March 20, 2009

Three Moonbeams

I don't know why I keep painting this. i suppose it's because I want to get it right. This is the third time! The first was in the late 1970's. I was about 20 and wanted to try painting a moon scene using oil paints where the moon silhouetted a craggy mountain with a hole in it and a beam of light coming through the hole was casting a long shadow. It was very blue and dark and foggy. It did not include water or palm trees, just a lot of fog.
It hung for years in my studio. I was never really happy with the fog but the mood was very intriguing to me. I just love what moonlight does to the landscape. It was entirely Ultramarine blue paint and I either added black or white to it.

Over the years, I moved a few times and the painting got banged around. Eventually, I put it in storage (which damaged it further) and having moved to Maui, I noticed that I was missing it. I decided to paint it again only this time in acrylics since I had become more proficient with the airbrush, and living on the west side of Maui right on the water, I had a wonderful reference to paint from. So I added the ocean and the palm trees.
The result was a 24" x 36" painting that I immediately had professionally framed and hung up in my bedroom.

Five years went by and I moved to central Maui. That's when I noticed a smudge on the painting which I hadn't noticed before. Looking closer, it became obvious that it was a splotch of mold. On ALL my acrylic paintings, when they were finished I sprayed them with a protective clear coating. I forgot to do that with this one. I hung it up at the new place and figured I'd pull it out of the frame someday and try to wipe off the mold. As the years went by it got worse, but I really didn't notice because it hung in a darkened hallway. But mold LOVES the tropics.

A few months ago I was preparing for a show and trying to put together some new digital work. That's when I took a good look at a surface covered with mold. I mean it had its own ecosystem in the frame. I think I saw buffalo roaming the grassy plains in there. It was so bad that I took it out of the frame, scanned it in sections and tossed it in the trash.

Working in Photoshop, I had to piece the sections together and began repainting over every square inch, every pixel. Amazingly, it slowly came back to life within a couple of months. I tried to make a print of it on watercolor paper and was disappointed. Watercolor paper absorbs ink and the blues and blacks were just dull and flat. Then I tried printing it on photo paper and was pleasantly surprised. The blues were rich and the blacks were deep. It's the best version yet, and hopefully, the last.
Prints of "Moonbeam" are available on my website on glossy photo paper, limited to an edition of only 100.

No comments:

Post a Comment