||Biography of Richard Harold Handy
Astronomer, Artist, and co author of “Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction”
"From my earliest memories, I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by the mysteries of the heavens. In the long leisurely evenings of
summer, my brothers and I would lie on the hood of an old Chevy, backs resting against the cool glass of the windshield, eyes searching the tributaries of the Milky Way, telling stories about denizens of the night, most of which, though quite entertaining, were far less than truthful. Occasional shouts of awe and surprise when a “falling star” shot overhead, fingers tracing the path of a satellite, until passing into Earth’s shadow, it winked out. These wonderful moments prepared me for a life long and ongoing love for amateur astronomy.
At the age of eight I read a “Golden Book” publication called “The Stars”. In the first paragraph was a sentence that profoundly affected me, regardless of the fact that it was composed of just five simple words: “The Sun is a star.” Suddenly and intensely, I felt a deep understanding of my place in the cosmos, and in a physical sense, my relationship to all that exists. This seemed to come to me in a flash. Now I knew why the Milky Way looked the way it did, that the stars were separated by immense distances, yet were so numerous that they appeared as a hazy band of diffuse light. The more I learned about the nature of our connection to the universe, the more questions arose in me about how these things came to be, yet that essential moment of epiphany has stayed alive in me, because I still feel the eight year old boy in my heart, especially at the times when I am overcome by awe for what I see.
My father was a very good Landscape Painter and artist and he encouraged my early experiments in life drawing and painting. Although he wanted me to pursue a career as a technical illustrator after finishing community college, it was something I tried for a while without much enthusiasm, preferring instead a Fine Arts and Astrophysics education at the University of California Santa Cruz. Financial hardships for my family made completing my education very difficult and so I returned home to find employment in the Quality Assurance field.
In the last 8 years, I’ve become interested in merging my two greatest interests, Astronomy and Art, into a unique expression in the form of my lunar drawings. Though I strive to make them as accurate as possible, I am also quite conscious of the compositional elements, finding endless excitement in the negative and positive spaces that the lunar surface provides, especially in the zone near the terminator. All my efforts are aimed to convey that moment of recognition or observation, yet also the play of shadow and shape, of light and darkness, the eternal beauty of the lunar dialectic.
I am pleased to be a co-author, along with Erika Rix, Sol Robbins, Jeremy Perez and David Moody, of the recently published book “Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction”, Springer Science and Business Media, LTD (c) 2007. This exciting new book is intended to provide amateur astronomers with a working understanding of how to render a wide diversity of celestial objects, using various techniques in a number of mediums. I am delighted to be the Webmaster for a site called "Astronomy Sketch of the Day" which focuses on daily submissions of astronomical related sketches and artwork and honored to be a Star Contributor at “Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews” where I enjoy sharing all aspects of amateur astronomy.
Image Caption 1: Copernicus
Image Caption 2: Mare Nectaris
Other Images by Richard Harold Handy
Rima and Rupes Cauchy
Seleucus Briggs Lichtenberg
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