Friday 22 April 2016

Pythagoras and surrounds

Hi all,

A couple of nights ago the Moon was just shy of being full.  Such a phase means that the terminator is very close to the Moon’s limb, and all the craters are therefore very foreshortened.  It is a situation that can provide some stunning drama to the scenery, and presents some challenges to depict that a more square crater doesn’t have.

Seeing this night was pretty good.  A brief scan of the terminator showed some wonderful sketch candidates.  What I settled on was Pythagoras and the surrounding Moonscape. 

For me, the biggest technical challenge I have with these foreshortened craters is the foreshortening itself.  Get the proportions too wrong, and the rest of the sketch balloons out of proportion.  Too deep, and all the craters become bloated.  Too thin, and everything becomes overly stumpy.

Another interesting aspect about sketching features close to the limb is that details are much, much finer due to the foreshortening.  The tiny craters are all still there.  So to the terraced inner and outer walls of large craters.  As are the riles and valleys.  But these tend to hide at first from view due to the additional glare.  But with time, these features slowly become more apparent, and a once seemingly bland Moonscape is littered with as much detail as a face on crater.  And then you need to foreshorten these too!...

This sketch I started with some trepidation.  But as it progressed I eased into foreshortening mode.  And now, when I look back onto this sketch, the drama and stark features make me pause for a moment and think to myself – “Geeze, did I really lay that sketch down!  WOW!”

I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I do.  I don’t sketch much features close to the limb.  I’m going to have to rectify this.


Object:  Crater Pythagoras and surrounds
Scope:  C8, 8” SCT
Gear:  8mm LVW, 250X
Date:  20th April, 2016
Location:  Sydney, Australia

Media:  White and grey soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.

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