Meteor Spray

The mission to Mars is complete! This larger piece was a lot of fun on many fronts and allowed for some variations in technique and colors. This is largely an abstract project, although I worked to replicate the essence of the Martian surface, albeit with some wild colors. 

After the block-in, which was described in the Meteors and Squirrels post last month, I focused on the colors. It was at times infuriating trying to create other worldly space dust hues, but I kept at it until I found something that resonated with me. Along the way, I will admit, there was a lot of wasted paint. The solution was glazing, whereby I was able to push and pull the hue and intensity as needed through thin layers atop an initial color scheme. There were 3 glaze layers in total, but the first one was the most impactful, essentially making the whole piece pop and really come alive! It was an exciting moment and something I absolutely love as an artist, namely when you make a creative decision to change the approach and it actually works! Hell yeah! 

After 2 glazing layers, I made another compositional decision to invest more time and effort in multiple craters. The piece needed to convey the powerful impact of the main focal crater, but the addition of other craters enhances the overall painting and incorporates some needed texture. The craters also unwittingly added a strong sense of value contrast and lighting direction that I didn’t realize was lacking until I started dropping them into the Martian surface. 

The final glaze layer was more opaque than previous layers and it was selectively done across the composition to soften and blur many of the larger craters so one gets the sense of a dusty surface – otherwise they simply looked too crisp and clean, an effect I wanted on the focal point but not the other craters. 

Overall, this piece was fun to do, but I’m not excited about the outcome. I absolutely love the impact crater – still now sure how that came together so nicely – and the projection of colored Mars dust (meteor spray) worked well, but I realized the composition isn’t something that appeals to me visually. The final colors aren’t what I’d envisioned and I simply couldn’t get away from the red orange… and I don’t really like that hue, so in the end it was a stupid decision on my part. That said, I’ll be interested to see who likes this piece, either because of the pronounced coloring, or perhaps the Martian space theme, which isn’t a typical painting subject.

Technical details for my fellow art dorks:

  • Oil on canvas board, 30″x24″
  • Glazing done in final layers, but not atop the focal crater
  • Brush sizes were primarily 2 or 6, mostly Flats and Rounds,