My inspiration for this is a small copper painting by Adam Elsheimer, “The Flight into Egypt.” Painted in 1609, it was the first painting of its kind which showed the biblical scene in a nocturnal forest, as described by Matthew (2:13). His contemporaries marveled at his rendering of the Milky Way, which has never been depicted before. I was struck by the lush quietness permeating this nocturnal scene. The moon in the picture reminded me of the many full moons which have taken my breath away. Few scenes elicit a mysterious mood as beautifully as a nocturne.
Here is a preliminary sketch. When I have an idea for a painting, I quickly scribble in the composition. Sometimes I go straight to the panel in oils with only a cursory plan, as I did with “In the Moonlight.”