Eclipse Art: Awesome!

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!

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