The lower photograph was taken by Deborah Klein earlier this year when I was painting the moon from our balcony in Abbotsford. I wanted a more complicated composition, more than a quick sketch might achieve where there isn't enough time to think about structure.
When painting clouds crossing the moon, time is a consideration. Clouds change so quickly that trying to capture something of the night moments is almost a race before too much change takes place in the sky.
One often hears it said that artists capture a fleeting moment in time but that is not literally true. To capture a moment in time, time would have to stand still so it can be captured. Working from life is about constructing a picture that reflects what it was like being there for those short moments or even hours, but in a way that looks like time did stand still. Memory and feeling come into play to conjure a picture that seemingly is a fleeting moment.
Matisse pointed out the difference between a sketch and a more considered work, when he said that a sketch has freshness while a more considered image has a greater sense of structure.
Although this painting from my balcony started from life, I added to it in the studio as well, trying not to paint over the initial sketch too much, exploring the possibility of making a painting that has both freshness and structure.
Clouds Passing the Moon, 2016, oil on MDF, 40.5 x 50.75 cm