The painting itself went smoothly, first the land areas were sprayed in and given the major tonal details, boldly so as to still show after the many layers of paint to come were applied.
I referred to prints from my digital model but practically all the detail was sprayed on using a Paasche AB airbrush powered by a CO2 compressed gas cylinder. The airbrush whirrs away, spraying an incredibly fine jet of paint. The spray can be widened and the airbrush moved farther away to vary the paint coverage with incredible control. Indeed painting in this way brings one into a focused state that makes the tool and its results an extension of one's visual cortex. The delicacy of the AB as an airbrush can be seen here with the land being painted in using no masking yet. My digital Earth is used as a reference for the details.
Finally the stage of spraying on the ocean
was ready to be done. This procedure, to spray on an opaque layer,
used the big land mask, and spraying with the large airbrush was
done (outdoors) always tilting the air gun 'offshore' to minimize
paint getting under the mask. Once done, a fine sable brush was
used to touch up and refine the water and the land shoreline details.
The curved horizon mask used to mask off Earth while painting the sky was useful in both parts, the other one provided a useful aid to spraying in the thin crescent phase angle and the blue atmospheric scattering along the edge, or 'limb'. All the while the intended lighting on most of Earth, that from a nearly full Moon, was kept in mind. The painting of the city lights took days, referring to detailed satellite images of as well as my detailed digital map. This is far more detailed than my 80s 'Portrait Of Home' painting which was available as an art print.
Last to be painted were the clouds and atmospheric
lighting effects, the aurora, the details of the explosions and
finally the stars. A few weeks of work resulted in the creation
of a painting of something momentous from a great book. Here it
is along with the digital 'guide' I matched the final work to.
Digital and traditional methods went hand in
hand in this recent 'old school' painting. It was great fun to
do and I am also one great story richer for it.