Friday, November 21, 2008
Second Space Ship Flyover
9 x 12"
Wednesday night, we had the best view of the space shuttle Endeavor and the International Space Station that we have ever had as they flew over us. We had watched it fly over in a lighter blue evening sky just south of us on Tuesday night. Bob French on KBTX tv told us that we would have a second chance on Wednesday night. Usually, when those things are announced, the first night is the time that the best views are available. Later viewings are often further away or dimmer.
Wednesday night's time was at 6:19 p.m., an hour later than on Tuesday, so it was darker. On top of that, the outside light didn't come on at dusk as it always does, but delayed until the space craft had passed. So we had a very dark night to watch the skies.
We had been advised that it would come more from the west, so we walked out into the street, away from trees.
"Is that it?" I asked Ashton as I spotted some orange lights in the west, just over the oak tree . It looked a bit like the shape of the craft we viewed the night before, only much smaller. I couldn't tell if it was moving. It was near what we decided was a planet, but looked, to me, like the Texas Longhorn symbol with rays coming out of it.
That shape didn't move, but, soon, Ashton directed me to look over the pasture to the north, just above the pale glow from the sunset. Here came a steady moving group of orange lights that appeared to be connected by a slim orange tube. There were lights on it, some extensions, and orange rays coming out of it.
"That's it!" I shouted as it moved to almost overhead.
As I said it, there were echos up and down our country lane of "That's it!" from neighbors who were also out watching the space crafts passing over.
"It looks so close!" "Wow!" "Isn't that amazing!" "Just think! There are people up there!"
Just as it got over us, it turned a bright white. So bright that I had to look away.
As it moved on to the east, it seemed to be orange again, then disappeared into the darkness over Bryan.
Later, on the news, we heard that one of the astronauts had lost her tool belt while working outside the space station. We couldn't help but wonder if that happened while they were flying over us.
The stars that were so bright in the west are actually Jupiter and Venus.
We came in and I sketched out the shapes of the space craft as it appeared at different points over the pasture. I also added the planets as they appear to me. Later, I added color with Winsor Newton watercolors with a bit of white acrylic for the white rays on the center object. This is in a sketchbook on white acid free drawing paper, and not on watercolor paper. You can't get that kind of paper as wet as the watercolor paper, so the color doesn't blend and flow as well. It's okay, but you just can't get the same effects.
Tonight, at the George Bush Library, an astronomy group from A&M is going to have telescopes set up so that the public can view the planets. It starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.
It's going to be a bit cool, though. But, bundle up, and go out, if you can. It isn't something that we have an opportunity to do very often.
After watching the space ships, Ashton wants a telescope, as most kids do. However, we have had terrible luck with telescopes and microscopes. ( He was excited about that, too.) The things never work. The microscope set he got last year, even the science teachers couldn't work it. It looked to me like the hole to let light through didn't line up with the hole that you looked through.
Telescopes didn't work, either. We bought what seemed to be a really nice telescope for Christopher. Never could get it in focus to see anything through. We had better views just with the old Cannon camera with the zoom lense.
Enjoy sky watching with bright stars and gorgeous sunsets while we have these clear skies. I know, it may not be that way everywhere. But, here, it has been really outstanding, lately.
The featured exhibit at the George Bush Library has to do with space exploration, and is being coordinated with a similar exhibit at the LBJ Library in Austin. So, you may want to check it out, if you are interested in space.
Here's a trivia question.
Do you know who the astronauts are on board the space station and the Endeavor? And what countries they are from?
Calvert will be having their Christmas Homes Tour December 6 and 7. You can click on my photo of the bandstand at the top of my sidebar and that will take you to the brochure that tells more about the Tour.
There is one old home on the tour that I haven't been in. And that is the one that looks like the house on the opening of the tv program, "Designing Women".
Be sure to check out the events that I have in my sidebar.
Those of you who have been waiting for the slideshow of the Plein Aire Painting workshop with Virginia Vaughan in Calvert, it's coming! The tech people are still trying to help me get it to work. The guy said that he will put it on here for me. So, I am going to let him do that. I still am getting an error message when I try to do it, but it works for him. I need to figure out the problem, though, so I can do it myself in the future. I haven't forgotten!
Brazos Valley Art League members need to get your entries ready for the upcoming juried show. The dates on that are December 1-19.
I know that sketching, drawing, observing, practicing, experimenting, studying, researching, are all so important in being able to produce art. But, sometimes, I think that maybe I am doing too much practicing and sketching and not working enough on more finished things. However, at this stage of my vision problem, I am having to figure out some adjustments and directions.
I'm just having trouble getting things to connect and, sometimes, after a while, in seeing anything at all. What others see as straight lines may look wavey, curved, disconnected, or blurry to me. Just the physical act of bringing lines together or putting a brush into paint or water is difficult. I miss, often, and have to keep repeating until I finally hit something.
At the plein aire painting workshop, I felt like a bumbling idot at times because I just couldn't see things right to connect them, whether that was lines or picking up paint, or cleaning a brush, or packing or latching and unlatching hooks on equipment. Vaughan was demonstrating and while we painted, I thought I could see when she seemed to paint a nice curved line. So, I did that. When she came over to me, she pointed out that this was a straight line. I was surprised, because it looked like a big curve, to me. We fixed that. But, my rooster still looked like a cartoon character! (Most of my animals and people end up that way-cartoons!)
The other day, I made some tomato soup for lunch. The Campells Kids soup mug (which is white with pictures of the kids on it) that I usually use got broken, so I was using another cup that is black. I rinsed the cup and put it beside the stove. When my soup was hot, I proceeded to ladle my soup into my cup, or so I thought. Soup went all over the counter because I had my cup upside down. I was pouring it all over the bottom of the cup, and not inside. But, I couldn't tell the difference. Another mess to clean up, but, at least, this time, I didn't drop something on the floor instead of putting it on the counter because the edge of the counter disappeared into a purple fog.
I'm kind of slow and careful in doing things, anyway, but this eye problem (Macular Degeneration with cataracts) makes things take even longer.
A lot of people have this. I guess that I am actually lucky because I only have AMD in one eye. I just hope that the other one doesn't get it. As it is, I can get closer to things, close the bad eye, and see things. Not as they should be, but it isn't all just a big purple spot or dark, where I am trying to look. I can't imagine how terrible it must be for people who have this in both eyes. I guess that you have to adjust, but I have heard that some people are never able to adjust to losing their central vision.
Get well wishes go out to Linda M., Vin, Carole P., and Gwen. And a special get well wish to Christopher. I hope that everyone will recover and get some relief, soon.
Keep warm! It looks like summer and hurricane season are finally about over.
Good Luck to everyone who will be participating in UIL tomorrow!