|"Moon Over Rabbit Bluff"|
When my watercolor class was asked to paint a setting sun in the course of learning about layers in a traditional landscape, I knew immediately that I wouldn't be so interested in depicting a sunset as I would be the moonrise. At the end of the day, sometimes there's a moment where those two celestial bodies coexist in the visible sky, a gentle argument between starlight and sunshine. That was my guiding vision as I proceeded along blissfully, completely ignoring the fact that almost everyone else was dutifully capturing a variety of toasty warm sunsets. I washed the background with brilliant quinacridone magenta, medium cadmium yellow, mineral violet, and a stunning, sparkly amethyst purple (yes, it's made from genuine amethyst!) Once the sky was dry, I lifted out pigment to reveal the moon, readying herself for the coming night. The foreground is executed in a thick, deep, royal dioxazine violet.
What really tickled me about this painting is that the "story" - two wild bunnies watching the moon rise over the Pacific - just suddenly appeared. I had painted the bluff and the trees and stepped back. In front of me, I saw a place and a time but nothing more. I needed an event, something to give the painting a bit of power and purpose. And then, in the next moment, I knew it would be rabbits. I knew there would be two. I knew one ear needed to be flopped over. I just knew. There was no prolonged, agonizing period of analysis or pitched battle in my brain over finding the "perfect" solution. Those rabbits just appeared in the painting like a slow-developing polaroid that suddenly resolves itself. Love that...