All things galactic – stars, constellations, the sun, the moon, planets etc. have fascinated me ever since I was little. I vividly remember being about 5 years old and sitting in the backseat of my mom’s Toyota Camry on a night drive home from wherever and buckling myself into the middle seat so that I could lay down and stare at the stars while we moved along. The fact that people would travel wide open oceans using only the constellations to guide them romanticized stars in my mind to a point of no return. I still get giddy when I spot my first star of the night and so a mixed media series on constellations was inevitable.
Heavy gel medium
To start I picked out five constellations that had myths or meanings that resonated with me, which ended up being Orion, Andromeda, Perseus, Ursa Major and Sagittarius. In researching each story I was able to draw out some major themes and then collaged the canvasses in relation to each constellation’s main idea.
I had intended on taking pictures of each step of the process but got caught up in the project instead. So after gluing the images to each canvas, I coated them all with a layer of thinned out gold paint. Then I thinned out a vibrant phthalo blue and layered a coat on top of the gold paint. The result was an ethereal iridescence that changes depending on the lighting. On top of those layers I put a thick coat of gel medium. I then drew out each constellation and painted each star a bit differently with gold centers and white starbursts. I connected the stars with dots of a more saturated phthalo blue. It was at this point that I remembered the “Starlight, Starbright” nursery rhyme – a rhyme that I sang often as a child, mainly on my walks home from my Nana’s house as I picked out a star in the sky and made an earnest wish. So I used the ceramic paint and drew out a phrase of the lyrics on each canvas. I then coated the letters in a gold glaze. As a final touch I painted the names of each constellation on the canvasses in the style of old star charts.
Orion – The hunter, which for me translated into goals and aspirations.
Andromeda – The chained lady, which I interpreted as obstacles.
Perseus – The hero, signifying support from others, whether it be moral or physical.
Ursa Major – The bear, since this constellation can be seen year round and is famously used for navigation, I interpreted it as routine and steady progress.
Sagittarius – The archer/centaur, my sun sign, that I designated as reevaluation and the creation of new goals.
Here is a panorama of where they have been hung in our livingroom.
And here is a photo collage of all of the pieces together.