It was a grand evening for painting plein air! In between waiting for layers to dry, I'd look at Jupiter and Saturn through my birding scope. Very cool! Got to see three of Jupiter's moons and the rings of Saturn. I'll be creating a journal page with these details. Stay tuned!
I’ll always be grateful for having dogs in our lives. They’ve kept me connected to the night sky whether from the ‘last call pee trips’ before bed or the thankfully seldom wee hours of the morning ‘I’ve got the runs’ trips. Probably TMI there!
During the last pee trip on July 31st, the sky was so lovely! I didn’t care that is was 11 pm, the sky had to be captured in my journal. For those that have followed my art journey for a while, you know I’ve a passion for the moon... (see past posts here). When I paint plein air at night, I have a setup that includes a portable LED light so that I can see my palette and paper. There was no time to pull that setup out.
I grabbed the little 3x5 Stillman and Birn Alpha Journal out of my purse along with a waterbrush and Art Tool Kit palette. Out to the driveway I went. The car hood served as my support, the porch light behind me as a faint light source. Saturn and Jupiter were chasing the waxing moon. A Longleaf Pine framed the beauty. The scene was captured using the direct watercolor technique (no sketching). The paper stayed quite damp with the humid air. I used whiteout for Saturn and Jupiter and a bit on the moon. I added ink the next morning.
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!!