Artist Stella Maria Baer recreates lunar surfaces using only water and paint
While commercial flights to the moon may become feasible in our near future, for now most of us can only dream of experiencing space firsthand. Connecticut-based artist Stella Maria Baer’s otherworldly watercolor paintings are inspiring Instagram’s cosmic daydreams.
Earning her more than 100,000 Instagram followers and counting, the paintings in Baer’s planetary series are instantly recognizable for their clean, minimalistic approach. The detailed planets often appear alone and centered on a starless white or black background, calling attention to the swirling colors on their marbled surfaces. Baer has painted Saturn, Mars, Pluto and Jupiter, several of the moons in our solar system as well as Earth’s moon. While developing the series, she has researched the planets’ elemental makeup and the myths behind their names.
The paintings were inspired by the April 2014 total lunar eclipse, Baer tells PSFK.
Last April I saw a photograph of the moon the day of the lunar eclipse, and I decided to make a painting. I was struck by how flooding the surface of the paper with water and then bleeding in the paint created a texture that resembled the natural surface of the moon. I’d been using that technique in my paintings for years but had never realized how much the washes look like photographs from space. That discovery inspired the series of paintings that followed.
Baer paints with oils as well as watercolors, preferring to switch back and forth between each medium as she works in her studio. Her previous works include a series of animals riding on top of other animals and prismic studies of crystals.
Prints of the planetary series are available on Baer’s website, for those who would like to create a window to space in their homes. She is also in talks with galleries about an art show later this year, the details of which she will announce on her website and Instagram.