Alien Moon Phases

Alien Moon Phases

You just have to love having creative friends. Recently a friend of mine finished writing a fantasy novel, which is looking for a publisher. In order to create a more positive and appealing property he decided to commission a few pieces of work from me, which I am more than happy to do!

The first step was to create what amounts to chapter headers, and a kind of time signature through out the book, he suggested the 28 moon phases of the double moon that hangs above this fantasy world.

I suppose I could have done quick pen and ink moons, but I couldn’t resist just giving it my all, and doing my best. So, I first had to figure out how to create 28 pieces where the moons would go through all of their phases. Early one morning as I woke up, I realized a method that would accomplish just that, { ancient artists secret, corner me at a party and I may tell you. } After a few small experiments I settled on a method of production, and then it was off to the races.
Considering my choice to work with watercolors, I am often endeavoring to create works that are solid pieces, and that use watercolors for their strengths, as well as trying to strengthen their weak points. Recently I have become fascinated with edges, both hard and soft. For me, it is more difficult to create a soft edge, so I took this opportunity to work it out on the page.

In using watercolor, one method to create soft edges is the wet-into-wet technique. Which if you are unfamiliar goes basically like this; make a puddle of water, charge your brush with color, dump the color into the puddle, stand back and make faces as you try to control the chaos below. So, that became the first pass on the moons. Sometimes I used just blue, other times blue and black in the first wash.
Next, after the first wash has dried, I came back over them with a wash of black. There is an effort on my part to consciously loose the edges in the moons’ shadows, and to create the chunky craters and such at the shadow’s edge. During this wash I also experimented with creating little flares of color to break up the hard edges along the outside of the wash.

That process went a little like; make the first wash, while it’s still wet come back with another clean brush and create a puddle just a hair away from the edge, when that is done simply break the tension between them, and BOOM! the color rushes into the puddle. { It actually works better when you use the sound effects out loud. Another reason I work by myself, otherwise people would just think that I am crazy…}

The final *phase* of this paintings { ho ho ho } was to wash in the light gray texture of the illuminated side of the moon, and to clean up any odd bits. Baddabing.

All in all I really learned quite a bit about painting during this process. Which, you know, amazes me because I really thought, just prior to this, that I finally knew everything… { hee hee }
As a bonus, due to the nature of these paintings, I cobbled them together in a quick little Quick time movie. Enjoy!

Addendum: see the final piece for this project { here! }

Watercolor Process