Eclipse at the Top of the World

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:

 

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