The Big Eclipse

This painting’s title is self-explanatory: “The Big Eclipse.”

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

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.

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

Of course when viewing a real solar eclipse, the moon appears as a flat, dark disk.

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

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!

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