After all my years of logophilia, I still get a thrill from discovering new words– especially words as enchanting as this one. Of course, that’s one of the reasons I love A.Word.A.Day. When Anu introduced me to “chatoyant” I couldn’t wait to paint this illustration!
It’s surprising that I never ran across this word before, because I’ve always had a thing for optical effects: oil rainbows on puddles, shot silk, iridescent glazes on pottery, even beetles plaguing the garden but entertaining my eyes. And you could probably already guess that I’m quite fond of cat’s eyes too!
Perhaps even more surprising, I’d never before experimented with interference colors— in part because they are fairly pricey & I was a little afraid that after one dose, I might develop an expensive new paint addiction. Also, as an illustrator I was taught to avoid reflective materials because they don’t scan well & it’s hard to reproduce their effects in print or on screen. But for this piece, I knew the time had come to take the plunge. Sure enough, its dazzle is very hard to get across in a still image, but I enhanced both the cat’s eyes & the frame texture with Golden Interference Green, & with the right lighting it creates a pretty cool flash effect!
I created a couple of crude gifs (below) that somewhat capture the chatoyant flash:
I’m also considering embellishing some prints of this image with interference paint on the eyes, so the print lovers out there can get in on the chatoyant action! What do you think? Please let me know in the comments below, or request a custom image in my Etsy shop.