This week my mind is turing towards the Perseid Meteor Shower. I was reminded of a Space Camp for children that I did back in August 2018. The children helped to create several dark sky paintings, this one involved learning about the best meteor shower of the year.
While Dark Sky Painting one deals with the impact of light pollution on bees and other insects. It also sought to teach children and viewers of the painting about the night sky.
Dark Sky Painting two here, highlights the effects humans have on our planets bird species and their habitats. On Earth, there are multitudes of birds in trouble from pollution and habitat issurs of all kinds. For this project, we focused on just two, Barn Owls and Swifts.
The constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia feature as do some Perseid meteors. The workshop led up to the Perseid meteor shower. The children were prepared to view, should they have clear skies. They were given notes with a map showing the location of the constellations involved.
The children learnt about the effects humans have on our planet. Actions that can cause the decline of some birds species. We share the Earth with Barn Owls and Swifts. Both species are in severe decline in Ireland because of the loss of their usual habitats.
According to BirdWatch Ireland, there has been a 50% decline in Barn Owls over the past twenty-five years. They have been listed as a Species of European Conservation Concern.
Swifts are also in trouble and are amber listed due to the decline of the breeding population in Ireland.
In the painting, the children are launching Swifts toward the milky way. This is, therefore, encouraging an understanding that we share this planet with many creatures. One boy has a barn owl on his arm, a magnificent bird that needs our protection.
Halfway up the painting swifts leave the canvas in an arc as they journey to blend with the sky above. They reconnect with the canvas just under Cassiopeia.
As more than twice as many children attended this second space camp their places on the canvas had to be carefully pondered. Each child has energy surrounding them which rises upwardly to merge with the Milky Way.
Barn Owls and Swifts lots of them
Each child made several swifts and several owls. There were too many birds for the size of the canvas. Therefore just some swifts ended up in the painting however all the owl drawings ended up on the side of the canvas.
While carrying out the work I decided to over emphasise the stars. This was to make the shapes of the constellations stand out to people viewing the work. The children had good craic (fun) as they say here while posing for their silhouettes.
We live in Space
The title of the painting is We live in Space, because nothing exists in isolation from everything else . Therefore even though the painting may be slightly surreal in nature. It is an attempt to pull that thought together with practical education via drawing and creativity.
Empathy developed during the workshop towards appreciating the Dark Sky. Drawing and cutting out the birds also helped in an appreciation of their predicament. All of this left the children in the painting reaching out in harmony towards the milky way. The energy of understanding lifting their spirits up to touch the stars. The painting still hangs two years later at the venue Books at One Louisburgh.
Here below is a small selection of images from the workshop.