I went back to doing small space pictures with acrylic airbrushing and some conventional brushwork. Space pictures are always appealing. I have a show coming up at DarkoverCon (north of Baltimore, every year for the last 31 years) and I might as well show something small and, uh, sellable.
I've had this airbrush for ages and haven't really used it for about three years at least. It is still in good condition. The technique is exactly the same as it was with the pictures I've been showing you from the 1980s. I spray small panels black, then add stars and nebulas onto the black with spatter and airbrush. Then I finish'em with hand-brushed details.
The difference is that the Hubble Space Telescope has resolved far more detail in its pictures of deep-sky wonders, so the artist has to keep up with Hubble reality. That means filaments, cloudy drifts, protostars in clumps of dust, and these gas bubbles, sometimes quite evenly spherical, emitted by small stars as they mature.
Painting these "space clouds" has gotten me thinking about how clouds form, why they take the shapes they do, and whether the growth and disappearance of water clouds in Earth's skies is analogous in any way to nebula gas "clouds" in space. Earth clouds are subject to gravity which factors into their shapes, but these space clouds are not. Yet earth winds blow clouds around much like stellar "wind" particle emissions move space gas around.
"Bubble Lights," acrylic on illustration board, 8" x 10", November 2009.