Chatoyant Experiments Acrylic on text on canvas, 6" x 6"

Acrylic painting of cat on silk cushion with glowing green eyes by Leah Palmer PreissAfter 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.

4 thoughts on “Chatoyant Experiments Acrylic on text on canvas, 6" x 6"

  1. Doris Rempel

    You are an amazing artist. I have fallen in love with your work. Recently purchased a print and look forward to more. This could very well consume me! I love it. My late husband was an artist, fairly successful, has some paintings on permanent display at Harvard. I love his serene works. Pure transparent watercolors. but, your work is so enticing!!! I love it and want more. This last purchase is only my first. Thank you for making life an adventure in art. I am a somewhat mediocre writer. Last published an article in September in Houston magazine. I really cant wait to add some more of your work into my budget.

    1. Leah Post author

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Doris! I saw your order in the shop & your print will be on its way today. It’s good to “meet” you here & I look forward to getting to know you! I used to paint in watercolor years ago, but acrylics are much more forgiving, & as a somewhat mediocre painter, I frequently feel the need to make changes as I paint. ;-)

  2. Dick Kravitz

    Chatoyant, meet iridescent! It’s hard to top the pleasures of the word of the day, but your illustrations manage it. These are your usual wonderfulness.

    1. Leah Post author

      Thank you so much, Dick! I have such a good time illustrating for A.W.A.D.– Anu always picks words that almost seem to paint themselves!


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