Appalachian Eclipse

June 30th, 2017

Here is “Appalachian Eclipse.”

Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This striking panorama format painting is a feast for the eyes. The colors in the mountains change incrementally from the background to the foreground.

Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

We are above the misty clouds, which settle in gossamer wisps through the valleys.

Hanging in the sky over this spectacular mountain landscape is the solar eclipse in the moment of totality, the sun appearing as a thin white ring behind the edges of the obscuring moon.

Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The painting continues around the edges, making the painting a three-dimensional image. It stands out dramatically from the wall without need for a frame.

Detail: Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The rough contours of the mountains were built up in layers of color using oils thickened with cold wax medium, applied with a palette knife.

Detail: Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The color palette is warm and earthy. From a rose-gold sky, the mountains gradually shift into amber-orange, magenta-red, and in the foreground, violet-black.

Painting on easel in art studio of Cedar Lee. Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Painting on easel in art studio of Cedar Lee. Appalachian Eclipse. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse With Pelicans

March 10th, 2017

Here is “Eclipse With Pelicans.”

The moment of the solar eclipse is witnessed by the pelicans flying through the golden sky, and by the people in the tiny faraway sailboats perched on the water.

Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The dark disk of the moon hangs in the middle of the sky, blocking out the sun except for the razor thin bright white corona peeking out around its edges.

Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The birds are shown in silhouette, each one forming a unique shape in mid-flight. The ones that appear larger are closer to the foreground.

Detail: Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

To the left of the eclipse flies one solitary pelican, separated from the rest, giving an interesting asymmetry to the composition.

Detail: Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The sky is a glowing golden yellow, darkening to a peachy orange-pink further away from the light of the sun’s corona. You can faintly make out the tooth of the canvas fabric under the paint. The pigment forms speckled patterns throughout the sky.

Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse With Pelicans. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This panorama-format painting is 36″ wide, but has the feeling of an even larger painting because of the expansive horizon stretching across it.

 

Sea Cliff Eclipse

February 26th, 2017

This monumental painting is called, “Sea Cliff Eclipse.”

Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eleven silhouetted people stand on top of this impossibly high cliff overlooking the sea, observing the moment of total solar eclipse.

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The eclipse fills the whole sky, which is lit up in rose and gold. The people from their perch in the sky have the exciting good fortune to witness an unobstructed view of this rare astronomical event.

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Although the human figures are tiny, they are powerful with personality. There’s a sense of movement and chatter as they all walk towards the edge of the cliff together.

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The sky and sea are flat washes of color, while the rock formations are so thickly textured they are sculptural.

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The rocks are built up on the canvas with oil and wax, 1/2″ thick in some places.

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The sea is a muted blue gray, calm and flat. The contrast between the textures is dramatic.

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This painting is grand and inspiring! The colors glow.

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

It feels like a unique, magical moment. I would love to be there.

Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Sea Cliff Eclipse. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

All my recent Eclipse paintings will be available in my upcoming Spring Sale May 8-14, and I will have having a solo show with an eclipse theme in Princeton, Kentucky in August/September, to coincide with the big solar eclipse that will be visible from North America on August 21st.

Eclipse at the Top of the World

February 24th, 2017

This series has been carrying me away into fantasy worlds. Here is “Eclipse at the Top of the World.”

Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Like several of my recent Eclipse paintings, this painting shows a lone adventurer at a high vantage point, a mountainous landscape spread out below the spectacle of a total solar eclipse glowing in the sky.

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

But this one is “on top of the world” because of the person’s perch at the tip of this giant rock jutting impossibly high into the sky.

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

You can see some of the thickest-textured paint I’ve yet experimented with in the palette-knife-painted mountains. I applied my mixture of oil paint and cold wax medium more than 1/4″ thick in some places.

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This texture continuing around the deep edges of the canvas gives the piece a three-dimensional impact.

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

I painted this relatively quickly–all in one day. You can sense the looseness of my painting in the rough brush and knife strokes throughout.

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The colors are powerful, saturated–yellow, magenta, deep bronze tones and purple black. The image is high-contrast, from the brilliant white of the sun’s corona around the blood red moon, to the deep black shadows in the foreground. All these things give the painting a certain raw quality, even harshness.

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse at the Top of the World. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This harshness suits the intensity of the moment: I imagine the person is feeling the burning emotions of wonder, loneliness, fear, sadness, love and elation all at once. The person is breathing the thin air at this high elevation, witnessing a rare astronomical event from the perfect vantage point. Oh, to be a little human on this incredible Earth!

