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!!


  1. Well, I think there is something down there in South Carolina called PamShine because you certainly do. Thanks for sharing this lovely painting and information!

  2. Oh, Rhonda..... you are a sweetie! Thank you my friend!

  3. that's awesome the way you are sharing your passion for art with children -- they need all the encouragement they can get! I never knew about earthshine, and our skies have been overcast for a few days, so it's not likely we'll experience it this month!

  4. Thanks, Kate! I've always enjoyed the moon when it looks like this... just didn't remember they had a name for it. Hopefully, you'll see this treat in February. I was shocked to learn that schools no longer teach children cursive writing! Both workshops I've taught there has been a huge request for lettering techniques.

  5. Well this homeschool teaches cursive writing and we did nature journaling off and on for quite a few years. Kiddo is now more interested in fashion drawing but she still always has a sketchbook or three going.

    I think your lunar sketches have to be my favorites! And I love the information you share along with them. Those are some lucky students taking your workshops - I wish we could join in!

  6. Just gorgeous, Pam, and I agree, there's definitely some PamShine going on in SC! Lucky ducks those kids are.

    I notice the moon the other night coming home from a late dinner—now I have a name for it! Thank you.

  7. Thanks, Ann! Bravo to you for teaching cursive and nature journaling with your 'kiddo'! Homeschoolers have the advantage of not dealing with the politics of school districts. And, I love the resources that are available these days to the parents that choose this option.

  8. Thanks, Laure!! Ha, ha, 'PamShine' seems to be gaining steam :) I like it!

  9. Earthshine...I love that! Your painting absolutely glows. How fantastic that you're getting nature journaling into the classroom. What a great way to bring out kid's creativity and to educate them. It's like your posts, wonderful art and always interesting information. Very cool Pam!

  10. Oh, how did I miss this one?! It's gorgeous! And thank you for the information on earthshine - I would have liked to have known Leonardo - can you imagine sketching at his shoulder?!

    How cool that you led a teacher's workshop on nature journaling; there are so many disciplines that can be explored, not to mention that it's just plain fun!

    Those kids and teachers will take away something wonderful and unique that may stay with them for the rest of their lives.

  11. Thank you, Elizabeth! I'm with you... Would love visit and create art with Leonardo :). I sure enjoyed the workshop and hope to have more in my future.