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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"Lit by the Moon" 24" X 18" gallery wrapped fluid acrylic on paper

Fluid acrylic painting by April M Rimpo
Lit by the Moon by April M Rimpo
Since night scenes are not something I’ve done a lot of, I wanted to be sure to capture the colors I used in Lit by the Moon.

Lit by the Moon
Fluid Acrylic
24" X 18" gallery wrapped and varnished paper
$995 for Original Painting

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All are fluid acrylic except for:
Indigo blue – which is a Da Vinci watercolor pigment - and Coral, which is a Daniel Smith watercolor paint.  Both I mixed with Golden “Fluid Matte Medium” to make my own fluid acrylic.  Daniel Smith Coral is my go to color these days.  It makes wonderful shades of lavender when mixed with just about any blue.  When mixed with blue and yellow, you get great grays.

The Da Vinci fluid acrylics used are:
·        Transparent Raw Sienna
·        Quinacridone Gold (very sparingly)
·        Quinacridone Burnt Orange
·        Pthalo Blue
·        French Ultra Marine Blue (adding some Daniel Smith French Ultra Blue watercolor when I mix with Quinacridone Burnt Orange to create the nearly black darks
·        Titanium White (used mixed with the yellow pigments in the last layer of darks to recover a few of the illusion of clouds when I neglected to leave some of these open.)

I started with masking fluid “sprayed” on the white paper, which becomes the falling snow.  After an initial pale wash I added tiny wisps of tree branches and bits of snow that had stuck to the yet to be painted trees. I also added some masking fluid where I wanted the lit side of evergreens and bushes in the foreground.  And let’s not forget the moon was added in mask at this point so the yellow glow is retained.  I left some openings in the mask on the moon to allow darker hues to create the craters on the moon. Some kosher salt was applied to the bushes in the front in hopes of adding some texture to the snow as a foreground detail. I say "in hopes" because normally I test pigments with salt to be sure the desired granulation will occur, but the salt was a quick decision and timing the addition of salt is critical.

A second medium intensity wash was added to further vary the colors across the painting and to begin to make darker areas in the sky.  I left some of the yellow shining through, especially around the moon since I wanted the moon to glow. When dry this layer was followed by more masking of branches to give the illusion that different branched catch different amounts of the moon light. I added a small amount of dark on top of the dry salt in the foreground bushes to add some variety.  I actually had forgotten to remove the salt and knew I likely lost any subtle granulation in the snow.  These things happen.

Darker combinations of the blues were added in the third layer.  This is also where I used the pale mixture of white and yellow to retain some lighter cloud areas here in there behind the trees. There is a church steeple in the distance and I used some of the light yellow mix around the steeple so it wouldn’t be totally lost.  The steeple was inspired by St Paul’s Church and has the characteristic lighter stripes used to accent the architecture on the steeple, but I intentionally muted these at a later stage so the painting is about the falling snow and the steeple is there for those who really examine the painting in detail.

The trees were adding in dark and medium dark hues while most of the masking was still in place so the limbs catching the light were preserved.  At the end the mask was removed and just a few spots required a dab of darker paint here and there to integrate the branches.


  1. It's truly breathtaking, April! That process sounds so exciting too! I'd love to take a workshop from you, to learn how to do that! I wonder if the masking fluid would work on a colored pencil piece the same way?

    1. Thank you, Katherine. I don't think Iknew about maski g fluid when I was doing colored pencil. That process was so precise I'm not sure whenther it would help or not. With very wet fluid applications of paint it allows me to pour paint and let it run without worrying about prserving the lighter colors. However it might be a good experiment.


I look forward to hearing from you. - April

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