This is a watercolour illustration copied from a photograph in 1983; a very busy period of mine where artwork and photography is concerned.
I can’t remember or locate the exact source of this subject, except that it was definitely from a hardback book, although the actual image represented here is somewhat removed from the original due to personal style and alternative detail.
The tree is meant to represent an old oak. The image of the Moon is just a rough sketch and the dark markings on its face, merely a misty impressionistic view and not guaranteed to be entirely accurate. I don’t have a telescope or binoculars as yet, but I claim artistic licence. I recall turning the Moon’s image upside-down for some reason, but I can’t remember why. Possibly it was all the Science fiction of alternative Earths and parallel universes I’d been reading about influencing me – or maybe I thought that’s what it might look like from Australia.
When I look at this illustration I receive impressions of nocturnal landscapes flooded with ghostliness, isolation and loneliness, but also of restfulness, peace and tranquility. In fact, the whole scene would be far lonelier without the Moon.
The Moon is not just a companion, it is virtually a required necessity to all life on Earth. We’d be at a great loss without our Moon because without it we might not be here, as together with other factors such as the Snowball Earth Ice-Age of 650 million years ago, which helped to trigger the evolution of complex multicellular life from single-celled organisms; so the Moon also helped to create conditions for life on Earth as we know it today.
Once, long ago, the Moon was much closer to us appearing much larger in the skies.
We acquired the Moon by a collision with a Mars-sized neighbouring world about 50 million years after the formation of the Earth. This gave us our tidal motion but more importantly, initiated and maintained the plate tectonic system essential to the biosphere and it also affected our speed of rotation, thus determining our length of day.
Over the eons, this speed of rotation has slowed down as the moon has gradually moved further away, with the result that our day is currently approximately 24 hours long and will grow longer still as the Moon recedes yet further from us.
Originally our day was much shorter and the Moon was huge in our skies, hurrying across like some madman from horizon to horizon in just six hours. Although at that time life had not arisen, so there were no living creatures to observe the phenomenon.
Still, that’s the Moon for you, circling round the Earth every month like some loner and gradually receding further, showing off all its phases such as ‘Full’ ‘Crescent’ ‘Gibbous’ [that’s ‘Hunchbacked’ to you] ‘Half’ – and, referring to one of the most well-worn phrases of North American Native tribes from Western movies: “Many Moons Ago, Paleface come to this Land’. Now I wonder, were they referring to the Moon, or to the Europeans?
Dave Draper 2014
SEE ALSO –
The Earth: Located in ART under Landscape.