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The Star

Acrylic on Illustration Board Digitally Enhanced

This illustrates the short story of the same name by Arthur C. Clarke. The star is the white dwarf remnant of a supernova. Astronauts explore a planet located in the region of the former Oort cloud where they find a subterranean cache of cultural artifacts left there by the inhabitants of an earthlike world destroyed in the explosion. The formation behind them is what's left of a monument that marked the spot. Those cross-like glints seem particularly poignant given the tone of Clarke's mournful little story.

The idea for this piece goes way back to the 1970s. With Clarke's story in mind, I did a sketch of a candle that had burned down to a stump. When I finally decided to paint, I still had that very sketch, though the candle was long gone. I then rendered it in acrylics on illustration board. I was never happy with the sky, however, so later on I scanned it from a 35mm slide and replaced the sky in Photoshop.

I had difficulty imagining the appearance of the sky from inside the Crab Nebula, but once Hubble was up and running I got help with that.

The Star Image

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All original images ©1970-2011 by Greg A. West. All rights reserved. Trademarks shown in examples and on the Links page are the property of their respective owners and are not available for reproduction.