Friday, August 28, 2009
Waxing Gibbous...Cathy Johnson
The moon affects us in so many ways. Of course it is both mysterious and romantic, despite all we have learned about it, scientifically, since the mid-20th Century. It captures our imagination and illuminates our nights. Sometimes it is bright enough to read by; sometimes it casts deep shadows. You may see a ring around the moon that foretells weather. You may even, on some rare and delightful occasion, see a moon-dog, a faint prismatic bar of color caused by the moon's light reflecting off particles of frozen moisture. (Read more about moon dogs HERE and other moon-related phenomena HERE.)
Once upon a time in a galaxy far away (ok, not really, but it might as well have been--it was 1989!), when I was writing natural history books, I got to do one entitled The Nocturnal Naturalist: Exploring the Outdoors at Night. It's long out of print, of course, and available only as a used book. But the time I spent outdoors at night for a full year, watching the changing of the guard between wildlife that is active in the daylight hours and their nocturnal counterparts, smelling flowers that open only at night, and listening to ice form...it was as if I'd discovered another country, at once alien and inviting.
All the illustrations are scratchboard, and it was SO much fun learning to use this strongly graphic medium--you can see one of the pieces on the cover, below.
The moon's power affects the tides; a basic explanation can be found HERE.
A friend who worked in the emergency room of a huge hospital back east tells me it also affected US, and not for the better. The full moon seemed to bring out the craziness in us, and they saw more accidents, overdoses, drunks and victims of violent crime on full moon nights than at any other time.
I've painted the moon many times over the years, from full to waning to gibbous, as it is right now--these are a pair of tiny ACEOs, 3 1/2" x 2 1/2", done on gesso-coated watercolor paper. The top one is "Winter Owl"--you can read more about it on my Fine Arts Gallery blog, HERE.
(Playing-card sized ATCs are "artist trading cards," and that's how the phenomenon started out--but many people who were not artists wanted to collect these little jewels, too. So ACEOs were born--still the size of a playing card, but "artist cards, editions and originals" to meet this need. Some ACEOs are prints and some are still original, as are these.)
As you may have noticed, I added a moon-phase calendar to our blog here, in the sidebar. I love knowing where we stand in the lunar cycle. The widget is free, but you can buy some fascinating software from the website that tells you past and future moon cycles and much much more. Click HERE to see much more!