Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lunar Plein Air Studies

Small Sketches in a Small Sketchbook
Here are a couple studies I made during a lunar eclipse. It was sketched in colored pencil on an August night in 1989 when I lived in Pennsylvania. To make this sketch I would go into the back yard and observe the eclipse for a while, then rush through the back door into the kitchen where I had my sketchpad and colored pencils. With the kitchen lights on to see what I was doing, I would sketch as much as memory would permit, then go back out into the darkness to observe the eclipse more. I did this several times over the course of these two little studies. Observe - sketch - repeat. The top image is totality. The lower sketch is about 45 minutes later. I wasn't concerned with the lunar montes, mares or craters. That information could be easily had another time. The goal of these studies was to capture the color of the event and the spherical appearance of the eclipsed moon. The full moon usually looks more disk-like to me, but during an eclipse, it appears as an orange ball. This is information I can use in any future studio works that might need it. In fact, I did a larger colored pencil drawing of a night scene of bighorns, jagged rocky cliffs, and the moon back lighting part of the scene using these studies. That drawing sold several years ago, and unfortunately I have no pictures of it. I do have ideas for future works with the lunar eclipse theme, though.

Of course, a lunar eclipse is a fascinating thing to observe whether you're sketching one or not, so go see one!

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