Sawtooth Moonlight

  • Sawtooth Moonlight.jpg
  • Sawtooth Moonlight framed.JPG
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A chilly night in the Sawtooth range inspired this work. While the moon was only a large crescent, its light in the dry, clear air radiated so brilliantly as to show the rest of the orb.

 It immediately brought to mind a song by the Waterboys, “The Whole of the Moon”.  The song is about inspirational figures, not just one but the amalgamation of many and the varied paths on which they shine a light.  

This night featured dramatic lighting and rich hues, and heightened my gratitude in being there to appreciate nature’s show. I was surprised how much of my sketchbook I could see in such low light. Repeating the lyrics to myself, I was struck by the literalness.  I was seeing the crescent, but was being shown the whole in the reflective light from the sun - similar to a comet blazing its trail. And just as the lyrics predict, I was grounded while the moonlight filled the sky.  

This work is framed in gallery black wood and shadowbox style. The acrylic glazing is anti-reflective, anti-static, scratch-resistant and 99% UV filtering. Framed size is 14.5" x 12.75" x 1.25".

Natural Rhythm Series:

This series of work reflects my experiences attempting to avoid smoke of the 2020 wildfire season on the West Coast. While Covid-19 complicated things, I was able to travel in my van safely and mostly escape the ill effects of smoke. My sketches and studies were the meditations to spark ideas.  Developing the images further in my studio has allowed me to expand on my thoughts of this time and enjoy the natural beauty once more. 


“My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through earth's loveliness.” Michelangelo


The difference between the clear and smoke filled days was dramatic, and reflected different palettes, vistas and depth of field. I perceived stronger, brighter colors as the air cleared after a few days of smoke.  Using a glazing technique on these pieces reflects that intensity. The same technique helped build the muted warm colors and indistinct shapes viewed through the veil of smoke in other works. A subtle shift in wind changed a scene in such a brief period of time I was inspired to record the environmental dichotomy, among other things. 

 While fire is a necessary element of earth’s ecology, the combination of climate change, over 100 years of suppression, and the increase in population in the wildland-urban interface has created yet another devastating fire season. How are humans going to manage this conflict going forward? What clarity can be gained and which solutions will be obscured? The natural rhythm may be ancient, but each generation must learn to adjust as the rhythms change during its time here. My reflections ask more questions than they answer, and I hope my work brings you peace with the chaos of these thoughts. 


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Kristen Dunkelberger
Painting - Framed with Plexi
Watercolors, Canvas
8.26 inches wide
6.50 inches tall
0.00 inches deep
4.50 lbs
Crowley Lake, CA, US