The distant giant, Uranus hangs above a deep, icy chasm on the surface of its innermost major satellite, Miranda. Though only a mere 480-km in diameter, it hosts an exotic assortment of geologic features, including massive cliffs, deep fault, canyons, plains, craters, mountain ranges and ridges. This bizarre melange of geological features may have come about during a period of intense internal heating caused tidal interactions with Uranus and its neighbouring moons. Some earlier theories indicated that the moon may have been shattered by a collision or close approach sometime in its distant past, with enough of the moon remaining for gravity to pull itself back together in a haphazard fashion.
In this piece, we looking up from the floor of a particularly deep canyon, the sides of which rise nearly 8-kilometres above us. There is a slight distortion caused by the wide-angle view along the length of the rift. In the sky another Uranian moon, Puck can be seen as a bright star-like object located just below the planet's darkened rings. The Milky Way arches overhead.
DESIGN & COMPOSITION NOTES
I tried to make the techniques employed in this digital painting as close to those used in traditional paint-on-canvas painting as I could. Though by no means a new method, it is one that I was previously unfamiliar with. This included using a custom brush which smoothly jitters between the foreground and background colours depending on how much or how little pressure you apply to the stylus. The result is a paintbrush-like effect which allows one to mix colours and tones as well as imbuing a more dynamic feel to the piece.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to complete this piece as quickly as I would have wanted. I started in early February 2012 and worked on it, off-and-on until finishing it on March 10, 2012. In all this piece probably took 20-30 hours, with the ice-canyon texturing and Milky Way painting taking the lion's share.
It is my intention that this piece will serve as the first in an on-going series of space/astronomy related paintings in which will explore different locales throughout the Solar System.
Next piece in the Visions of the Solar System Series:
II. Saturnian Dream: Moonlet Requiem ►