Cedar Lee Eclipse paintings in studio. On easel: "Eclipse at the Top of the World"

Cedar Lee Eclipse paintings in studio. On easel: “Eclipse at the Top of the World”

I filmed the creation of this one. Enjoy the cool time-lapse video that gives a glimpse into some of my working process:

 

Eclipse Day Climber

February 17th, 2017

Here is my new oil painting “Eclipse Day Climber.”

Eclipse Day Climber. 30" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

I absolutely love the effect of the textured paint giving the mountains a rocky feel.

Detail: Eclipse Day Climber. 30" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

I created this effect with the use of cold wax medium. When mixed with oil paints, it gives the paint a stiff, whipped texture like frosting. I painted the mountains only with palette knives.

Detail: Eclipse Day Climber. 30" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The textured mountains are contrasted against the flat, smooth sky, which glows golden.

I imagine the person’s trek to this vantage point was filled with challenge and peril, and worth every moment.

Detail: Eclipse Day Climber. 30" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The lone climber is treated to a spectacular view of the solar eclipse during the moment of totality. The sun’s corona is a blinding sliver of white light around the flat circle that is the moon. The mountainous landscape spreads out below in a gradation of color from nearly black in the foreground, to brown, red, orange and finally gold at the horizon.

Detail: Eclipse Day Climber. 30" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This painting is especially beautiful and inspiring because of its scale. At 30″ x 30″, it fills the whole room with its warm glow.

Art Studio of Cedar Lee. On easel: Eclipse Day Climber. 30" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Art Studio of Cedar Lee. On easel: Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Here you can see “Eclipse Day Climber” displayed alongside my earlier painting “Corona.” Both paintings have a similar color scheme, similar rocky landscapes and warm glowing skies. Both feature a lone human figure interacting with a solar eclipse.

Studio020620174 Corona Eclipse Day Climber

Top: Corona. 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee Bottom: Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

But you can see how I’m playing around with point of view, distances and the scale of the human figure in relation to the rest of the scene.

Eclipse Day Climber. 30" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The painting continues around the very deep edges of the canvas, including the contrasting textures of the sky and the mountains.

Eclipse Day Climber. 30" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Day Climber. 30″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The wrap-around effect of the textured paint adds even more boldness to this original painting!

Cedar Lee in studio with Eclipse paintings. Left: "Eclipse Day Climber" Right: "A Dream of Joy and Sorrow"

Cedar Lee in studio with Eclipse paintings. Left: “Eclipse Day Climber” Right: “A Dream of Joy and Sorrow”

 

Eclipse From the Precipice

January 30th, 2017

In contrast to my last painting reminiscent of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this painting, “Eclipse From the Precipice” is more reminiscent of the desert mountains of Arizona. A lone intrepid hiker stands on the very edge of a cliff looking out at the moment of total eclipse looming huge in the glowing sky.

Eclipse From the Precipice. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse From the Precipice. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

You can see the lovely texture of the paint on the mountains, wax-thickened oils applied with palette knives, as opposed to the smooth texture of the sky, painted in thin oil glazes with a large brush.

Detail: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Because of this, looking at this painting is a much richer experience in person.

Detail: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

As opposed to some of my Eclipse paintings that show the craters of the moon, here I’ve painted the moon more as it actually appears during a real eclipse, as a flat black disk obscuring the sun. But I’ve painted the landscape in vibrant warm colors, giving an otherworldly effect to the scene.

Detail: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The intrepid hiker has no gender or age–this degree of anonymity hopefully allowing you as the viewer to identify with the person standing in this spot, beholding the glorious vista spread out before you. Of course, I imagine her to be me.

Detail: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

I recently read the book Into the Wild, the true story of a young man who went alone into the wilderness of Alaska and did not make it out. While I don’t identify with the more extreme elements of this story, (give me the comforts of home!) I did love the descriptions of that feeling of being alone in nature, connecting with the earth and contemplating your own existence…depicting these feelings is central to my work.

Eclipse From the Precipice. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse From the Precipice. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

In indoor lighting, the orange and yellow tones of the painting really glow.

