Thursday, January 31, 2013

Virtual Paintout 2: Vevie Goes to the Isle of Man!

Today I finished my January painting for the Virtual Paintout... I'm calling it "Moonlight Rendezvous":

(can click any pics to enlarge)

 Whew! Finished just in time. I am determined to learn better time management; this last minute stuff is for the birds! Each month Bill Guffey, who started Virtual Paintout (HERE) 
picks a new destination somewhere in the world, and we all "go" there via Google Street View, and pick out our own spot as the inspiration for a new painting. 

My first one for Dec 2012 was in Slovakia, titled "Moonlight Prowl" (HERE). 

This month Vevie (rhymes with Stevie) and I went to the Isle of Man, which is in the Irish Sea between Ireland and the United Kingdom. Oh, it was sooo beautiful! I have Irish ancestry, and it was so much fun to "wander" the island, wondering if my distant kin might have explored those same fields and hills.

Vevie, my Virtual Paintout muse:

Next is a close-up detail of the painting. The "making of" pics will follow, though there aren't too many. I was so caught up in the painting of it that I kept forgetting to take photos!

Here's the original location that I picked for my inspiration, near Cregneash, Isle of Man:

I ran it through Photoshop to play around and try out ideas, and this is the mock-up Vevie and I liked best:

And now the WIP pics (work in progress pics).

This time I'm painting on 9 x 12 wrapped canvas; as usual, acrylics. I already lightly textured the canvas with gesso; let it dry, and sealed that with medium so it wouldn't be quite so absorbent and suck the moisture out of the paints, causing them to dry too rapidly.

I painted over the light graphite lines with Paynes Grey; then started the underpainting with Indian Yellow. Instead of painting the edges a solid color, I thought I'd have fun and extend the picture around to all four sides:

Adding in some Quin Magenta underpainting:

And finally some Prussian Blue:

Added back some whites where I wanted to keep the lightest lights; darkened Vevie:

The top half of the block-in phase is done here. I started with the farthest away, and am working forward:

Block-in is finished; started the fantasy clouds; here you can peek at the side:

Final layers added; glazes, adjustments, highlights and sparkles:

And it's all finished, Moonlight Rendezvous:

So there you have it, the ancient, historical and magical Isle of Man! I can't wait to find out where we are going next. And this is an open event... anyone of any skill level in almost any medium is welcome to participate. Like crayons, or colored pencils?? Join us! Visit the blog for all the details, HERE. 

All the wonderful and varied paintings from the Isle of Man may be seen on the Virtual Paintout blog, HERE.

And, what's the deal with making all of these "moon" paintings?? Well, since this is too long already, with next month's painting I'll talk about why I am transforming the daylight locations into moonlit paintings... what the symbolism is to me. 

Happy virtual traveling,



  1. I adore this painting. You chose a wonderful scene to work from, but it's you sky that I really like.


    1. Thank you, Anne, I'm glad you like it!

      I had so much fun learning to make those rolling fantasy clouds. It's the first time I've done them like that. My husband would come in each day and inspect them, to see the progress. At first he was dubious. He's a photographer, and likes photo-like "realism". He made a couple of good suggestions, which I took (to soften the edges more, and lighten the purple on the left side), and now he's happy with them. :-D

  2. I really liked this painting, too! I love how you got creative and changed it a bit, and I enjoyed going through the process along with you, it made for an interesting blogpost. Well done!

    1. Thank you, Patricia, I appreciate that. :-)

  3. I am fascinated by your clouds! They look so real. And the shadows on Vevie and the lamb are easily seen that they come from the moon. You can feel the night surrounding them. Great job!

  4. "You can feel the night surrounding them." I like that description! You must be a writer or something... ;-)

    Thanks, Karen!

  5. You are an AMAZING artist, Retta. You took a dull photograph of a dull scene and brought it to such beauty and life, illustrating a compelling attraction and dramatic sky. This one should be in a gallery. At the end of the year you'll have 12 paintings... Look for an exhibition opportunity. Art lovers deserve the chance to see them.

    I'm particularly glad for the tip about sealing gesso with medium! It's brilliant... and I never would have thought of it myself. I can't wait to see February's piece.

    1. Aww, thanks, Robin. At the end of a semi-crummy day, that was wonderful to read.

      And I actually did have a secret little dream... that maybe, just maybe, in a year when I have the whole 2013 collection of Moonlight paintings, I was hoping to find some place that would be interested in a little show. Sort of a mini-goal to work towards.

  6. I love the colors you use, Loretta. Another beautiful and inspiring piece by you. :)

  7. Thank you, Mary. How sweet of you to say!

  8. wow - I love the moonlit scene...I need to learn how to do that!

    1. Thanks for visiting, Cindy. I'm glad you enjoyed it! :-)