Universe of Stars

I love seeing a brilliant night sky, especially in winter when its cold and clear. It reminds me in the most glorious way that we are riding on a jewel of a planet in an unfathomably vast universe. A walk under the Milky Way quickly puts life in perspective, if even just for a moment. This journal page is both tribute and reminder. Tribute to a cold, clear walk in the shadow of Vermont’s Green Mountains, and reminder to make more time for stars.

Here’s wishing you a universe of stars during this dark and wondrous time of year.

Vermont_stars_800_jmackay2015

About the night sky:
Are the stars more brilliant in Vermont than other places? Yes. That’s because there is less light pollution to block them out. Check out this map to see how dark it is where you live.
http://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=4&lat=4815709.82675&lon=-8149899.70971&layers=B0TFFFFTT

Many thanks to Mike and Barbara Young at Mountain Valley Retreat B&B in Killington, VT for sharing their little piece of heaven and their warm hospitality.

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26 thoughts on “Universe of Stars

  1. Ah yes! (As the wife of an astronomer, I am a big fan of dark skies.) I am fortunate enough to now live in a rural area where I can see the stars and the ‘Silver River,’ as the Chinese so beautifully describe our galaxy. Lovely painting, Jean.

  2. Absolutely beautiful, Jean. I, too, love the dark star-filled skies of clear, cold winter nights. Thank you for the lovely sentiments. May I borrow your lovely “wish” as a closing for my restorative yoga classes that I am teaching this month?? It seems especially fitting.

  3. Kind of odd that the map shows Canada more light polluted than the USA… something is wrong with that picture… I just don’t believe that at all. My local area is about right though… the big national forest nearby is the best dark skies, and having been out there at night… the stars and the moon cast shadows… it is awesome.

  4. Beautiful, Jean. At this time of year in the Pacific Northwest it is a joyful gift to see a dark, starry sky … rain and clouds so often hide the stars.

  5. Thank you for this really delightful post. As a child I remember laying in my yard and looking at the stars. Now, the area I live in is way too full of night lights! I have driven out to the country near me to look for the northern lights and see the beautiful night skies. This is “wonder-full.”

    • Thanks Sue! I too now live in a place that is a little too bright. We have a long-standing family tradition of getting out in the woods or some natural area each December to walk at night and see the sky. Enjoy the holiday season!

  6. Oh, I love your Universe of Stars sketch…would love to have it as a painting. I live in West Texas (Midland); but, every August we vacation in Keene Valley, 1/2 hour south of Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondacks. How I love to look up at the night sky, there, and see the view in your sketch. I especially love the swaths of stars which give a real feeling of the Milky Way. How did you get such a “dusting” of small stars in your sketch?

    After a 35-year absence from any consistence at drawing and trying to learn watercolor (due to other time-consuming responsibilities), I have decided that keeping a journal will be ideal for me. So, I hope you won’t mind my questions. I used misket, in the past, but it

  7. Sorry, I was interrupted by a phone call and didn’t realize I hadn’t finished my sentence. I did not find misket thin enough to spatter, 35 years ago. I have seen a misket pen advertised; but, I cannot imagine you used that. I’m stumped at how to get such a wonderful “starry sky” effect.

    Thanks,
    Liz Taylor

    • Hi Liz- I did spatter misket to mask the stars, but mine is so old that much of it is congealed, so I used the liquid part surrounding the glob and luckily, it worked. I also added a couple of stars with the back end of a brush. I build up layers of sky and mountain to get the dark colors; it’s critical to let each layer dry before going back in or you’ll disturb the color underneath.Glad this reminded you of your summers in the Adirondacks.

      • Gosh, I’m so surprised to learn that you could get such delicate, fine dots with misket. My misket is probably dried up, too. I bought some, a few years ago, when I took a wc workshop and I have been too busy, since then, to paint. Practicing on starry skies, with your sketch as an example, looks like a fun technique to have fun with over the holidays. After trying a sky like yours, if it works, I think I’ll try a desert starry night scene with the three Wise Men riding on their camels. Thanks so much for taking time out to reply… and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  8. Thanks for this lovely post and reminder Jean. I made my Christmas cards this year and I reminded my friends that there will be a full moon on Christmas. My wish is for everyone to enjoy it and to get out and enjoy each full moon this year. I listed the dates and the Native American full moon names inside the card. Your post makes me feel that I am not alone!! I was feeling as though my card might be a little to much of what I enjoy.

  9. I was reminded how lucky I am to live in Vermont. I often go outside in the evening in winter time just to look up! You captured it perfectly Jean. Great seeing you if only briefly.

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