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Painting by Moonlight

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

On full moon nights, I like to paint in the dark. I stumbled on this practice by accident. I was taking an on-line mixed media journaling class called, “Painting the Feminine” with Connie Solera. We were encouraged throughout the class to try things that took artmaking out of our heads and away from the have-tos. We were encouraged to paint from sensation.

First, we got to know our brushes by putting on music and dancing with them, by dry brushing the palms of our hands, by swirl-painting the air. We were shown how to choose colors and make marks based on attraction to paints and tools in the moment, forgetting anything we had learned about technique, leaning more on our intuition. We painted in sketchbooks. The thinking behind it is that when we focus on the practice and the process more than on the product, we experience more freedom. Painting and collecting paintings in an art journal or re-purposing an old book diminished the pressure of putting a piece on a pedestal, or holding a finished creation too preciously.

One full moon night during the pandemic, I couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning with overwhelm, I worried about loved ones and their health, worried about my health, my work, our finances, worried about the whole damn world. I told myself I was even getting behind on the fun stuff, my beloved painting class, though there was no such thing as getting behind, as the classes were made available indefinitely. Since sleep wasn’t coming, I decided to get up and paint.

As I climbed the stairs to my studio, I was drawn to the moon casting a shaft of veiled light across the wide-open page of my journal on the table. The light was inviting and felt tender. I had the sudden urge to slip off my nightgown. Like I'd been taught, I stood naked in front of the wide open page, took some deep breaths, felt the paper, connecting to a canvas of possibility. Without turning on the lights, I felt around and reached for a brush, then I painted the moon. This practice has become a monthly ritual.

("Full Moon in Pemaquid" by Jodi Paloni)

I associate full moon energy with bigness, brightness, boldness, with heightened energy and expansion, with nakedness and howling. I’m captivated by the rich quality of the light, the bulbous shape hovering, the shadows cast on my bedroom walls. Though the actual full moon lasts only a moment, when the sun and moon are directly opposite each other in the sky, I’ve always sensed the energy of this time a few days before and a few days after that particular moment. I feel the buzz of thoughts and ideas around possibility, of reaching out, of creating a splash. I notice for about a week around a full moon, I want to revel, to party, alone and with others. I’m more extroverted, more chatty, more collaborative, even more productive. I want to save the world, or at the very least, make a few of my dreams and help a few of your dreams come true.

James Woods said, “If you strive for the moon, maybe you’ll get over the fence.”

Or, as the mentor for my coaching certification program told me when I was starting my business a few years back, “Think big. Start small. Act now.”

These sentiments make a lot of sense. They cool my fiery bursts, especially when the moon is in Leo.

I don’t about you, but I tend to waffle between the extremes that anything is possible and I’ve got a long steep hill ahead of me and it’s too gosh-darn hard climb. When looking for the middle ground, I think, Jodi, just take a step.

Want to take a step with me?

This full moon time, I invite you to do something creative you wouldn’t normally do, like paint in the dark, or maybe write in the dark. On a hike, make a tower out of teetering rocks. Repurpose on old shirt into a new shirt with a pair of scissors. Create an ephemeral collage in nature out of sticks and leaves, or write a message, and then leave it for someone to find.

(Found art on the LaVerna Trail)

Or take a comfortable creative practice and approach in new ways. Make your favorite standby, a vision board out of magazine pictures and glue, but pin it to a tree in a public space. Perhaps it will help someone else with their vision. Make full moon cookies cutting dough with the rim of a jelly jar and eat them with your sweetie out under the stars. Make and eat a gorgeous salad for breakfast.

You get the idea. I can’t wait to hear about what you decide to do!

~ Jodi xo

PS: If you want to write with a bevy of other writing beauties as part of your taking a next step, check out our Gateless Writing Salons where we’ll shake loose some of the old ties that bind, let whatever wants to come to spill forth on the page.

(Photo credit: Blue Horse Photography)


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