This is the latest in my starry night camping series, just finished today:
North Star, 24″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2015 Kathryn Beals
For this painting, I decided to experiment with more of a turquoise blue. I have always loved the night sky in Clement Hurd’s illustrations on the last page of the classic children’s book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, a book I enjoyed when I was little and now read to my children. The room gets darker and darker on each page until the last page when the lights are out, little bunny is asleep, and the stars are shining through his window:
“Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”(Photo from our copy of Goodnight Moon, 1947 by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd, Harper Collins)
I always liked the way the night sky in those pictures is not black but actually a bright turquoise blue. As an artist, it inspired me to try painting a night sky using little or no black. I want my night sky paintings to have the same calm, wondrous feel as the sky in Goodnight Moon, even in the very different setting – sleeping on a cold mountaintop, instead of safely tucked into a warm bed.
For this painting, I used my usual combo of Anthraquinone Blue, Paynes Gray and Titanium White, with clear glazes of Quinacridone Magenta, but I also tried adding Turquois (Phthalo) in areas to make it more of a greenish blue like in the Goodnight Moon illustration.
The tent is something I like to add to bring more emotion and connection to a landscape. This scene isn’t based on any particular mountain or trip, but it reminds me of the feeling of camping in the high Sierras or the Rockies, above the treeline and under the stars. I didn’t plan on it being a snow painting, but like many of our camping trips, sometimes it turns out that way.