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ARTIST: Paul Augustinus
TITLE: Sky Fragment
SIZE: 117cm x 181cm
Oil on Canvas

Moonlit wilderness
A full moon glows from behind the clouds in the Chobe National Park in Botswana
'Such feelings come from our crocodile brain where we store the genetic emotions felt by our ancestors'

'There is nothing more mysterious than a moonlit night in the African bush. I would guess that looking up at the moon and marveling how bright it is would be something that most people have experienced. It’s also something done when one is somewhere remote. Somehow, it's not the same in a city where one tends not to sit out in the open looking up at the sky. No, this is very much a wilderness pastime where there are no TVs or tablets.
When the moon is full the surrounding countryside is lit up in a very primordial way and one can see just a hint of a colour in the silver grey landscape. The moon can be dazzling to look at directly but when clouds are about the moon’s cone of light illuminates the edges of these clouds in very dramatic fashion. There is good reason why we feel serene when bathed in moonlight. Such feelings come from our crocodile brain where we store the genetic emotions felt by our ancestors when all of humanity were hunter-gatherers. Moonlight nights were a relief from the dark and the dangerous. The phases of the moon, which show the passage of time and season, are etched in our genes and behaviors even now in this near science fiction world of ours. And you can feel that connection with our distant past very strongly when you look out over a moonlit wilderness landscape. These special nights are nature's serene answer to the harsh light of daytime. Our eyes are relaxed and completely wide open, not scrunched up as they are during the day. Best of all, in Africa at night many interesting animals start moving about, but only when there is a moon is up can you see them. It might be bushbabies flitting about in the branches above. Or Nightjars banking and turning between trees and bushes. Or nothing at all - but no matter! I do a lot of sitting outside when the moon is up.'


A Paul Augustinus painting of a night sky with clouds backlit by a hidden moon