Creativity Magazine

Lunar Orbit & Road Trip

Posted on the 29 March 2013 by Artbycedar

Here’s my most recent painting, “Lunar Orbit.” I had a sudden inspiration and overwhelming compulsion to paint the path of the moon’s orbit around Earth, and I wanted to somehow incorporate my trademark tendrils of color that show up in so many of my cosmic and sky-themed paintings.

I did not paint the Earth and moon to scale, nor did I attempt to show an accurate picture of the moon’s actual path through space on its perfect ellipse as happens in reality. This is a whimsical, artistic representation of the concept of the moon’s orbit–and I think I like it!

lunar orbit

Lunar Orbit. 20″ x 20″, Oil on Canvas. © Cedar Lee 2013

I recently got back home from a week-long road trip with my husband and our 3-year-old and 1-year-old. We traveled from our home in San Diego County (we are only about an hour’s drive north of the Mexican border) up the coast of California to Berkeley, where we visited family. Then I attended the Art of Painting in the 21st Century conference for painters near Sacramento. On our way back south, we went hiking in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, explored Santa Cruz, spent a day driving through Big Sur, stopped in Santa Barbara, and visited more family in Long Beach.

Here are a few photos from my trip:

Looking out on the ocean from the pier at Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo:


I started to feel twitchy from lack-of-painting (I get depressed and a little crazy if I go too long without painting) so I painted this pair of lovebirds on a wooden box for my sister-in-law while we were staying at her house. We found the box in a pile of stuff marked “Free” on the sidewalk while out on a stroll in Berkeley with my brother. She’s going to use it as a jewelry box. Score!


We saw miles and miles of this type of epic scenery while driving through the countryside. Beautiful vineyards and orchards, fields of veggie crops and cows grazing, with these rolling mountains and ginormous skies.


Gah! Every bit of California I’ve seen so far is just gorgeous. (Except, maybe…the traffic in L.A….)

This was in Big Sur. Foggy, misty, colorful, ethereal. I swear that place is magic:


Also Big Sur:


And the redwood forest! These are the coastal redwoods near Santa Cruz–these aren’t even the really super-big ones you think of–those are about 4 hours inland. We’re going to schedule a whole separate trip just for Yosemite. But even so, it was incredible. I’ve been painting redwoods using photos and my imagination for years, but this was my first time seeing them in person. I took hundreds of photos to use as source material for possible future tree paintings. My tree series is on the back burner for now while I’m expanding my Cosmic Dance series, but by no means do I think of it as over. There shall be more tree paintings, in time.


You can see the scale of the trees below. We hiked about 7 miles through the forest. The little figure in red is my 3-year-old, and the bigger one is my husband with the baby on his back. Don’t worry, we did not make our 3-year-old walk by himself the whole way–he was on my back for most of the way. That guy is getting heavy and I needed a break! :)


We stopped at a lot of playgrounds and parks to break up the driving. We found this one awwwesome playground in Santa Barbara. It had really neat play structures under the shade of a gigantic fig tree.


Despite the stress of traveling with little ones, one of the best parts of this trip was being able to spend so much focused time with my children, away from the studio, away from all the daily responsibilities of correspondence and housework and distractions.


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