Thursday, July 23, 2009


The beauty of night has always intrigued me as far back as I can remember. I have always been a nocturnal person and find most of my creative energy and ideas come to me in the late evening hours when everything is hushed. The nocturne paintings of Frank Tenny Johnson and Frederick Remington have fascinated me and I study them continuously.
  Painting nocturnes is one of my favorite subjects, especially painting them on location. During full moon and with the help of good weather, clear skies, and calm winds I venture out into the evening and head up to Rocky Mountain National Park. It can be a bit daunting being up there all alone at one or two in the morning, but that's part of the adventure and atmosphere I am trying to capture in the mystery and unknown the evening hours provide. I use a small book light that transmits a cool light, and I attach it to my easel which to see my pallet and my panel. I don't always keep it on either. I need to turn it off so I can take in the scene before me in it's natural light. I like painting by the light of the moon when I can and with that I paint almost by instinct. I get just enough information I need to capture that mystery of the dark and luminous moonlit landscape. I really never know what I end up with until I get home and see the painting in the light of day. It surprises me how very close I get to the accuracy of the colors and light.
  There is something about the beauty of a lodgepole pine silhouetted against the evening sky with stars dancing round it; or the contrast of a snowfield blanketed on a mountainside describing the shape of the crags and illuminating it's majesty; or the moon reflecting off a mountain lake interrupted by the wake of marauding beavers swimming only a few yards away. It can be intoxicating to me at times. I most enjoy feeling so alive when most of the population are tucked cozy in their sleep.
  These are a few of my studies I did during the July full moon. Perfect conditions and memorable experiences.

"Moon Shadow" 8 x 10
"Moonlight Serenade " (Sprague Lake) 8 x 10

1 comment:

Rosemary Carstens said...

These are lovely, Jake. I especially like the lower one. Nocturnes do take a special palette and you do that beautifully.