The oil painting In the Vicinity of the Lotus Nebula is both real and imaginary. The painting is inspired by photographs from the Hubble telescope, but with a strong element of artistic license. The Rosette Nebula was the direct inspiration, with its opening flower form and red tones. But I started the painting with dark blue greens, and because I rely on chance-filled monoprint techniques for the initial gestures, my rose became a lotus – appropriate since my last painting was dedicated to Ravi Shankar, the great Indian musician of the sitar, and master of musical meditation. So here we are again, with Ravi in this light-filled corner of the cosmos, meditating, and perhaps entertaining the idea of naming the constellations we just happened to find here. Enjoy!
Below are enlargements of parts of the painting.
Technical painting notes – While the painting’s final tones are middle to light in value, the initial layer of paint was a dark blue/black, which was manipulated with mineral spirits, rags, and paper towels to create the basic composition. When this stage was dry, many layers of glaze (both transparent and semi-transparent) were brushed on, and the details of the stars and constellation either highlighted or painted in. The decorative spirals along the left and right sides (symbols of energy and of spiral galaxies) were achieved by removing layers of glaze.