1833 Leonid Meteor Storm

Leonid meteor shower in 1833
Mixed media on bristol board, 6″ x 10.5″

The scene of 1833 shown here is a copy of an engraving by Adolf Vollmy. Estimates ranged from a few tens of thousands of meteors per hour over a hundred thousand per hour. One of the quotes I read from eyewitnesses said “never did rain fall much thicker than the meteors fell toward the earth.”

My own church (Seventh-day Adventist) believes that event to have been the fulfillment of what Jesus said in Matthew 24:29, “and the stars shall fall from heaven,” (excerpt) as one of the signs that His second coming is drawing near. The symbolism here becomes apparent when considering that the point of origin for the Leonids is the constellation Leo, the lion, and specifically from the asterism called the Sickle, which is a group of stars that forms a part of Leo. Jesus is referred to in the Bible as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and is said to return with a sickle in His hand to reap the harvest of the Earth. The sky that night was so thick with meteors that it was obvious to everyone they were radiating out from the sickle, even if seen from different geographic locations, and thus astronomy learned that meteors are indeed in space and not just an atmospheric phenomenon as people thought before.

Before that, in the same verse, it’s stated that “immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light…” which we believe was fulfilled in the dark day of 1780 (Wikipedia link). The tribulation referred to would be the persecution of Protestants, which was greatly declining from 1724 onward.

I first started this by shading some general shapes with a stick of water-soluble graphite. Then I painted over that with a transparent mix of clear acrylic gesso and an acrylic medium, which wetted the graphite and gave a silvery dark grey base to build on top of. The acrylic mediums also sealed the graphite from smudging further and provided a textured surface to draw on top of. I started working a little with black and white charcoal, but eventually settled on just using various mixes of zinc or titanium white with acrylic mediums to build up transparent layers of white. For areas that needed to be darkened again I either repeated the first step with the graphite or shaved off pieces of graphite to be mixed with acrylic medium to make a dark paint.

If you have any questions on any of this, feel free to ask.

Draw a Bird Day – Killdeer

Killdeer acting injured
Acrylic on sketch paper, 9.5″ x 6.5″

It’s late now, but earlier this morning I saw this killdeer pretending to be injured. They do that to lure potential predators away from their nest or chicks. Maybe after deciding I wasn’t a threat, she scurried off, stopping every few feet, but I didn’t see any nest.

It looks like the draw a bird day hub is over here on Create Art Everyday now.

Killdeer acting injured

Morning Song

Morning Song
Acrylic on sketch paper, 9.25″ x 7.25″

Yesterday morning I went for a walk on the dirt road that goes around and through nearby agricultural fields and saw this savannah sparrow. It’s hard to get close enough for a good photo, even with a 250mm lens, so this is just a small crop of the original. The paints used are ivory black, burnt umber, transparent yellow oxide, and titanium white.

Morning Song

Hiding Sparrow

White Crowned Sparrow
Acrylic on sketch paper, 9″ x 7″

Last week I went to a state park and got a photo of this white crowned sparrow in some sort of dry bush. It’s amazing that they can dart through the tangled mass of branches so easily.

To get good detail on the bird I decided to crop the original photo, below, to just be the center of it. Actually, the branches in the full photo are starting to look like a painting themselves…

White Crowned Sparrow

Signs of Spring

Robin on a Branch
Acrylic on sketch paper, 10″ x 7.5″

I was practicing photography last week and got a photo of this American Robin in a tree with new leaves. It’s actually been spring for awhile, but in this little scene all the nearby flowering trees aren’t seen.

Paints used are ivory and carbon blacks, titanium white, burnt sienna, transparent yellow oxide, and some transparent gel medium. The green is from the yellow and black mixed.

Robin on a Branch

Waterfall Book 25, final page

Waterfall at dusk
Water-soluble wax paint on paper, 7″ x 5″

Here’s the final page of the book. It seemed like it would be fitting to end with a scene set at the end of a long day. This page was first drawn with pencil, then covered with a mix of acrylic mediums to give the paper some protection against buckling as the wax paint from Ceracolors was applied.

Part way through this project I switched to posting larger images and also captioning them directly, as you can see in the gallery below.