My first inspiration came from this image of a dust ring around Fomalhaut: the parent star of the first extrasolar planet ever to be imaged in visual wave lengths. I remember when that photo was taken too. I was in my office at Cannonball listening to Science Friday when the announcement was made, and was excited to be able to get to the public library (I didn't have a laptop then) and look it up.
From there I did a few sketches...
...revising ideas and adding details as I went.
...till at last I felt comfortable enough with how things were laid out to block it out for enlargement.
Then came all the painstaking hours, days, weeks...and yes...months of using bic pen and various sizes of sharpies to fill in around the lines. I focused on the central star first, finding inspiration from photos of the sun and its dynamic surface that I found online.
Here are a few of the "teasers" I never got around to posting.
It was a little challenging to work between each panel. My drawing board is only big enough for one at a time so I had to go back and forth between the corner table and my work space, making sure that everything lined up across the board. I made a few mistakes, but ( and remember: with sharpie there's no erasing, and no possibility of painting over--slips must be integrated), I think I dealt with most of them well enough that they make sense in the finished design.
Last night, in between trumpet practice sessions, I finished filling in the last bit of black...
...and then this morning (after forgetting about the holiday and driving down to the post office for work...which of course...I didn't have), I began adding color.
This can be the real make-or-break part. I might be totally thrilled with how the basic black-and-white turned out, only to do something with color that makes it look cheap or corny. In this case, however, I'm reasonably satisfied with the final result (pictured in the first image of this post).
I haven't really settled on a name yet. I've tossed around a few that sound either too bland: "Young Solar System," or too froofy: "Out of the Dust." "Accretion," the title of this post, seems to be the happy medium I'm almost ready to settle on. The final unframed dimensions, including the space between panels, are 44 x 17 inches.
I'm looking forward to continuing this artistic exploration of astronomical subjects. I've got it in my head that it would be fun to do a themed show at some point, and maybe even sell a couple pieces.
But that's a ways off. I'll keep you posted.