Shi Shi Nocturne—Halo Around Venus

September 2023

Brian Mahieu

Shi Shi Nocturne—Halo Around Venus
May 6, 2023 9:04 pm
Olympic Coast Series, number seventeen
Shi Shi Beach, Olympic National Park
Oil on canvas
30 X 40 X 1.75 inches

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Shi Shi Nocturne—Halo Around Venus

Shi Shi Beach is an otherworldly place in the daylight. But in those liminal moments at first light, and nightfall it is utterely transcendent. On this particular night there was a full, flower moon rising in the east and this unbelievably bright object in the sky to the west. At first I thought it was a jet plane flying right at us, then wondered if it was a supernova or comet, or if it was a UFO or something. It turns out that is was Venus reflecting that brilliant moonlight and illuminating the darkened sea and towering sea stacks. We photographed until 10:30 pm but the moon never made it over the tops of the trees and the bluff in the east, then got up at 1:30 am and 4:30 am and never saw the moon.

In this piece I took great care to render the prismatic halo around Venus and and thought a lot about the asymetrical balance between the seastacks and Venus on the left and the final glow of the sunset on the right. I also wanted to make this piece very atmospheric and evocative and used rich layering of color and brushwork to accomplish that. I’m very excited about this piece and happy to have captured another mood of that evening.

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