…from maybe the Bronze Age or thereabouts, they might wonder at my ignorance when it comes to knowing when I am without a watch or calendar. I realized this the other night because it has been cloudy with oddly cold weather, even for winter, for over a month now at least. The painting above is about stargazing and moon-gazing, as it were. The three trees are spaced apart just about equally, and I like watching the moon, stars, and sometimes planets pass through the spaces. I painted this in several sections and at different times of night (yeah, another late night for me). The thing is, as much as I like observing such an ephemeris, I certainly don’t get a chance to do it nightly, nor have I recorded the positions of celestial bodies or phases of the moon other than this one painting… which is an abstracted recording of not one time, but several, so none of the locations of anything except the trees… and the cast shadow from my electric porch light, are fixed. Even the seasons are in flux. I painted this in mid autumn, but already knew winter would be snuffing out my enjoyment of late night stargazing with cold and snow, so I hinted at that passage of time as well with color.
But if you asked me right now what phase the moon was in couldn’t tell you without looking, or looking it up… or where I should start looking in the sky for it, or if I should even bother looking considering I’m snug down between two mountains and get a pretty small window of sky between them in the first place. An ancient person might wonder how I could be so ignorant as to not know such things as a matter of common sense.
Would an ancient person look at this painting as a total failure? (Beyond first freaking out over the brightness and amount of colors represented here.) To them, what kind of idiot would seek to visually represent the passage of time with no actual markers of moon phases? Such things are found in cave paintings. And no animals? I often amuse myself with thoughts of sending my artwork back in time a few eons for evaluation… or even forward.
Time is so important to understanding art. What we understand of a piece now may be totally different than what it communicated in the time it was made. We still don’t really know why cave paintings were made, only that they are some bona fide eye candy.
Perhaps the only thing certain here is those shadows, until my porch light bulb burns out, when it will be replaced with a compact florescent. (mmmmmmm…mercury.) Remind me to check the difference in this trope in the next eon or so.