Monday, April 18, 2011

Painting through the Universe: Mercury

I've been hesitating about posting my latest Mercury painting for a number or reasons.

Initially I had a hard time getting started on this one. The source materials were quite varied and I couldn't decide what look to go for. Finally I decided to just start something and see what happened.

After a few watercolor washes and a couple of details were added, everything started to go a little more smoothly. Until mud happened. That oh-so-easy-to-achieve state where all the colors start to turn into brown/gray mush. I kind of panicked, made a spur of the moment decision, and in the process of trying to cover up the mud, just ended up with a bigger mess. Think mud on top of mud. 

The result is below. I did not originally plan for the background to be black or for the shadow to be there. They are both byproducts of the panicking and covering up process.

I was so intent on fixing the "mud" issue that I paid no attention to the correct placement of the shadow. If you're thinking to yourself that something about the shape is off I totally agree. I would like to go back and fix it, but I think I need to just step back from this one for a while before trying to "fix" things again. In the spirit of continuing my project and not getting stuck on Mercury I am going to go ahead and share it.

Thoughts and suggestions are most welcome!

Onward to Venus!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Painting through the Universe: About Mercury

Up next on our artistic journey through the Solar System is, you guessed it, Mercury! Here are a few quick links to learn more about this planet and get inspiration for this week's painting:

Nasa Mercury Profile

A Few Mercury Images from MESSENGER (on Bad Astronomy Blog)

National Geographic Information on Mercury (be sure to check out the Size Comparison tab)

Happy art times!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Painting through the Universe: The Sun

As I mentioned in my last post, the first subject for my Painting through the Universe project was the Sun. I was really excited about this one because I am often struck by how amazing our Sun is; without it we wouldn't exist! 

In my initial searching about the Sun I found two very helpful pieces of information. One, many NASA images are not copyrighted and are available for use by the general public. More on that can be found at the "Using NASA Imagery and Linking to NASA Websites" page. I was concerned about where I was going to find source materials for my Painting Through the Universe project because, like many people I'm sure, I don't have my own copies of space photos. The NASA policy on using images will be a great thing to keep in mind for the future.

The second piece of NASA awesomeness is this page all about our star

After all of that, here is my Sun painting! A lot of the process was me just experimenting with watercolors. I wanted it to "glow" but still have a crust. Several times throughout the process I thought I had completely messed up the whole thing. I grew up watching Bob Ross and his "happy little accidents" so instead of scrapping the painting and starting over, I left the mistakes. Sure enough most of them turned out to be "happy."

I'd love to hear what you think about it and see your Sun-themed art!