Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More Color, The Venus Transit, and Twain Tidbits!

Mondays lesson was quite productive. Paintings were completed while others were began. Here are the completed Watercolor Discoveries!

It's always fun to see the different styles of Watercolor Discoveries that emerge!  Then, to reflect the "feeling" of the way the air feels, more terrain of the desert was revealed:

After the Watercolor Discoveries and Desert Landscapes, the students moved to their Hot/Cold Contrast paintings. They could choose the subject of the painting, but one side had to be cool colors and the other side had to be warm.
Hot/Cold Contrast House Painting In Progress
Hot/Cold Contrast House Painting Completed!

Completed Octopus Hot/Cold Contrast Painting
Hot/Cold SUV Contrast painting in progress!

Hot/Cold Cityscape Painting in Progress!

Then, to continue using different approaches to colors, we moved on to the Analogous Bird painting. What is an Analogous bird? It's a bird with Analogous colors! Okay, but seriously...analogous colors are the colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Students chose three colors that were next to each other on the color wheel, and used them for their bird!

On this bird (left), I challenged the student to try using more of a complimentary color for the background to offset the closely related reds, blues and purples of the analogous color scheme on the birds' plumage.

Tomorrow is the last lesson with this session. We're going to wrap up the projects that are still in progress and move onto a fun Fathers Day gift!

Venus Transit Circle Motif and Twain Tidbits

Shifting gears a bit...this is still an "artful" entry, but it's going to become a little more geeky. Last week was the Venus Transit. A transit of Venus across the sun takes place when Venus is directly in between us (the earth) and the Sun. Therefore, Venus can be seen as a small black dot in front of the Sun. It is a lot like a solar eclipse, when our moon is between us and the sun. Sure, the moon is smaller than Venus, but our moon is so much closer to us. Venus looks much smaller in its "eclipse" because it is certainly much further away from us than our moon. 

This is also fascinating to me because when a Venus Transit occurs, it happens in an 8-year pair. It was able to be viewed in June 2004, and again earlier this month. When will a pair happen again? Not until 2117 and 2125. I don't know about you, but I don't intend to be around when the next 8 year pair occurs again.

A few tidbits I included in this circle motif was the bird on top the Taj Mahal in India. The "seed" that looks to be in front of it, is actually Venus amidst its transit against the face of the Sun. 

In the motif, I showed it again in front of my typical moon crescent with an airplane shadow in front of the sun and the Venus "dot" down below and to the right of where the plane passed by. Both the bird and the plane comes from actual pictures taken by viewers during the transit. The airplane one, I believe, was taken locally!  

I found a quote from Mark Twain humorous regarding the transit of Venus. After all, the last time it happened (before this current 8-year pair) was during Twain's lifetime. I included this quote by him in the motif:

"An occultation of Venus is not half so difficult as an eclipse of the sun, but because it comes seldom the world thinks it's a grand thing."

Did Twain witness the Venus Transit? The hypothesis from this source indicates that we don't know if Twain actually saw it, but he certainly knew of it.      (Click here.)

Something also interesting about Twain and astronomy - the appearance of Halley's Comet from Earth, that passes by every 75 to 76 years (the last time was in 1986), occurred the year Twain was born and the year he died. 

He was born in 1835, two weeks after Halley's Comet made its closest appearance near earth. In his autobiography, published in 1909, Twain said,
"I came in with Halley's comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.' "
Twain died on 21 April 1910, the day following the comet's closest appearance near earth. 

(insert Twilight Zone music)

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