Moon Rise over the Saco

by Alden Cole on December 3, 2013 · 2 comments


acrylic on masonite panel, 22″ x 32″; framed in antique window sash, 25″ x 34.” In the collection of Selena Starbard

While in Dayton, Maine enjoying some fresh country air during late September this year, I rediscovered, amongst other possessions stored at the back of my brother Clark’s barn, a paperback on the work of Andrew Wyeth that I had bought when it was first published in 1973. Looking at his work brought back a flood of memories of that period when I was just beginning to paint myself; including the fact that I was so taken with Wyeth’s work in that volume that I wrote asking to apprentice with him. He never responded. If I had read the book, rather than just looking at the pictures, I would have realized why he wouldn’t respond. He cherished the privacy of making art, as I too have learned to cherish it. I read the whole volume this time around, being reminded again of what focus and single-mindedness Andrew brought to his spell-binding art. Has any artist made more moving use of white space?

Anyway, today’s painting, was accomplished the day after reading the volume’s essay  based on an interview with Andy, in which he made comments, which I can’t quote now because the book is presently in the hands of a friend in Vermont, which released me to be more experimental in paint handling than I’d had ever been. Brushes? who needs brushes? My hands really got into the act this time. Working with acrylics forces you to think and act quickly. You see the results.


The painting was executed in one day, Thursday, September 19th  – in daylight – preceding the full moon that occurred that very night. The masonite panel I used had been cut specifically to accommodate an old 6-pane window sash, minus glass, that was originally one of the barn’s windows. It had been removed years ago, when the barn was vinyl sided to save excess wear ‘n’ weather tear on the ancient barn boards, along with several other old window sashes. I cleaned the lot of them up a bit, deglazing the few actual glass panes that had survived, and have been creating paintings specifically for them since – the Looking Through Windows series, aka Inside, Looking Out. Since I can’t enjoy the country view of my youth in actuality, I’ve created virtual views of the landscape I grew up with, and to which my yearning soul is strongly attached.

I brought the painting back to Philadelphia at the end of September, framed it as I had planned, hung it in my gallery in a prime viewing spot, happy to once again have a moon rise painting to look at. The following weekend, October 5-6, I opened my home aka studio as part of POST –  Philadelphia’s Open Studio Tours. During Saturday afternoon’s open house, friends stopped by and wound up purchasing the painting. I was simultaneously thrilled (to sell my work and make some money) and bummed because I only got to live with the painting for about two weeks before it moved on elsewhere. This fact  – that it was the 3rd Moonscape painting that I had painted for myself in as many years, that caught someone else’s eye, who bought it for themselves  – is what convinced me to start thinking seriously about doing a series of Moon Paintings, which finally manifested as the painting started two weeks ago that I sent out yesterday… Next??

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Richards December 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm

It great to have the back story on the work that you are sending out daily by email, Alden. It’s a new moon tonight. Crescent moons are great too. I can see why people love your moonscapes!


Asima December 6, 2013 at 3:18 am

One of my favorites, if not THE favorite of your paintings!
Thanks for sharing your art, Alden! –Asima


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