|Blood Moon Rising, 10x10x.75" acrylic and ink on paper on cradled wood panel ©2018 Lynn Edwards|
I was so immersed in painting this, I was only barely aware of last month's news coverage of the Supermoon and concurrent partial lunar eclipse. Here in the Atlanta area, we were told by forecasters that it would be necessary to have an unobstructed view of the sky to the northwest in the pre-dawn hours to be able to see this phenomenon, said to occur only once every hundred years.
The painting was 99% finished when I locked up the studio and headed down to the house that evening. All it needed was my signature and varnish. Still, I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that it lacked something. I tend to be too much of a perfectionist, so I told myself to be content with it, let it go, and proceed to something else. Those were my thoughts as I fell asleep around midnight.
Shortly after 5:30 a.m. I was awakened by a bright light filtering in through the blinds in the bedroom. A very light sleeper, it doesn't take much to wake me up. In this case, it was this strange orange-tinted light shining directly in my face. Wondering if our neighbor's house was on fire, I opened the blinds. The neighbor's house was dark and appeared to be just fine. The light was coming from the largest moon I had ever seen. But the color of the moon was even more startling. If you're an artist who works in acrylic, you'll understand when I say it was Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold with a touch of Transparent Red Iron Oxide.
I couldn't take my eyes off that enormous moon. It was the most amazing sight -- the color of fire!. I had a perfect view of it, and as I watched the moon draw closer to the horizon, almost imperceptibly at first, a shadow began to slide across the face of it as the partial eclipse began. Minutes later, the moon slipped below the horizon and completely out of sight. I felt so lucky to have seen this once in a lifetime event, and awed by the extraordinarily beautiful thing I had just witnessed.
And then I realized what my painting needed. Originally I had painted its moon white with a hint of yellow -- like it usually appears when it's full and riding high in the heavens. But that wasn't what the painting wanted. As soon as the sun rose I was back in the studio, mixing up a glaze of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold and Transparent Red Iron Oxide. When I brushed the glaze onto the moon in the painting, it was transformed into a tiny replica of the moon I had seen just hours earlier - a full moon the color of flame, referred to throughout the ages as the Blood Moon. Not surprisingly, the painting almost titled itself: Blood Moon Rising. Rising because that's when the energy of the moon is at its most powerful, according to ancient wisdom. And because witnessing this very rare and magnificent phenomenon was a powerful and deeply spiritual experience for me.
Text and photo ©2018 Lynn Edwards