Many parts of the country had a clear night for the supermoon that shone on November 14. Plein air painters responded. Hey, it’s another excuse to get together and paint nocturnes. Here are some reports from a few artists.
A supermoon occurs when the moon appears full to us at the same time that its elliptical orbit brings it close to the earth. The November 14 supermoon is the closest the moon will look to us until October 25, 2034.
It truly is closer, and thus looks slightly larger. But mostly, it’s a good opportunity to paint the moon. Wendie Thompson painted it from her vantage point in Wisconsin, and encouraged others through social media to do so as well. “It was such amazing fun to know that artists all over the world were engaged in capturing the same thing I was,” she says. “What a serendipitous moment!”
Spencer Meagher knew the supermoon was coming, and he was glad to be able to catch it — kind of. “I had been waiting for two weeks to paint the 70-year super moon,” he says. “Over the weekend, as I drove home from a workshop in St. Louis around 4 pm, I watched it rise in the east as the sun was setting in the west. The sunset’s beautiful colors enhanced the magnificence of the moon. The evening of the supermoon, after watercolor class, I hurriedly found a suitable country location to paint. I was in position by 3:45 and began sketching in my scene and laying in colors. You can imagine my surprise when first 4 p.m. came and went and then 4:30, and NO MOON! By 5 o’clock it was getting dark-ish and still NO MOON! Without a moon to paint, I improvised and put it in from my memory of last night’s drive home. I finally asked Siri what time the moonrise was and it wasn’t until almost 5:30. I guess that will teach me to do my homework in the future.”
In Virginia, Kyle Buckland found that the supermoon was casting an unusual shade across the land. “I love the enchanted mystery found in a moonlit scene, and this was no exception,” says Buckland. “The supermoon was so bright that it made the woods seem very dark by contrast, and I tried to exaggerate this contrast to create even more vibrancy in the sky and moon. The more I stared at the sky, the more I realized it wasn’t blue or purple, but instead an intense green that cast its hue across the landscape.
And in Arkansas, Jason Sacran sort of lucked into having a chance to paint the supermoon. “My mom called me telling me to make sure the girls (I have four daughters) see how big the moon was that night,” says Sacran. “They just so happened to be out of town, at a Wild Kratts Live event, so I had the night to do whatever I wanted. And I remembered it was the supermoon, and the rarity of it, so I decided to paint it. It was a beautiful night too, so I had a great time.”