Medium: acrylic on A4 acrylic paper, Diameter of floating “telescope aperture” mount-board circle: approximately 14 cm, Dimensions of black outer frame with protective glass panel added later: approximately 31cm x 40cm. Note: A descriptive text box below the circle was included in response to frequent suggestions from various people that a description would be beneficial for understanding what they were looking at, increasing the size of the frame… This is a highly improvised first attempt to create a painting inspired by direct observation, since the sketch I made at the telescope, that this painting is based on, was only a “napkin doodle” done in a very rushed way, out in the cold and dark, distracted by creepy noises! This doodle was useful for getting the relative position of things roughly mapped out but otherwise not much of a sketch, so I improvised a lot, mixing rough memory with the study of amateur photos to turn it into a workable art; with more practice and some guidance tips I should hopefully get better at this and observing more often, which I find difficult, would help to develop celestial observation more, as tell-tale indications have previously started to show. However, after I finished this painting and held it up under red light next to my small driven 5-inch table-top Newtonian, (adapted to sit on a sturdy camera tripod), I noticed that some of the stars and asterisms around the nebula roughly matched some of the dots in this painting. And it was just then that it struck, a sudden chill running down my spine: one was merely an artist’s interpretation, but the affirming source was the reality to which it points… Even harder to imagine, is that thousands of worlds are (likely) located in that tiny grey smudge… I find it most evocative when I use my peripheral vision on this painting, since this is the only part of vision sensitive enough for detecting the light of very faint deep sky objects. In future I will stop using larger dots to convey visually “brighter” stars, now that I have started using shades of grey to knock fainter ones back, to keep them point-like and more realistic…
I am an emerging artist based in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, in the United Kingdom. I produce landscape paintings from a home studio, primarily in acrylics but also occasionally in oils and watercolours as well. My interest to begin producing paintings on the subject of astronomy in the last several years has partially arisen from a father-son interest going back to my early years; as a teenager, my father would treat me to views of the planets, such as Mars, Jupiter and Saturn through his telescope, as well as the Ring Nebula and Andromeda galaxy. However, once I left college to study in Fine Art at Southampton Solent University, student life soon took over and my adolescent enthusiasm for astronomy took a back seat. For at least three years, longer in fact, I all but forgot that the night sky existed and seldom ever looked up; my entire universe shrank down to university life and even the Moon became a stale and distant concept lurking somewhere in the back of my head. The stars and celestial bodies of our Solar System arced across the great firmament above, rolling around the dark dome of the night sky for more than a thousand daily cycles, just out of sight and mind… A few years after I graduated in 2006 and during my five year artist residency at the Arches Studios in Southampton, a friend contacted me one day with great enthusiasm, to tell me all about an exciting new BBC television series called “Wonders of the Solar System” with Professor Brian Cox. Many things I forgot I learned about as a boy came bubbling back to the surface. As my interest was rekindled, it crept into my artwork and paved the way for everything that would follow and everything yet to come; in the space of a few years, robotic space exploration seemed to be exploding in a way that I had not really experienced when I was younger. Never before in my life has this sense of wonder and fascination been elevated to such heights as it is right now; I am convinced that I could not have chosen a better time to begin to engage in this subject. To coincide with this feeling, I have now discovered a whole movement in space and astronomical art that I previously had no awareness of and which is perfectly appropriate to my new direction in landscape painting; this is all thanks to an announcement made at my local astronomy club about an exhibition of space art at the Wells & Mendip Museum in Somerset in 2017, which I attended. It answers my calling and shows me an avenue through which I can begin to creatively channel my interest in the exploration of the universe. I now join the IAAA to seek guidance on how I can learn more about astronomical art in general and to seek feedback on my work to explore ways in which I can develop ideas and visual concepts, for which the IAAA is uniquely suited. Finding out about this association, the only one of its kind, is an extremely fortuitous turn of fate I could never have hoped for or anticipated in a billion years. The universe has opened a valuable opportunity, for which I cannot be grateful enough. My aim is to use the ideas I develop through my paintings, with the support of the IAAA, to invigorate my objective, which is to share the wonder and fascination of the cosmos with other like minded people and to help breathe the presence of astronomy into local art exhibitions in the Forest of Dean, where there is usually none to be seen. In this way my goal is to help inspire more people in my locality to take a greater interest in the exploration and wonder of the universe in which we live and, in art inspired by our final frontier… Go to the artist's portfolio
This artwork is copyright © Roger Jarvis. All rights reserved.