The Sky at Night
"Blazing Comet" Image size 38 x 58 cm NOW SOLD
My latest series of monotypes is an imaginative response to the sky at night. I've been fascinated by some of the amazing long-exposure night photography that I've seen recently. They reveal the night sky to be full of colour, even the stars, and not all black and white!
I've had a few "Eureka!" moments when I've realised how I can portray these skies in my chosen medium. As many of you will know, these artworks are not paintings but unique hand-printed art works. If you watch the video below, it will give you some insights into how they came about. My 13 year old son has edited these to show you the highlights and miss out the long boring bits!
What I love about working on these night sky pictures is their elegant simplicity. Many of my images are complex and involve up to 10 layers of ink. These ones are more straightforward with two layers in the sky and one layer (plus drawing for the trees) in the land area. The method for the stars is the key to it all, of course. My stars are not real constellations, as I'm sure you can tell, but a randomized scattering of dust. Ever since I was an art student, I've looked for ways to portray the organic and seemingly chaotic patterns of nature using the simple tools at my disposal. The chalk dust pattern, as a signifier for the stars, seems just right. There's no dust on the finished picture - it just acts as a blocker, a bit like masking fluid for a watercolour artist.
"Yellow Moon" Image size 38 x 58cm £550 mounted £650 framed in oak with art glass
Sadly, I haven't had the opportunity to do much star gazing, as I live in an area with lots of street lighting. We're very fortunate in Northumberland to have one of the best dark sky viewing areas in the UK. I've camped near Kielder with my young family in the summer but been too shattered to stay up for the stars! The best times are in winter and early spring on moonless nights. I booked a star-gazing session at The Sill this year which was cancelled so I've been thrown back on my own imagination!
"Breathing Space" Image size 67 x 30cm NOW SOLD
The moon is obviously another major consideration for a night sky. As an artist, I want to have it all - stars and moon - even if it would be hard to see the stars with bright moonlight! The moon makes a great focus for the image and it's fun choosing which phase of the moon to depict. On the one below, I gave some thought to how the shadow side of the moon would look if we could see it more clearly. I also tried to give a suggestion of the milk-way using paler colours. There's some amazing photography on the internet that reveals many different colours in the galaxy "cluster".
"Moonlight Shadow" Image size 67 x 30 cm £595 mounted £695 framed in oak with art glass
There's one more element to a northern night sky - yes, you guessed it - the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis! So, this is my first attempt at the aurora with our well-known Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall. I must confess to disliking the very green looking photographs you see a lot, so I went for a more subtle turquoise and mauve. A star-gazing friend told me that the colours an observer saw were in the eye of the beholder and could vary from person to person. One of my life's ambitions is to see the Northern Lights but for now, it's just in my imagination!
"Aurora" Image size 39 x 39cm NOW SOLD
There's been a number of occasions recently to see a "super moon". I'm still a bit unclear exactly what that means but I'm taking it to mean a big bright full moon. The one below has a hint of the crater patterns if you look closely
"Super Moon" Image size 39 x 39cm £370 mounted £450 framed in oak with art glass
These original artworks are now available for sale. Please get in touch if you wish to purchase one framed or unframed. I usually frame in oak with a white/cream double mount and art glass. To be among the first to hear about my new work and get insights into the process through my blog, please sign up to my email list in the footer below.
If you can't stretch to and original, you could consider a high quality print. Just get in touch to order or check out the night sky giclee prints already listed on my website: