8 April, 2024

In 2017, 2024, and 2045 three solar eclipses will have been within a 150 mile radius of my house. What are the odds? (I’ll be 79 in 2045 so fingers crossed I get to experience that one.)

I made this painting last year called Carrying the Moon. I honestly didn’t know it was going to be an eclipse-inspired painting going in, but after I added those crescent shapes on the bottom I knew.

I’m lucky enough to have a physics professor for a friend. In 2016 (or earlier) she would tell anyone who’d listen about the Great Eclipse in 2017. She even carried around a scale model of the solar system in her trunk to help illustrate the phenomenon and a box of eclipse glasses. Her excitement was infectious and after seeing totality I understood why.

Seeing totality was the first time I comprehended the way the earth, sun, and moon work together. I’d watched dozens of videos, read about it, tried to draw it out, but being the visual learner that I am, I never fully digested the mechanics until 2017 in Pennyrile State Park, Kentucky. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen and I was forever changed by the experience.

Around 5:30 yesterday morning, my husband, two dogs and I headed to Lake Charles State Park in Arkansas. This time I noticed the change in light more. The water and horizon line added so much to the experience. Rarely do I like going to places where people gather, but I like being in State Parks during eclipses because the cheer during totality is a beautiful human connection.

I’d like to make a painting that describes the feeling of awe I had in both eclipse experiences, although I’m not sure if it’s actually possible. But I do have these shapes I keep coming back to. In these two quick sketches I made before ever seeing an eclipse – a collage and a little painting – are the crescent shapes that have been showing up in my work since I made my first mark.