Night. Our limited vision at night colors the concept for humans. It can have an edge – or more than an edge – of fear: the unseen assailant, the “things that go bump in the night.” Night’s darkness offers a kind of freedom as well: think of block parties at night, dancing and kissing in the dark. And darkness can feel cocooning, especially on soft summer nights.
In paintings, night scenes are a wonderful way to focus on light. A nocturne, after all, is all about light: the light from buildings or cars or signs or the moon.
My most recent painting is a nocturne. In this, I wanted to express first the welcoming quality of the light from a house. Your house, perhaps, or mine; this is meant to represent more a concept of home than any particularity. In my imagination, it’s a gentle summer evening. It has rained, but now the sky is clearing. The moon is there too, but I wanted the viewer to find it later, a kind of sweet reminder of the rural night.
“Welcome Home,” 12″ x 9″
Here are some other nocturnes I’ve done over the years.
“December Walk,” 9″ x 9″
This bridge in Montpelier had been strung with Christmas lights and then is snowed heavily. I loved the bright blurs of the lights under the snow. When this couple walked across the bridge hand in hand, I knew I had my image. Here is night as a time for romance and magic.
“Rural Mailbox,” 9″ x 12″
This is from a photo taken at our village’s Fourth of July fireworks. It is not quite dark and the crowd is gathering, laying down blankets on the field and chatting with neighbors. Here is a warm summer night. As you look at the house, imagine the sound of voices and children running around laughing and the feeling of anticipation behind you.
“Rainy Montpelier Night,” 9″ x 12″
Umbrellas and people standing in doorways: the rain has stopped for the moment. I loved the wash of reflected neon on the sidewalk. Here is night in town, with the shops and restaurants inviting you in.