If you’ve been reading here semi-regularly, you’ll know that last Sunday there was a convocation of WEIT regulars at the Grand Canyon. The occasion was a rare annular eclipse, with the chance to photograph, paint, and view it in an incomparable setting. I now have some tangible artistic output from that viewing, namely the paintings of Kelly Houle and the photos of Ben Goren.
Kelly did three paintings, and you can actually bid for them on eBay (see below). Here’s her description of the experience and the auction:
I set up around 3pm at Lipan Point, and did between 5 and 10 small paintings before it got too dark. I didn’t see anyone else painting that day, but there were a lot of photographers and tourists around. It was a strange experience painting something you’re not supposed to look at for very long! I would look for a few seconds through binoculars or eclipse glasses, then go back to the painting. You can see the striking difference in colors from the two kinds of filters I used. I had no idea what to expect as far as the colors in the canyon or the quality of the light. I thought it we would see reds, but the colors ended up being cool gray-blues and purples. When the sun was eclipsed, we were able to see Venus for a few minutes before it disappeared again as the light returned.
Now that the bugs are all scraped off, I’ve set up a little Ebay auction, which starts today [Saturday]. I’m selling the three original oil paintings below, and there are some other things listed as well. My new Ebay shop is called BooksIlluminated.
The three oil paintings are starting at ridiculously low prices ($20!), and I’m hoping that readers here will raise the stakes, even though I badly want the third one depicted below. Here are the paintings and descriptions from Kelly’s Ebay site:
This is an original oil painting done on site at the Grand Canyon on Sunday, May 21, 2012 during the annular eclipse. This is what I saw looking through filtered binoculars at around 6pm as the moon began to pass in front of the sun. This is a rare painting of an annular eclipse created in the plein air style–outdoors, in real time, as I observed the event.
ORIGINAL FRAMED OIL PAINTING. Signed by the artist; 4in x 4in canvas (outer frame dimensions are 9in x 9in)
This is an original oil painting done on site at the Grand Canyon on Sunday, May 21, 2012 during the annular eclipse. This is what I saw looking through eclipse glasses at around 6pm as the moon began to pass in front of the sun. This is a rare painting of an annular eclipse created in the plein air style–outdoors, in real time, as I observed the event.
Annular Eclipse, by Kelly M. Houle. Original Framed Oil Painting, Signed by the artist, 4in x 4in canvas (outer frame dimensions are 9in x 9in)
And my favorite, which I hope some reader doesn’t acquire by outbidding me!:
This is an original oil painting done on site at the Grand Canyon on Sunday, May 21, 2012 during the annular eclipse. This was the scene around 6:30pm as the moon eclipsed the sun. As the sky darkened, I was able to see Venus, which I painted in the upper left corner. When the moon passed by, the sky brightened, and Venus disappeared once again until sunset. This is a rare painting of an annular eclipse created in the plein air style–outdoors, in real time, as I observed the event.
Annular Eclipse, by Kelly M. Houle
Original Framed Oil Painting. Signed by the artist; 4in x 12in gallery wrapped canvas, unframed
Apparently Ben stayed up last last night so I could have some of his photos to post this morning. The wonderful photo below (which he calls a “first draft”) captures the Canyon and the eclipse. Ben’s notes:
I’m thinking of this as a good first draft. I’ll probably do more to it later, but I need to sleep on it at least a day or two, if not longer, It’s a composite of a half-dozen exposures that does a not-bad job of capturing what I experienced that day.
Not bad indeed! (Click to enlarge):
…here’re thumbnails of the straight-out-of-the-camera pictures I wound up using in the composite. At least a couple of them I wound up developing at different exposures as additional layers….
Ben sent three other photos. He clearly has talents beyond fondling the intestines of our Savior!:
Here’re three somewhat-representative telephoto shots of just the sun. All are taken with a 400 mm f/2.8 lens with a 2X teleconverter for an effective 800 mm focal length, then cropped and reduced for emailing.
First is shortly after the Moon made contact with the Sun. You can see a line of sunspots paralleling the Sun’s equator. If you think about the geometry, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Moon followed the line of sunspots. Oh — and each of those sunspots is bigger than the entire Earth, just to put things in perspective.
Next up is the archetypal ring of an eclipsed Sun. The reason the Moon’s outline is slightly irregular is because that’s the actual profile of the Moon, what with all the craters and mountains and what-not. And it’s slightly off-center because we were slightly off the centerline of the path of the eclipse; some dozens of miles to the north, it would have been perfectly centered. But then it wouldn’t have been over the Grand Canyon….
Last is the Sun sinking into the many, many miles distant far, far rim of the Canyon. It’s a double eclipse, really — the Sun, Moon, and Earth all lined up. The sunspots are still visible as are the irregularities in the Moon’s outline, and the change in color is entirely due to the Earth’s atmosphere.
I’m proud of the talents and heterogeneity of the readers here: we have scientists (even a Nobel Laureate or two who lurk), teachers, mathematicians, librarians, goat farmers, musicians—you name it. Who on earth could accuse us of scientism, or of being blind to the beauty and diversity of life? Many thanks to Kelly and Ben for sharing their art. And don’t forget to bid for Kelly’s paintings!