A few years ago my husband and I were vacationing in Maine for a few weeks of summer. We had found this beautiful place right on the coast, tucked away in the woods. We spent our days wandering outside and our nights sitting around a beautiful campfire, telling stories until we grew sleepy.
On one of these nights, as we headed inside, we found an extraordinary sight on the sliding glass door. Luna moths were absolutely everywhere.
I had only seen one luna moth in my whole life before this moment, and here were 6 of them, congregating on the door and porch rail, scheming to get inside. We watched them in awe as they swooped gracefully yet frantically across the porch.
That night we watched them from inside, gathering all over the windows in search of the light.
I marveled at their magic, but it was short lived.
The next morning we awoke to a luna massacre. Something, likely an owl, had come in the night and had a feast. The luna wings were scattered all over the ground, beautiful little remnants of their short lives.
We found one lone survivor, sleeping and resting after what must have been a horrible night.
I’ll never forget that trip, and specifically that magical evening when we were momentarily surrounded my luna moths.
Much of the time, I make art to seal memories in my mind. As I get older, I forget more little bits of my past, so I create these little nuggets in time to help me keep track.
This week I unexpectedly decided to have a go at painting with gouache, which is like a mix between watercolor and acrylic. I thought what better to experiment with a new medium than to try painting the luna in three different styles?
I had SO much fun with this project. The first Luna was made with lots of careful blending of colors in each section, leaving white space in between for some variety. I LOVE how this first one came out, and it encouraged me to keep playing with this type of paint.
The next one I made in more of a graphic style. I didn’t blend anything, but layered the paint to create fun textures and designs. This style was way outside my comfort zone since I usually don’t paint this way but it was fun to play with!
For the last Luna, I used a lot of water and painted it in more of a watercolor style. This style is much more comfortable for me since watercolor is what I’m used to, but I’m not too thrilled with how it came out. I realized as I was working that the nice thing about gouache is that you can do a lot of fun blending and build up the paint on the paper.
After all this practice I’m definitely feeling ready to jump into more complex gouache paintings. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m happy to be able to pick up a new medium!