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#1 Shannon s

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 09:29 PM

I have been a long-time artist and 6 year astronomer.I think astronomy is one of the best ways to get an eye for art of any sort. One of my teachers once told me, "I don't teach people how to draw, I teach people how to see". This definitely holds true for the astro-artist. This is the most challenging thing to me by far - the seeing part. I see a lot of good art on this as well as others. Since getting into astronomy I had only used 4.5 & 5" scopes on a eq mount. Then aperture fever, you know see more. So now I have a 12" solid tube reflector, on a Dobsonian mount. This makes sketching a pain in the butt, sketch and scoot, sketch and scoot. I'm still sketching and scooting, but I've attached a clipboard and light to the telescope. So now I can sketch and scoot all in the same motion. The just curious part is, does anyone else do anything to make sketching a little easier?(other than buying a $2000 mount)

#2 perfessor

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 10:52 PM

I'M also a dob driver, so I feel your pain. I dream of a EQ platform, and it is somewhere on my list, just not at the top yet.

#3 kraterkid

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 12:14 AM

Hi Shannon and Welcome to CN and the Sketching Forum! :D

There's another angle to the use of Dobs as it relates to sketching. I used to sketch with a 20" Starsplitter II (still do on occasions). It was the only scope I used for my first couple of years of sketching. What it trained me to do was to quickly memorize a feature size, position and context. I would add it to the sketch and repeat, as you put it so well, "sketch and scoot, sketch and scoot". After a couple of years doing this, I could very rapidly assess the details and I discovered I could sketch larger areas or include more detail in smaller views.

So cherish the time you spend sketching at your Dob, it could be one of the best ways to extend your skills.

#4 rodelaet

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 05:01 AM

Hi Shannon,

The comfort of viewing and sketching is an important factor of my astronomical experience at the eyepiece. I tend to make my time at the eyepiece as relaxing as possible. I tried various telescope types, some with more pain than others. I came to the conclusion that comfort comes before aperture. So I prefer scopes with the eyepiece at the back: binoculars, refractors, Cassegrains and Maks. With these types, I can make the best out of my sketching experience.

But that’s just my personal opinion.

#5 frank5817

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 09:31 AM

Hello Shannon,

The telescopes I use while sketching are all Dobs. I do have equatorial platforms that I use most of the time but with lower magnifications it is not necessary. Without a driver you are forced to concentrate harder and stay on task. This can actually be a good thing. You might also consider contacting those that manufacture equatorial platforms and see if they have any in their inventory that are cosmetically damaged. In the dark no one notices a skuffed-up eq. platform.

Frank

#6 JayinUT

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 12:25 PM

Shannon,

Welcome to Cloudy Nights. I use only dobs and face a similar issue. I agree with Frank and Rich that I have learned to focus on one area of the object and then to sketch that area. Also, what Field of View in your eyepieces are you using? I have found using a wider FOV helps to keep the object in the eyepiece longer.

#7 Shannon s

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 12:47 PM

Yeah, I like my reflectors. I have a 5" Mak. the images are just too dim, For me.

#8 rolandlinda3

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 01:48 PM

We use a platform on our 12.5 Dob a lot because it would physically about kill us to keep running to the scope and change it. You can get find them sold quite a bit and the prices I have seen have been pretty good. Long term...I recommend one. Better after that, buy an astro video camera rather than any more EPs. Not only do you get much better views of objects, but you can be seated and actually study the object. We use this setup 1/2 the time regardless of scope.

#9 markseibold

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 05:31 PM

Yeah, I like my reflectors. I have a 5" Mak. the images are just too dim, For me.


Shannon

Welcome to discovering this great art and forum.

I have tried my motor tracking 5" Nexstar 5i for the moon but have the same complaint. Images are too dim at high magnification, so I use the same method of hardship that you question here with my 10.1" old Dobsonian. I agree with the others as I put up with the laborious work of hands-on the tracking and sketching at the same time. I guess it is what serious [read: mad scientist artists] do. :cool:

Good luck and I look forward to seeing your future sketching.

Mark
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My CN Gallery

#10 Shannon s

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 06:39 PM

Thanks Mark, You do some really nice work. I want to get out and start really doing some serious sketching. I've been trying white pencils on black paper, but I don't like the way the white pencil feathers out it's too waxy. So I thought, using a regular HB pencil on white paper.I am very anal about "not" using blending stubs,this is just me, I don't think they should be used. I just don't like them. Maybe photoshop to turn the image into a neg. Hope I don't get alot of flak about being anti-stub, ha ha.

#11 markseibold

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 02:39 AM

Shannon

Thanks for the commendations about my art. It has been a long journey. If you are new to my story, it goes way back to childhood yet I make no claims to professionalism, although I have sold some works; photography, oil paintings and hand sketched pastels aside from a few publications and awards. That is not of course why I am doing this astronomy art. I am still new to the serious sketching from observational astronomy. You can see much of the story in markseibold.com [Top icon in site 'About me'. I explain how I got to Cloudy Nights thanks to seeing Erika Rix's art in Spaceweather.com one day in October 2006.]

