Sunday, 22 November 2015

Video - astronomical sketching using the Mellish Technique

Hi all,

Well, I have finally produced and uploaded a video on astronomical sketching using the Mellish Technique.

I was very fortunate to have been shown how to use this method to sketch astronomical objects by my late friend Scott Mellish.

Scott had developed this technique of soft pastel sketching over several years.  I have since been told that this method of sketching had been used by astronomers before the advent of photography.  Lost in time, Scott independently rediscovered this lost art, and gifted us a wonderfully simple but highly effective sketching technique for deep sky objects.

This video compliments my first article written on the Mellish Technique a few years ago.  Scott graciously reviewed the article before it was published:

DSO sketching using the Mellish Technique

All his friends were devastated when Scott passed away shortly afterwards.

This video is dedicated to Scott, who was so generous to me in sharing this sketching technique that came so close to been lost again.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Sol, 1st of November, 2015

Hi all,

If it were not for my Daystar Quark, I would have nothing to sketch and present on my blog.  It has been a miserable year so far, with all but two new Moon weekend Saturdays being washouts, and clouds and lousy seeing conditions making the Moon a no go either.  Very frustrating.

This morning I had a go at the Sun again – nothing ventured, nothing gained…  And I was in for a fantastic treat!  Most of the Sun’s disk presented a quiet & featureless ball.  But one quadrant was a dead-set lolly.  A gorgeous arch prominence with two sentinel straight pillars, one on either side, with material from the arch being stripped across to both pillars.  This stripped material being faint and demanding a patient eye to pick it up.  The arch also being beautifully detailed.

And as an added bonus, a wonderful loop of sunspots!  Something I had never seen before.  There were literally dozens of individual sunspots, in clusters, forming a ‘P’ shaped loop.  And the amount of plages was stunning, and a few soft filaments too.

This sketch was a joy to do.  So many details that I had to discipline myself to not be distracted by other features.  Just a wonderful thing to view and experience.

While photographing the sketch, I inadvertently selected an incorrect setting, and I rattled of a series of photos with different effects.  It surprized me to see some of the black and white effects actually served to accentuate the chromosphere details in the sketch better than the colour photo.  I’ve added these to make an interesting series of photos of the same sketch.

I hope you enjoy this series of photos.  The accidental sequence of effect photos being the cherry on top of a fabulous solar experience.

Object:  Sol
Scope:  ED80
Gear:  Daystar Quark (prom.), 25mm Pl, 101X
Date:  1st November, 2015
Location:  Sydney, Oz.

Media:  Soft Pastels & charcoal on A5 size black paper