Art studio of Cedar Lee. On easel: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Art studio of Cedar Lee. On easel: Eclipse From the Precipice. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

You can see the richness of the color in these photos taken by lamplight at dusk in the studio last week, made all the more lovely by the cool blue light from the snow on the ground outside the windows.

Cedar Lee paintings in art studio

Cedar Lee paintings in art studio

That snow has now melted and the year is hurtling towards spring! I’ve decided to have another Spring Sale around May. Look out for news of that in the future.

Art Studio of Cedar Lee

Art Studio of Cedar Lee

In the meantime, I am in what I call “production mode” in the studio.

Eclipse paintings on drying rack in Cedar Lee art studio

Eclipse paintings on drying rack in Cedar Lee art studio

Eclipse Over Red Hills

January 27th, 2017

Here is “Eclipse Over Red Hills.” This image had been forming in my mind since my trip to visit family in Asheville, NC in December, so it was one of the first things I painted when I got back into the studio in the new year.

Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Of course, since I’m fully focused on my Eclipse series right now, depicting solar eclipses in an awe-inspiring way is forefront in my current art.

Detail: Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Here you can see the “diamond ring effect” in the sun’s corona at this moment of the eclipse. You can see I’ve painted the yellow/gold sky smooth and flat, while the texture of the moon and the land is an extremely thick texture created with cold wax medium painted on with palette knives.

Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll ever see, are etched into my mind’s eye from the years I lived in Asheville during my teens. Seeing those mountains again this winter was a treat for me.

One of the distinctive features of this ancient mountain range is how ripply it is, the mountains spread over the land like a very rumpled blanket with many folds. Because of this, particularly when the sun is low in the sky, the mountains in the distance appear in a multitude of gradations of color. This effect has always inspired the way I paint mountains.

Detail: Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The painting, including the thick texture of the paint of the mountains and the thin smoothness of the paint of the sky, continues around the edges of the canvas.

Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The painting is only 12″ high. But it’s width is spread out over 36″. Because of the dramatic panorama format, it has the presence of a larger painting.

Paintings in art studio of Cedar Lee. On easel: Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Paintings in art studio of Cedar Lee. On easel: Eclipse Over Red Hills. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

I find this size and format particularly satisfying, and I have more paintings of this size planned.

My studio is starting to fill up with images of solar eclipses as I complete them!

Cedar Lee Eclipse paintings in art studio

Cedar Lee Eclipse paintings in art studio

The Big Eclipse

January 20th, 2017

Finally–I give you my first completed painting of 2017!

The Big Eclipse. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The Big Eclipse. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

I love it. Its title is self-explanatory: “The Big Eclipse.”

Eclipse paintings in Cedar Lee studio. Top: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow, © 2016 Bottom: The Big Eclipse, © 2017

Eclipse paintings in Cedar Lee studio. Top: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow, © 2016 Bottom: The Big Eclipse, © 2017

Because of its large scale, the vibrant deep crimson layered with many colors, and the simple composition of the solar eclipse making a circle within the rectangle of the canvas, this painting has a powerful presence.

Painting on easel: The Big Eclipse. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Painting on easel: The Big Eclipse. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Of course when viewing a real solar eclipse, the moon appears as a flat, dark disk. But I’ve made the artistic decision to show the details of the moon’s rocky peaks and craters.

Detail: The Big Eclipse. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: The Big Eclipse. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

From afar, the image clearly reads as the much-loved, recognizable surface of our moon. But up close, you can see how loose I was with the paintbrush.

Detail: The Big Eclipse. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: The Big Eclipse. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

I walked that line between realism and playing with the messy paint. I painted the moon with mostly white and Payne’s gray, with a bit of burnt umber mixed in here and there.

Detail: The Big Eclipse. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: The Big Eclipse. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The rays of the sun’s corona radiate out in all directions. Though red is the dominant color, many colors show up in the sky surrounding the eclipse, including yellow, orange, green, gray and brown.

The Big Eclipse © 2017 on drying rack in Cedar Lee art studio

The Big Eclipse © 2017 on drying rack in Cedar Lee art studio

I achieved this dynamic effect by working with several layers of glazes, so that each color would shine through the successive layers of color.

Gallery-wrapped painted edge of The Big Eclipse. Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Gallery-wrapped painted edge of The Big Eclipse. Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The painting continues around the deep edges, contributing to the impact of the piece and making it look fantastic as is, without the need for a frame.