I will admit this. I strive for realism and accuracy but I always intend to add something to increase aesthetics. That is not to say, however, that I would embellish for the sake of impact but I try to investigate the most desirable techniques and methods of the application of any given media to impart the most in image.

In the case of pastels which I use exclusively for all of my astronomy sketching, I agree with you. The simple colored pencils are too shallow in their impartment of pigment to the surface [of pastel paper.] I use the pastel pencils to rough in essential guide line images but then do final color fills with soft [and more expensive] dry pastel chalk sticks.
The pencils have raised much controversy with discussions here. Many people feel foreign to the use of colored pencils for many personal reasons. One of which you mentioned; the weak color. You might try the soft and heavy pigmented pastel chalk sticks. There are many differing brands and I regret to mention this; although I use the affordable ones, some of the better round chalks wrapped in paper from Holland, Germany and France can run as high as several dollars and up to $6 or more per single stick. It is the 'you get what you pay for' scenario. The finer brands of higher quality contain more expensive binding agents and more pigment. They are every bit as good as the finest oil paints and if you are serious about fine sketching, then your art is worth it!

Check out what ever large art materials store that you may have in your region and talk to the workers there. Many art supply store employees are serious artists with much information to help you chose your art supplies [and fine pastels and pastel paper.]

I almost forgot blending stumps as you mentioned them. I too never used them. I also never used my fingers to blend yet for some that is OK if it works for them. It is just that bare skin will impart natural oils from the hands that can stain the paper and repel future application of chalk to the paper. I prefer to use cotton swabs, Q-tips and paper towels. I did recently purchase a couple blending stumps but still prefer use of my older standard blending methods as they cover larger areas that I tend to work with, where the blending stumps are better applied to smaller work areas with their fine point tips. I meant to add something about blending, so I edited here today > This was an example of extreme use of blending with cotton swabs and Q-Tips, then more dark shadows of the artists hands were added with dark chalk (It was published for the 1st day of Spring in Spaceweather.com 2007.) Blending can be thought of as like a dry painting technique or mixing of colors on the canvas. >
http://www.cloudynig...rt=2&thecat=500

Hope this helps,

Best regards,

Mark

#12 starquake

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 04:18 AM

Hi, some more things pro dobs: it happened to me several times in the past year that I found an interesting object as a result of the "sketch and scoot" approach, when I returned to the eyepiece, I noticed a faint companion galaxy not far away to the object of the sketch.

The other good thing in sketching without a drive is that the object continuously slides through the primary mirror and the eyepiece, so you have the chance that here and then it is reflected through parts of your optics which perform better than the rest.

The last thing is that you learn the stellar neighborhood of the object, so you may find it easier next time.

I had eq platforms in the past, but I feel much comfortable with the current dob. However, currently I'm building an equatorial horseshoe mount, because I want to take images with my home-built spectrograph, and I already know, that it will be a real pain to use sometimes when sketching. :(

Frankly, for me the only difficulty in sketching with a dob is the rotating FoV. Wide-field eyepieces are a must. (The problem is that high-quality wide-field eyepieces that are suitable for fast scopes (mine is an f/5 12") cost a fortune.)

#13 Achernar

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:26 PM

I always pencil in the positions of the brighter field stars, then draw in the object or objects as the case may be. Wide field eyepieces make sketching objects a lot easier, especially since many of the objects I observe are tiny and require high magnification to distinguish them from the surrounding stars. An equatorial platform might be the way to go for you as well, because any equatorial mount that could handle a 12-inch solid-tube Newtonian would cost much more than $2,000 and would be a major hassle to transport and set up.

Taras

#14 Shannon s

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 04:12 PM

Someone should come out with a line of Art supplies just for astronomers. :idea:

#15 starquake

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 02:13 AM

any equatorial mount that could handle a 12-inch solid-tube Newtonian would cost much more than $2,000 and would be a major hassle to transport and set up.


Except if you decide to build your own. :) There are several alternatives, like the horseshoe, split-ring, yoke or English mount etc.

The split-ring is very portable and an easy project for a casual DIYer. The horseshoe is more stable, but totally unportable, just like the English.

The easiest to build is the English mount I think, perhaps it can be built in an hour or two, but it has some size problems.

The good part is, that these easy projects are far more solid than any of the cheap EQ platforms like EQ5 or EQ6.

#16 Kris.

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 11:00 AM

There's another angle to the use of Dobs as it relates to sketching. I used to sketch with a 20" Starsplitter II (still do on occasions). It was the only scope I used for my first couple of years of sketching. What it trained me to do was to quickly memorize a feature size, position and context. I would add it to the sketch and repeat, as you put it so well, "sketch and scoot, sketch and scoot".


this is so true, couldn't have said it better!






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