Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Moonlight Bay by Richard Thompson

  • Title: Moonlight Bay
  • Artist: Richard Thompson
  • Medium: Acrylic on canvas
  • Size: 68"h x 74"w
  • Creation date: 1992
  • Added to collection: 2019
  • Donor: The Bill Rhoades Collection, a gift in memory of Murna and Vay Rhoades
  • Campus: Rock Creek
  • Location: B3/2 Hallway gallery

This large painting by Richard Thompson combines the whimsical forms of vintage Merrie Melodies cartoons and the mysterious luminosity of stained glass windows.  Under a full moon flanked by mountains peaked uniformly like whipped cream, a lake slips downwards to another body of water like a giant tongue.  Bare trees and rocks glisten in the moonlight like hard candy.  Everything is as artificial as a marzipan village but also strangely silent and somber, cloaked in intense Ultramarine blue, Cadmium yellow and Sap green.  The dissonance between the whimsical drawing and the grandeur of the scene makes for a refreshing balance between solemnity and goofiness, indicating we are in the presence of a unique visual intelligence who embraces contradictions.  “One of the things I’m really interested in is creating stillness in painting in an era of intense movement in many other art forms... that force the viewer to take in images quickly. I relish the idea of art slowly revealing its content.” This painting rewards prolonged looking.