One of my most popular drawings of this year is my Luna Moth colored pencil drawing. Part of its allure is that it looks 3D, like the moth just landed where I drew it. The other part is the fact that it was drawn on a wooden stool!
How The Idea Developed
This year was full of experimental artwork for me, which was therapeutic in a number of ways, especially because with my health and life, this has been a rough year.
In January, you may remember I participated in a charity fundraiser using artwork, done by Rustic Roots in Shelburne, VT. The fundraiser was called the Heart Show, where each artist received a laser-cut piece of wood in the shape of a heart as our canvas. Over 75 artists participated and the proceeds from those pieces, which were auctioned off, went to one of my favorite organizations: Spectrum Youth & Family Services.
When I first received my wooden heart, I didn’t think I’d be able to draw on it with colored pencil. I thought I’d have to cut out a piece of paper to adhere to the wood and draw on that, but I was shocked at how well the wood held the pencil. Above you can see the final product, Kitten Heart, and how well the color showed up on the wood surface.
After that piece, I went and bought more wood with which to experiment. It was so much fun! Below are just a couple of the pieces I did after that, experimenting with the color on different types of wood.
The Next Step: Furniture
There’s a great place in Burlington, VT that makes unfinished (and finished) furniture called Sam’s Wood Furniture. I walked in there one day with the idea that I might want to try drawing on a piece of furniture, and found a room full of gorgeously crafted potential wood furniture for me to draw on!
Knowing that sometimes I can be too ambitious, I held myself to only getting two pieces of furniture, one a stool, and one a small coffee table.
When I told the owner of Sam’s what I was going to be doing with them, he was surprised and fully supportive, excited about what the finished products might look like. That kind of enthusiasm really helps drive the creation of pieces like these!
On the next nice day we had, I found myself dragging the stool out to my deck and starting a drawing of a Luna Moth. I was so focused, I didn’t take very many photos as I created the drawing.
I started with a line drawing, like I always do, in graphite, which I learned quickly does not erase from this type of wood! Thankfully, that worked out okay, but if this drawing had been any lighter, that graphite line would have shown through more and been a problem.
After the line drawing, I started layering in the color. This wood is very smooth, meaning it doesn’t allow for too many layers of color, something else I learned the hard way. I’m used to adding 10-40 layers of color, and this drawing has about 4-5 at its maximum because of the smoothness of the wood.
I knew I wanted this piece to look 3D, so adding the shadow was going to make or break the drawing. Thankfully, it turned out well and helped the drawing look like the Luna Moth had just landed on the stool. I’ve never done a drawing quite like this, with such a distinct shadow, so it was an experiment all its own!
The Finishing Touches
After the drawing was finished, I had to varnish it with a clear acrylic varnish, with multiple layers, and then I urethaned the entire stool a number of times.
The varnish deepened the colors of the drawing, making it look more vibrant, and then the urethane did the same for the rest of the wood. I very carefully finished the entire stool with polyurethane, adding many layers so that it is well protected and shines. Then I signed it and urethaned it one last time, to seal the signature in.
This piece is for sale! This stool, with an original drawing on its surface, is only $350, not including shipping. The stool is approximately 14 inches in diameter, flat, and can be used as a stool, a little table, or just a decorative piece of artwork! It’s functional and beautiful.
If you’re interested in buying this piece, contact me.