Here’s a brief look into the creative process for my most recent painting, “Heavenly Luna”. Last week I fell asleep on the couch while watching tv. I woke up an hour later, stumbled to bed and was suddenly wide awake. I was overwhelmed with ideas for new paintings. I had to welcome the visions, knowing I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep again until I sorted them out. I envisioned a painting of a Luna moth, a mystical night creature that has a maximum life span of 7 days.
My final painting looks almost nothing like a night scene. This was not intentional. I had a vague idea for a color-scheme for the background, and I wanted the Luna moth to be flying towards the moon. Looks a bit more like it’s flying towards the sun now. This is just the direction my painting went as I created it. I often will have a vague concept, but as I create, I follow my intuition on where to go.
Step 1. I knew that I wanted the moon/sun, or let’s just call it the “light source”, to be prominent in the background. I was hoping for graduated dark to light colors around the light source. I went for purple and magenta India ink fading into pink and then light yellow.
Step 2. I created the Luna moth on watercolor paper with watercolors, acrylic inks, paint pens, and cut outs of jeweled green paper. I referenced a Google image of a Luna moth for this part. I like adding details of decorative paper to add some texture and depth. I cut out the completed Luna moth with an exacto blade and used adhesive to place it on the background.
Step. 3 Initially I thought I would stop at step 2 and keep it minimalistic. But as I sat with the painting, I decided it called for more movement and flow. My intention was to try to draw the viewer’s eye to the light source. I decided a good way to do this was by adding botanical details that leaned towards the light. I was inspired by, believe it or not, my Ikea duvet cover for the small purple and silver botanical details.
Step. 4 This is where I started to play with balance by adding more botanicals to both sides with some contrasting colors, still with the intention of having them lean towards the light.
Step 5. Here is where I went overboard and panicked. This was just way too girly. I found myself cringing and uncomfortable with the direction it was going at this point. I decided to step away and take a nap. Would I sound crazy if I told you I had a dream about the painting while I napped? Well I did. The details are vague, but I remember a harp playing and the word “Luna” being sung and I remember I woke up thinking the words “Heavenly Luna”.
Step 6. Usually I wouldn’t panic as I did at Step 5 because it’s so easy to change things up and paint over what’s not working. But because I had already glued down my very detailed Luna moth, I couldn’t do a drastic change up of the background. So instead I delicately painted some cloud-like shapes over the excess flowers and around the Luna moth with some thicker acrylic paints and gave them some dimension with some water-soluble pastels.
And after adding in some more lines and details for movement, the final product:
This is definitely the most feminine piece I have ever created. Even though, technically, the Luna moth is a male (you can tell by the feathery antennae). I had to dig deep and honor my femininity as I created this. It’s feminine nature does seem appropriate, however, as the moon, or Luna, is symbolic of divine female energy. I hope you enjoyed a look inside of “Heavenly Luna’s” creation. Namaste.