The Making of 'Hunter's Moon'

04 February, 2019 3 comments Leave a comment

Hunter's Moon, watercolour by Karen Richardson

A few weeks ago some of us got to see the Wolf Moon - Super Moon - Blood Moon in the heavens. This cosmic event reminded me of my most recent moon painting, 'Hunter's Moon', shown above.

In the normal course of my artistic practice, once I paint a specific scene, my creative curiosity is satisfied and I happily carry on to a new inspiration for the next painting. Some people refer to this in terms of  "been there, done that" but I think more in terms of a 'bucket list' of painting ideas that I check off one by one.

But, every now and then, a certain painting I have completed continues to haunt my creative mind. It is as if the scene or subject isn't done with me yet, and I feel the need to recreate the scene, perhaps in a different size or format.

With watercolour, it is impossible to exactly duplicate a previous painting, because of the serendipitous nature of the medium. I think of painting with watercolour as a dance, with water as my dance partner, and I don't always get to lead. This means a second version of a scene will always turn out differently than the first version.

Moonlight Sonata, watercolour by Karen Richardson

The painting shown above, 'Moonlight Sonata' was a little 8 x 5" watercolour I completed in 2005 and sold the following year. I always loved the stark simplicity and symbolism of the scene, which was one I invented using a daytime photograph as reference.

I decided to use the same concept and composition in a new, larger painting. I found a stunning pine tree reference in my photo archives and created the second version of this scene in a 24 x 18" format.

Because I worked from multiple references and in a large format, I really stretched my design, drawing, and painting skills for this project. I had to evaluate after each layer of paint and decide what needed to be done next to make the scene look more real and to get the rich colour effects I was after.

I called the new painting 'Hunter's Moon', which falls in October and is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon. During these full moons, sunset and moon rise are close together, which creates a magical twilight effect.

Fortunately I had the foresight to take photos of each stage of this challenging painting as I worked on 'Hunter's Moon'. From these work-in-progress photos, I assembled a 90-second time lapse video, so you can see the flow of this piece to its completion. Click on the picture below to view the video.


When I viewed the completed painting, I had a compelling urge to visit this imaginary place, to sit under this tree, breathe in the crisp night air, and admire the beautiful moon. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure this scene is done with me yet. Maybe more moon paintings will cross my creative path...

For more information about this painting, click here.

Do moon paintings evoke memories for you? If you have comments you wish to share, please do so using the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post. 

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  1. Elfrida February 07, 2019

    Such a beautiful painting. Thanks for showing the video.

  2. Jeff February 05, 2019

    Beautiful. A lot of talent on display.

  3. Janet February 05, 2019

    Your emails, stories, and videos always put a smile on my face.
    Thank you