Astronomical paintings

I love the challenge of trying to paint and draw astronomical objects. I have painted the Earth a few times, but also the Moon, the nebula shown here, Jupiter, and done digital drawings of the Earth and Moon, and the Veil Nebula plus other objects. I have also drawn Jupiter and Saturn.

I’m not an expert. They were all done without measuring the positions of features or stars, so for a real astronomer they probably look totally inaccurate. Still the universe is a wonderful place and the objects in it are amazing.

So if you can recommend an object I could have a go at painting I would be interested. I can’t promise it will be perfect. But I would have a go.

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Skies

One thing about living in a temperate climate in the Midlands of England is the variations in the sky. We might have just had one of the hottest summer’s on record, but like most people here I am waiting for the rain to come back. The country usually gets enough, but at the moment satellite imagery shows the grass burnt to brown instead of the greens of summers. Trees seem to be fairing better because they have deep roots. But hopefully when the rain comes down from the sky the land will recover.

Skies….

Clouds fly on the breezes and winds,

Blue skies soon turn grey,

Magic sunsets illuminate the sky,

Stars shine out on high.

Shooting stars obscured by clouds,

Planet’s seem so bright.

Moon and Sun in turn appear,

Sometimes Moon hides Sun.

Look up, look up, into the air, not just to the ground,

Above your head the sky astounds,

The world below is gone.

 

Well I do like skies. There is something called the cloud appreciation society which has interesting information about clouds. They suggest blue skies are boring, and watching the different sorts of clouds is the thing to do, from cirrus, cumulo nimbus, asperatus, mammatus, stratus, so many names. New cloud formations identified. ..

Skies are such a barometer (no pun intended) of our atmosphere. I would hate to live in a country where the weather stayed the same for months.

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Don’t stare at me. .

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Instead of poetry a few words……

Large green eyes, look out of a dark green face. Paper thin skin, layers of chlorophyll ? What are you,  green, sap green, olive green, hookers green, lime green, a green apparition. Staring eyes that cast a spell over my mind. A sneer on your lips, worldly thoughts cascade in your brain.

What are you? Again, I think. Some mammalian plant? A simulacrum of humanity?

Leaves break out through your skin, vines, ivy, convolulus. Grow longer, twisting violently across your face. Your hair is fern fronds, feathery, tiny leaves on twining stems….

Your body is green as grass, a cauliflower and cabbage mass of leaves, courgette fingers, marrow thighs, feet stretching into the mud, but mobile like a human woman.

Veins like phloem and xylem gather fluids, rise up your trunk. Transpiration instead of breath. Are you deciduous or evergreen? Do you have an autumn season and wither into winter? Or are you still young in the cold months? Red berries blossoming on your lips? Heart of Oak or Yew?

You stand and stare at me. Looking into my room, glass holding back your strength. Your witch like hands or twigs beat on the widow pane. You cannot enter. But I cannot leave. Trapped by your tangled leaves. Tendrils fight their way in through the letter box. Green woman, earth, Gaia ….

 

 

Snow

IMG_20180801_223026_651something cool on a hot evening…

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Snow

Falling ice in slivers,

Mass of shakes and shivers.

The cold, blue white, icicle,

Rain turned soft, showy, beautiful.

All flakes are different they say,

None have the same symmetry. ..

Hexagonal, six sided

Wind and air embroidered.

Vast blizzard made of tiny stars devine

of silvered sheen, your shape defined.

Snow.

Cold.

White.

Feathered.

Chilling…..

Ways to prove the Earth is not flat!

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I keep hearing about people who think the Earth is flat so I decided to do a thought experiment to see if it is possible…

• If the Earth was flat it would be daytime all over the world at the same time, or night time all over the world.

• The sun would rise at the same time everywhere and set at the same time.

• There would be no equator, and all parts of the world would be at the same temperature.

• There would be no north and south poles and no northern or southern lights.

• There would be no need for time zones.

• Flat earthers say the horizon is flat, but that is because the globe of the Earth has a very large circumference.

• If the Earth was flat boats would not go over the horizon.

• If the Earth was flat you would be able to see all the way to the other side using a powerful telescope on top of a big building.

• If the Earth was flat we would be able to travel to the edge.

• A flat Earth would cast a flat shadow on the moon during an eclipse of the moon. (this is because the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon when it happens and if the Flat side was facing the Sun if would be overhead and you would not see the moon, but it would cast a circular shadow).

•  Finally….If the Earth is flat….what’s on the other side? Is it Elephants and Turtles all the way down? ( according to Terry Pratchett)

The live and dead tree

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The live and dead tree sits hard on the ground.

One twist of bark still attached…

Like Ivy clinging to the trunk,

Twisted knotted rope like round and taut.

 

Green leaves, large and serrated, sprout out,

Twigs and branches caught in the embrace,

Dead wood holds up life to the sun,

Wise, wide trunk so aged.

 

How did you die?

We’re you struck, hit, broken, by wind or storm?

Did you find disease in your skin?

Is the clinging umbilicus of your wooden baby your clone?

 

Your age is ancient, your body skeletal.

Your upper limbs and branches peeled of all skin.

But still you sit hard on the ground,

Immortal, in a way reborn.

Today’s drawings

Today I had the pleasure of going out with The Orme Art group for our annual trip to a landscape venue at an old house and its grounds in Staffordshire.

The weather was very windy,  so I decided to take a small sketch pad  and coloured pencils,  soft pastels, and fine tipped ink pens. I thought I had my portable chair in the back of the car but it wasn’t there when I opened the boot. Luckily there were chairs in the garden of the large house for us to use.

The other artists there were either painting with watercolours or acrylics, but we were in a reasonably sheltered spot, so they were not affected by the wind. There is something wonderful, sitting in a green space,  looking at the landscape, the shapes of the trees and leaves. Noticing where the shadows fall, which direction the light is coming from. Choosing the medium which is most appropriate for the drawing you are doing. I find using black pens are good for quick sketches, and outlining and shading shadowed areas. The pastels bought out the colours on an old tree, where only one section of bark was still attached and so only a few branches were still in leaf. I used the coloured pencils to try and give an impression of the solidity of the house with feathery leaves superimposed on the walls and windows. Finally I drew a quick sketch of one of the other artists as she painted the tree that I had drawn.

Having a small A5 sketch pad that is ring bound is really useful. You can draw across the whole page without it flipping shut on you. Yes the holes and wire can get in the way a bit, but being able to fold the whole book back allows for easier handling. You can use it in portrait or landscape positions, and it is easier to fold shut if you get caught in a sudden rainshower.

I spent about an hour on the drawing of the house, and 20 to 30 minutes on the landscape/tree. The quick sketch of my friend took about 15 minutes.

The one thing I should have worn is sturdy shoes! There were a lot of insects about and I’m lucky I didn’t get bitten!