Detail showing artist's signature: The Big Eclipse. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail showing artist’s signature: The Big Eclipse. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Several more new Eclipse paintings are in various stages of drying and being photographed, so keep an eye out for more soon!

Eclipse Art: Awesome!

December 15th, 2016

This Eclipse painting is self-explanitorily titled “Awesome!”

Awesome! 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Awesome! 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The sun and moon during this moment of total solar eclipse are larger than life. I painted the details of the moon’s cratered surface with sharp contrast. Two young children leap into the air, bursting with excitement as they watch the vision playing out in the sky. An enormous hawk soars in the air above them.

Close-up detail: Awesome! 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail: Awesome! 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I used the shapes of my own kids’ silhouettes, taken from still frames of a video of them jumping up and down in excitement. This painting is about that child-like feeling of overwhelming awe, that cannot be contained in their bodies and has to burst out with movement and noise. They are shouting what anyone would say when confronted with such a sight: “Awesome!”

Close-up detail: Awesome! 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail: Awesome! 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Imagine being that hawk, flying through the air with this sky as a backdrop!

This is obviously not what a real eclipse looks like–in real life, the moon appears as a black disk blocking out the sun, and the sky gets momentarily dark. I chose to paint the concept of an eclipse in such a way that you can see the surface of the moon, full of colors. I am in love with this moon and plan to play with painting the moon in different ways in my next paintings!

Close-up detail: Awesome! 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail: Awesome! 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The moon’s craters are not accurately placed or to-scale in this painting–I sketched this freehand in thick paint let the paint do what it wanted, but even so, you can still get the gist of the recognizable shapes we have all seen so many times. You can clearly see the big crater at the bottom, “Tycho,” and the smaller crater, “Copernicus” towards the upper left.

Awesome! scale1

Art by Cedar Lee in studio. Top: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″. Bottom: Awesome! 24″ x 30″.

Like my last painting, “A Dream of Joy and Sorrow,” I have stuck to a color palette of earth tones for this one. The dominant color in this new painting is burnt sienna. Both were painted using cold wax medium, with much of the paint applied with palette knives, for an intentionally rough texture.

Awesome! scale2

Art by Cedar Lee in studio. Top-bottom: Corona. 24″ x 30″, Eclipse Love. 24″ x 30, Awesome! 24″ x 30″.

Here in the studio, you can see the painting on the easel, with two of my other recent Eclipse paintings of the same size. The canvases leaning against the wall have been toned with Naples yellow in preparation for new paintings.

Awesome! 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Awesome! 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

There are varied textures throughout this painting, created with knives, rollers, brushes, splatters and glazes. The painting continues all around the edges of the canvas.

Detail: Awesome! 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Awesome! 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Awesome! 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Awesome! 24″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Less than a week now until the Winter Solstice and the move back towards longer days. I’ll be spending the holidays with family. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance!

Eclipse Art: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow

November 29th, 2016

A woman stands alone in a bleak rocky landscape, gazing at the total solar eclipse that fills the expansive golden sky.

She feels simultaneously desolate and wonder-stuck by the awesome scene before her.

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I’ve always loved the poem “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, especially the line towards the end:

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

This is such a true description of the bittersweet nature of our experience. Within a very short window of time, and sometimes even all at once, we can feel the heavy weight of grief and pain and also the buoyancy of gratitude and wonderment. This is what I was thinking of as I created this image: “A Dream of Joy and Sorrow.”

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The joyful feeling comes from the rare treat of witnessing this solar eclipse–the light of the sun bursts from behind the dark disk of the moon, flooding the sky with red and gold light. At the periphery, where the sky is darker, countless twinkling stars are visible.

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The shadows of the moon’s rocky surface are an earthy charcoal, the highlights a muted gold.

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The sorrowful feeling is represented by the stark, barren landscape surrounding the woman, and by the inky black liquid dripping down the hills in the foreground like endless seeping tears. The earth is crying.

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

You’ll notice that there is a teardrop trailing down below each of her feet, as if the sorrow is flowing down through her body, out her feet which are planted on the top of that little hill, and into the ground along with the other tears. Meanwhile, her body is still and her face is lifted in amazement towards the spectacle in the sky.

This painting is 30″ x 40″.

Artist with her work: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee (Background: Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood)

Artist with her work: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee (Background: Oxygen. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood)

The painting continues around the edges.

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

 

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