonder!
And so, the challenge of the work became how to represent the depth and detail while allowing its mystery and allure.
From sketches to charcoal to an acrylic under painting – each step was a new detailed study of the subject. Three attempts later, I finally had something.
Here’s a question – “What color is the moon?”
What ever your answer – my retort will be the same: “Really? Think again!”
The final series was achieved via multiple layers of cold wax and oils (Winsor & Newton Winton Newton Oil Colours, R&F Oil Pigment Sticks, Gamblin Cold Wax Medium), over a lamination of vine charcoal on rice paper which conveys the topology of the landscape. The under-painted “study” of the subject in acrylic was useful in tamping down stray light, and provided for a more luminous subject area. And, of course, I couldn’t resist – I had to burnish some gold leaf on the final layers! The spirit of whimsy got to me! After all, it was never merely about the moon as the painting’s subject. It was about the wonder and emotions seeing the moon in the night sky!
Admittedly more sparkly in person – Mia Bella Luna series of paintings is now in its forever home! Such a joy to explore!