Moonlite Amethyst: Behind the Scenes
I am asked frequently what my process is when doing a painting with the semi precious stones.
Do I put them on before or after I paint them? Both
I wanted to share with you my process of this particular painting Moonlite Amethyst where I used the semi precious stones: Amethyst and Mica.
First: My love of Amethyst.
It is hard to say what is my favorite stone. Yet Amethyst is probably one of my top favorites. I just love it. Purple is not particularly my favorite color either but it maybe just is the pure beauty of the stone it self.
I think because I resonate with its properties and connect with them on a emotional and spiritual level. While I was painting this painting, I would just stop and be in such awe of the stones grouped like they are and just place my hand on them and just admire them. I love the feel and how different that each piece is.
Second: Common into Spectacular
I have been collecting these stones I used for this Amethyst painting for quite some time, probably about a year to 6 months. I wanted to get the right stones for this piece to really make it come together in a way that was spectacular and that showed the pieces off as a whole with out making it too busy.
I wanted such a common stone that I think is one of the most spectacular to be shown off so you can see its beauty.
Third: The Mountains
I love the way the Amethyst is grouped together. When I got a lot of the Amethyst I ended up setting a lot of them clumped up together on my studio table to admire them. Once I did that I thought that they looked like mountains in a certain way. Some of the Amethyst specimens made peaks and reminded me of a mountain range. Being from Colorado I wanted to do a mountains scene with the Amethyst being the mountains.
Forth: The Moon
My inspiration for the moon came from that amazing Amethyst slice I had found. I got it on sale because it was broken and split in half. As soon as I put it by the rough Amethyst it reminded me of a moon.
I wanted this painting to be darker as the moon sets and where the sun is gone so it is not creating that light but the light from the moon takes over the sky and landscape where it just has a soft moon lite glow over things. Where you can still make out shapes of objects but not clear in the light. I wanted to capture that moment.
Amethyst comes in many shades, roughly the deeper and darker the Amethyst the more valuable. It is a part of the Quartz family and does come in a light lavender as well thus, the white you see sometimes with it or under the purple of the Amethyst. I am not an expert but from my understanding if it is purple it is considered Amethyst. In its natural form it is rough and then can be faceted or cut and polished
There are also different forms of Amethyst; Amethyst cactus, flowering Amethyst and then regular Amethyst. Sometimes there is Amethyst that has Citrine or other stones attached or that are intertwined with the purple color as well as just a plain purple which is the most common. Alot of combinations, the most available is most rare and different.
Amethyst also comes from many different places in the world. Uruguay, Argentina, and the Amethyst I have used in this particular painting is from Brazil. Many different locations. All slightly unique and different.
Amethyst and other stones Used:
I found the majority of this Amethyst at the Denver Gem and Mineral show. This is the second largest gem show in the US behind the one in Tuscon AZ. My mom ended up finding a lot of the pieces that went into this painting.
Yet I already had been collecting the other Amethyst pieces before this, finding the other just made it come together.
The Mica used is from a mine in South Dakota where I get a lot of my stones from a place in Estes Park Colorado at Red Rose Rock Shop. It is from there mine and is one of the only places I can find the large block pieces of Mica. I got them in big blocks and broke it up, which was fun to do so it flaked off into pieces that resembled mountain tops to tie together my mountain range.
The smaller lighter pieces of Amethyst that I used are actually beads, they are sliced from a large piece of Amethyst and I love the look of them because it brings out the detail of the stone by slicing them like that. I think they have such a different perspective when sliced like they are rather than the large chunk the other Amethyst are in. Which I thought gave the piece more depth and variety, plus adding to the perspective in the painting.
The long darker Amethyst points that look like sticks are also beads. I find a lot of beads that I use for my paintings, due to the shows I go to are bead shows. Most of the time you can not tell. But I love using them because they come in so many forms and variety’s to use in my Elements paintings. I love to combine the different styles of stones and beads to get the right effect that I am trying to achieve.
I wanted those to look or resemble trees, in an abstract way. I think they give the piece more depth and dimension instead of having the stones on the painting being all the same thing.
That is also the fun part and challenge of working with the stones to find and put together the combinations that in the end come together and work as a whole.
For this particular Amethyst painting I glued the stones to the panel first and then painted around it.
I used E-6000 to glue the Amethyst moon slice to the panel and then Golden Hard Molding Paste for the rest of the project. That medium drys like cement and creates a firm bond with the stones.
I then painted the sky. I wanted the sky to be a combination of realistic and abstract. I wanted it to be mostly dark for more drama and emotion of the moon lite night I was trying to portray. I wanted the light clouds to be almost a glow instead of a lot of detail they would normally have.
My biggest awareness was I didnt want the sky to overpower the Amethyst mountains, I wanted them to stand out and not battle one another.
I also wanted the sky and clouds to come inward or towards the Amethyst slices so your eye went and focused on the Amethyst moon and flowed with the stones.
I then painted the water and wanted a reflection but not too realistic and strong. I started out doing that at first and it just didnt look right. I then went and scrubbed it out and made it more soft and that really made the look of a reflection but not to sharp and realistic. I think that also made the stones stand out even more. So both the paint and the stones went together and complemented one another.
I also wanted to the reflection of the water obviously mirror the sky as it would in nature but I wanted again the water to draw your eye inward to the moon as the main focus of the painting.
I am really happy how it turned out and loved the colors and how the Amethyst now is shown in such a emotional way with the painting, bringing the two harmoniously together.
I hope you feel my intentions when you look at this piece and feel the drama of the moon light, and appreciate all the beautiful and unique Amethyst that I used.