OK. So yesterday was the 50th anniversary of that stunning achievement, the first landing on the Moon’s surface by American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It’s been marked, justifiably, by TV news, documentaries and specials all around the world, generating a renewed interest in space exploration. Next stop Mars, I guess (and hope). And later on, perhaps, a certain golden planet…
Coming up next weekend, there’s a local art exhibition in the village of Aberdour which I intend to enter. In honour of the first Moon landing, the theme of the exhibition is space. I was going to do a small painting of the Apollo 11 rocket leaving Earth’s atmosphere. Sadly, that didn’t work out… the blackness of outer space went blotchy, and not in a good way. So, I had a little rethink, and decided to take the space theme literally. I’d paint space itself – a nebula maybe, with colours showing though. Or a galaxy far, far away.
That sort of thing is easy enough in watercolour. All you have to do is to let the paints blend wetly on the paper while taking care to preserve some white areas. Once the paper was dry, I dotted on lots of stars of varying sizes and brightness, using white gouache. The effect wasn’t bad but something else was needed to catch the eye. I made a circle stencil out of a piece of card and gently sponged out a circular patch of paint. Hey presto, in moments I had a planet floating in outer space. I coloured it with Quinacridone Gold and Neutral Tint and it was finished.
Whichever way round
This is the first painting I’ve produced – disregarding my signature – that would look all right whichever way round you look it. After all, in space there is no “up”.
Golden Planet is now the painting’s title. Here’s to the memory of Neil Armstrong. Not forgetting Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Brave men, all.