Moon Shadows – Oil Painting

Moon Shadows

Moon Shadows

Last full moon occurred close to the Summer Solstice. In Ireland at this time of year, the sky is still bright after 11pm and never really gets fully dark, with the first light of dawn barely 4 hours later, at 3am. This year there was also a full moon. It was so bright the birds, totally confused, were active all night. What I remember most vividly were the moon shadows.

Nightscapes are difficult to paint. The problem is that at low light levels, we see only in black and white, with very little colour. A camera sees colour in low light, its just a darker shade. In the 17th and 18th centuries artists were unaware of this lack of colour vision at night and portrayed their nightscapes in low key colour as they imagined it to be. More recent nightscapes are monochrome or as we see them. As I work mostly from imagination, this painting falls into the former category.

Moon Shadows Unglazed

Moon Shadows Unglazed

I painted this in 2 sessions. The first stage produced an unusual landscape, looking like night time, but much too bright. The second stage was to glaze over the dry paint with transparent dark colour. The painting’s colours were Alkyd oils, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine. The glaze was a mix of standard oil paints, Burnt Sienna and the Ultramarine with Stand Linseed Oil as the medium. The base painting was dry enough to glaze after 24 hours because of the Alkyd paint used. I used Stand Linseed Oil in the glaze because it is less likely to leave brush marks and it is much slower drying, allowing the Alkyd colour underneath to fully dry first.

The painting is 20″x16″, painted in 2 hours with about an hour spent glazing. The 3 colours are, more or less, the same as I used in the last few paintings. I videoed the process and will post in a few days. See you then.


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