In September 2000 I flew to the USA, to join a dozen fellow-members of
the IAAA for a workshop in Yellowstone National Park (which I
while President ~ my four-year term ended in July 2000).
was very largely
due to the work of artists of the 'Hudson River School' in
the 19th century,
and especially of Thomas Moran, that wild areas such as this
parks. Yet the American public at first refused to believe
of fantastic scenery with spouting geysers and steaming mudpots.
Small wonder that space artists regard these artists as their forebears
only problem being that we cannot visit the places we paint. So we
do the next best thing, by visiting alien areas such as this...
Earth, when you finish here).
At right is a sketch I made in pastels and ink
of the fantastic spires and pinnacles near 'Inspiration Point'.
still in morning shadow, is the far wall of the 'Grand Canyon
of the Yellowstone'.
In sunlight, this is a blaze of amazing colours: yellow, ochre, orange,
burnt sienna, blue-grey, white. . . There is still some thermal
activity on these walls.
I had never seen an aurora. Even when friends phoned to tell
me there was
one visible in Birmingham, all I could see from my back garden
was the glow
of the city lights... So in March 2001 I decided to take a
cruise in a ferry
through Norway's fiords.
For the first three nights we saw nothing, often
due to cloud.
Then, on the fourth night, I went up on deck and saw this pale, greenish
arch in the sky. It soon broke up into vertical rays and streamers, as
in this painting, done from memory when I got home. I have only exaggerated
to the extent of combining several features that I saw, into one image
a bit like a time-exposure ~ and the stars are accurate ~ note
of Cassiopeia near the top. It was truly magical! (But cold.)
In June 2001 I went to Zambia to see the first total solar
eclipse of the
new century; the fourth I have seen out of five I've attended since 1991.
From a game ranch outside Lusaka (where we slept in grass huts!) we had
perfect, clear blue skies and had a wonderful view. The acrylic painting
on the right, which measures 76cm (30in) x 51cm (20in), shows
what I saw ~ apart from the elephants coming out of the water. But
I did see those a couple of days earlier, so it's just a bit of
. . The bright 'star' at the top of the tree is Jupiter. (Oh, and it
was hot, even though winter.)
limited edition, signed print of the aurora and eclipse painting (and many other images on this site)
may be ordered, price £30.00
The originals of the eclipse and aurora have
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More news as and when it's available!