Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Crescent Moon, Venus and Earthshine

Earthshine... what a lovely word! I probably learned it as a youth, but paying attention to science, history and math really wasn't my thing back then :)  Just imagine if illustrated nature journaling was part of my school's classroom curriculum.... ooh, la, la... what fun it would have been to learn these subjects through art!

Best seen during Crescent Moon phases (the one to five day period before or after a New Moon), Earthshine is caused by direct sunlight on the earth that reflects onto the Moon which creates the smoky glow of the shadowed portion of the moon.

Click on the Earthshine link above for great information from NASA including these goodies:
Scientists in recent years have found that Earthshine is most intense during the northern spring months of April and May.  I could only see a milky glow even through binoculars.  But during the spring, you'll be able to see the Moon's features :)

Leonardo Di Vinci explained this phenomenon nearly 500 years ago!

This sketch by Leonardo is part of the Codex Leicester, written by Da Vinci between 1506 and 1510!  Oh, the mind this Renaissance artist had. Leonardo's journals and notes show what an "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination" he possessed.

Wouldn't it be marvelous to give each child a sketchbook to call their own. A place for them to discover their world, make their own observations and conclusions. What a way to learn :)

This is my quest. Step by step I'm making in-roads into schools: Visiting Artist at Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville last April and last week, leading a Beaufort County School District Teachers Workshop: How to Integrate Nature Journaling into the Classroom.  But more on that for my next post :)

After sunset tonight, take a peek at the sky to see Venus, the Crescent Moon and Earthshine for your very own. Venus will be to the lower left tonight.  Happy viewing and hopefully painting!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Wedding Day Walk

A Wedding Day Walk by PJBee
Today,  I happened upon a co-worker with his girl friend.  They were especially dressed up and I just had to ask what was going on :)  "We were just married!!"

Well, I thought a watercolor sketch of where they first walked as husband and wife was in order, so I used this image as the front of a card that was produced through iPhoto on Apple.  Now, I anxiously await delivery of the card so I can give it to them :)  I love surprises!!

























Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Full Owl Moon


I've been tickled for weeks as January's Full Moon falls on my birthday this year :)  How great is that.... a present from the cosmos!

The morning started off with total cloud cover, but the forecast called for clearing. Sure enough, when I took the dogs for their late afternoon walk the sky was beautiful and the temperature in the mid 60s.  I knew the moon would rise over the trees around 6:45 so I happily assured myself of a clear moon rise.

Jumpin' Joe!  Where did all these clouds come from! Geesh, you go inside for dinner and all kinds of things happen outside!

This was the scene when I arrive at 'the chosen spot.' The moon was peeking out behind a  huge pine with nothing but clouds overhead.

But, as I painted, I was rewarded with the most beautiful light show on the clouds.  So, it was a two painting night! As the moon climbed the clouds departed.  I'm very happy for the extra gift of the clouds for my birthday moon :) Not so happy with the mosquitoes that were biting..... in January!!!

The traditional Native American name for January's Full Moon is Full Wolf Moon. Hungry wolves would howl during the snowy, cold nights of January.  Well..... luckily there's no snow here in the lowcountry of South Carolina!  That's why we live here :) And, unfortunately, we don't have any wolves.  I love the whole concept of naming moons after what's happening in nature. January and February are very active months for our owls... Great Horned, Barred and Screech.  They are busy in their territories and it is the time of nesting.  Eagles are also very active.  I was going to call the moon Full Raptor Moon but decided to go with just the owls as they are a big favorite of mine.  What's going on in your neck of the woods?  What would you name the moon?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Birthday Beach Trip

click to enlarge
I love having birthdays. It's a day when I can do anything I want :) Breakfast out is a favorite. Done! Then what does the mind and body feel like?  A trip to the beach!

Today's bonus was a newly washed up tree. The regular beach walkers let us know it just appeared today.  Oh goodie! Another birthday present :)