I’m partial to nocturnes—paintings of the night—and Little Windows II, our current all-gallery show of small paintings, has several beautiful ones I’m eager to share with you here.
Terry Miura, who did the painting at right, sometimes tapes to the top of his easel a piece of paper with the word “mystery” on it, and it’s a good bet that the art of the nocturne exerts the strongest pull on painters who prize this quality. Especially here in California, the nod has to go to Charles Rollo Peters (1862-1928), who the poet George Sterling called the “Master Painter of Nocturnes” and Ambrose Bierce called the “Prince of Darkness.” Under Peters’s hand the landscape proved at least as moving in the mysterious light of the moon as it is when under the sun. As one critic said of the artist’s mastery of moonlight, “He has reduced it to canvas so you may bathe in it, dream in it—even grow foolish in it, so true is the mystic spell.”
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