Nov 20, 2010

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Stargazing in November

Stargazing in November

Every year around this time (mid November) I have wished for a clear night sky, as it has been my desire for the last couple of years to catch a glimpse of the Leonid meteor shower and as far back as I remember it has always been cloudy.

This year my wish finally came true as we had clear skies for a couple of days including the peak period of the meteor shower.

Before the peak period I spend the early night surveying the sky, trying to figure out the name of some of the less known (to me) constellations,  their movement, taking note of the time and so on. Also surveying any areas that might offer a bit of darkness, as the place where we live is well lit, a negative aspect for stargazing (and a positive one for safety). Even with the light pollution the wide view of the sky is amazing when not cloudy.

During the various times I looked up at the sky I thought, hmm how about a night time SketchCrawl, catch where the constellations / stars are at various times of the night but frankly I was afraid I would miss a meteor and it was too cold too!  🙂

I did wonder if others had venture to sketch the night sky so I did a couple of searches and came across a site which contains quite a lot of information including a section for Astronomical Sketching Resources.

The other tool that provided great help was the StarDome found in the Astronomy Magazine site, as it gave me the ability to figure out exactly how the sky would look at certain times, and took some of the guessing (and freezing out in the cold) away from the experience.

Another application that proved helpful was Google Earth, as it has a Night Sky option. You can really spend some time exploring the constellations, and various other stars, etc.

Twitter of course was also helpful, by searching for #leonids I got a glimpse of what others were experiencing and/or commenting about the event (almost in real time – not a popular topic it seemed), it even allowed me to find another interesting site (Space Weather Radio – which allows you to hear the meteors and satellites as they pass by. This last site was quite interesting… continuous static and ping sounds every so often and once in a while a long beep sound (I have not idea what that was but it was exciting to listen to it).

Listening continuous static reminded me of the trips we would take to visit our grandparents when we were kids, my dad would drive practically all night so we would get there in the morning due to limited vacation times. We would often stay awake for as long as we could and would listen to the various radio stations as he drove from town to town. Back in those days, there weren’t many radio stations and you could practically hear static in between towns, we also got a few glances at the wonderful night sky.

While I managed to listen to various pings through that site, my many trips outside didn’t offer me any visual discoveries. I looked and looked, and tried for three days and nothing! hehe Do I regret the experience? not at all, I enjoyed it immensely and now that I have found the sites mentioned above I look forward to the next night sky event, who knows maybe the skies will be clear again.

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Oct 29, 2010

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Amazing Clouds

Amazing Clouds

During yesterday’s walk (my little dog tagging along) I got to view some amazing clouds. It was as if I was looking at one very large layer of cotton (thought of cotton candy too 🙂 ) covering the sky.  My dog typically likes to stop here and there to do his business, and I have to wait for him, and today was the other way around.

It occurred to me that people might be thinking something odd was happening to me, standing right there looking up… turning my head to the left and then to the right and might even wonder what is he looking at? there is nothing to see! lol

I thought about videotaping the clouds, and wondered if that would make them look two dimensional. I think to a non artist, it may seem trivial, to observe nature and really pay attention.

As I was looking up I kept thinking how could I replicate what I see (and feel) in pencil, or watercolor, or even with the program e-on Vue.  Thoughts started to flow through my mind… I must really pay attention to the texture, and to the various layers of clouds… and how far are they from me…from the ground, and pay attention to the light.. how it passes through the clouds, can you still see the sky… yeah a little bit over there.

I was really having fun, and my dog didn’t seemed to mind… I guess he must have been lost in his thoughts too.

I didn’t go back for the video camera, but did manage to take some pictures before the magical time disappeared.

The picture below is the first one I took.

Taking a closer look at the picture below, doesn’t it look like there is an upside down spider formed in the picture below top-mid left? or just my imagination.

The one below shows an undulating layer of various layers of clouds.

This last picture was taken by looking straight up.

Many years ago I set to create an image for a magazine cover with a program called Vista Pro, similar to Vue but certainly not as advanced.  The image contained clouds, a few trees and a hill, and it was quite the challenge to come up with something that looked ‘real’.

Yesterday reminded me as well of that day, the attempts to try and duplicate what we have before us artistically by various different methods.


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Oct 14, 2010

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Connecting the dots

Connecting the dots

Many months ago I found myself dealing with a fork in my life path and during a walk through a street in Emeryville, CA. I came across the following message on the ground.

“What would you follow if there were no lines on your road?”
Chris Lattanzio 2007

I made a note of that message and continued walking.

A few days after the Emeryville, CA. encounter, I came across the following video of Steve Jobs.

“You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking backwards.”

To this day both the message and the video add perspective as I move through life both artistically and professionally.

I hope they can be of help to you as well.

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Jan 1, 2010

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Happy New Year – 2010

Greetings !!!

Happy New Year – 2010!

We have left behind another calendar year. During that time, various things have occurred. We laughed, we created, we learned, we experienced, we faced challenges, we faced fears, and we moved ahead.

No matter what the challenges, we did what we could to make the experience better, we forged ahead despite difficulties (regarding learning or life in general) and here we are, ready to keep on moving.

I have been formulating a post in my mind and just when I think it is the time to post it, something else happens that makes me realize that perhaps it is not yet the appropriate time.

I have come across a few books with very interesting information that has impacted the way I further view art, experiences, life, etc., or perhaps remind me of how I may have seen it before.

Next few posts will be about them, in the mean time…

Carpe Diem

If you have not seen the movie, it is recommended.

Thank you for your readership.

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Nov 19, 2009

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Local Color – Great Movie

Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch a great movie called “Local Color” – A very uplifting story of a younger person wanting to learn how to paint and an alcoholic painter who has giving up on art and life.

This movie was rented via Netflix, if you have the ability to watch it, I highly recommend it… this movie will definitely be an addition to our collection in the future.

“Don’t you let anyone ever talk you out of what you want to do, what you want to be” – Quote from the movie.

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Mar 30, 2009

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Earth Hour Experience

It was rather refreshing to turn off all the lights and appliances (except some essentials) and sit in the living room with a few candles and the dynamo LED lamp. I didn’t step outside to see if anybody else was participating around us, we simple set to enjoy the hour.

Our little chihuahua dog had what could have been a puzzled face as he saw us turn everything off and go dark pretty much, however he soon found comfort next to me (after I sat down) and a few minutes later he was snoring away.

Prior to the appointed hour I was reading the comments left in various websites about this event, some wondered if doing this would make any type of impact, if it was just a waste of time and some thought it would be too much of an inconvenience.

Personally I think that anything we do can impact our environment, our surroundings either on a positive or negative way, we all have a choices to make, as simple as disposing of  a candy wrapper on the street or a garbage receptacle or by reducing the usage of electricity for one hour.

In our personal experience it felt like being around the fire on a camping trip, a time to reflect about our current lives, that which we take for granted, and our dependence on modern technology… it was so quiet and peaceful!

It was too dark to use watercolors, instead I did this quick sketch of the table that was in front of me  (micron/moleskin).


Kitaro – Matsuri

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