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A closely guarded secret (more so the older I get), is that I was born in 1969. Well actually it’s not closely guarded at all really, in fact I love having been born in 1969!

It was the year that man first set foot on the moon. An era of rocket ships and space travel. An era of techno’ pioneering for a modern age. Just like the plot of Toy Story, cowboys were out and astronauts were in!

Well, on the Saturday morning that was August the 25th I woke up with inspiration for a new painting. I had just completed a project and I needed an idea to get under way for the coming Monday. I was cutting it very close to the wire, so the idea came as a very welcome revelation indeed.

The image I had in my mind on that Saturday morning was one of the moon. Not much else, just the idea that painting the moon on a large canvas might be pretty cool. So later that morning I went out and bought a 1mtr square canvas. Initially I thought I was going to draw a blank, because most of the canvas in the shop were bent, but tucked at the back of the stack were two completely different and entirely superior canvases. Incidentally, if you’ve never painted a large canvas and thought you might like to give it a go, if you don’t make it yourself, you might want to check it fits in the car first. Mine did… just! I had to slide through the back hatch and the kids had to hold it over their heads like some sort of peculiar canvas parasol.

Anyway, so the idea was in place and the canvas procured. I just had to wait until Monday to begin work.

This is where things get a little surreal. You see later that day I started to pick up rumours (that would later be confirmed) that Neil Armstrong had died. Mr. Moon himself had passed away on the very day that I had received the idea to do a lunar skyscape.

So the project was going to be partly elegiacal (thought I’d slip in that unusually long and impressive word there… I had to look it up. It means “In literature, an elegy is a mournful, melancholic or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead”).

Apart from the elegiacal (used it again there) element, the painting is a comment against the exploitation of space. Chiefly the mining and exploitation of the moon for its mineral or metal wealth. In my view the moon doesn’t belong to any country or corporation just because they land there and stick a flag in it and happily, “at present, nations are forbidden under international treaty from making territorial claims to the moon”*. The moon is not The New World to be raped and plundered by techno conquistadors, it should be under international and global guardianship and I find the idea of new venture space .coms exploiting* it offensive… good grief that was quite a political rant!

The text radiating out from – or to – the moon is a selection of quotes from some of our best poets (except the anon piece, that’s me) that have been inspired by its beauty, serenity and other qualities.

Apologies for the poor cameraphone quality, but perhaps because of its size the painting is really difficult to capture. The full picture is a pretty good representation of the colouring, but the detail shots hopefully help too. If I get a chance to use a better camera I might update the shots. The text “NOT FOR SALE” is in vermillion as is the strip along the left edge. I have no explanation for the red strip, other than it seemed necessary. Oh and the two wooden pegs along the base are part of the easel.


Detail of text in clouds.

Robert Frost – excerpt
I’ve tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.

Vita Sackville-West – excerpt
Then do the clouds like silver flags
Stream out above the tattered crags,
And black and silver all the coast

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – excerpt
Now hidden in cloud, and now revealed,
As if this phantom, full of pain,
Were by the crumbling walls concealed,

Song of Solomon 6:10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

Full or crescent, bright or pale, the moon in essence is not for sale

*http://www.specintel.com/lunarROC/index.htm and  *http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/oct/27/comment.comment