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I have been very fortunate in being able to travel widely in connection with scientific meetings, workshops of the International Association for the Astronomical Arts, and personal family travel. In recent years, I have tried to take paints along in order to paint in unfamiliar landscapes.

When I was in school, I thought that statements about the differences in the "quality of light" in different locales were vague and unscientific; now I realize their truth, and that light and landscape are very much affected by climate,altitude, and location. For example, the Sonoran desert has very clear air and harsh light, while the coastal regions of California have humidity, salt grains, and other particulates that diffuse the sunlight and create the widely noted "golden glow" of southern California. One of my pleasures is to try to be attuned to, and to capture, this very specific sense of place and/or season, as well as more obvious differences in landscape, plants, and geology.

699 - Christchurch Botanical Garden, New Zealand697 - The Waimangu geothermal area near Rotarua, New Zealand
699 -- Christchurch Botanical Garden, New Zealand. (2009.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).697 -- The Waimangu geothermal area near Rotarua, New Zealand. This is a steaming lake in a beautiful natural park in one of New Zealand's volcanic areas. Hiking trails abound here! A three hour painting in the sun! (2009.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

667 - View of the hotel "Patio Malinche" in Granada, Nicaragua654 - The Petergof Gardens outside St. Petersburg, Russia
667 -- View of the hotel "Patio Malinche" in Granada, Nicaragua. Looking out the front door onto the street. As with nearly all my travel paintings this is a plein air painting on site. This was the inexpensive headquarters for a workshop of the International Association of Astronomical Artists. (2007.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).654 -- The Petergof Gardens outside St. Petersburg, Russia. Peter the Great built a palace complex including a spectacular church and beautiful garden, patterned on Versailles. During the Soviet period it was converted to a public park. Some Russian colleagues arranged a pleasant tour. (2006.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

648 - Charlevoix Impact Country, Quebec, Canada611 - The Inca water temple at Tipon, Peru
648 -- Charlevoix Impact Country, Quebec, Canada. Charlevoix is known as a charming tourist region with French-inspired villages along the St. Lawrence River, seen to the left. To a planetary scientist, it is the site of an enormous, half eroded impact crater, 54 km in diameter and 240 million years old. This view is from the northeast rim, looking southwest. The mountains in the distance are part of a central peak complex. The crater was recognized only in 1965, and our tour was arranged by my Canadian colleague, cratering expert Michael Dence. (2006.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).611 -- The Inca water temple at Tipon, Peru. The water temples are centuries-old stone constructions designed to bring water from the precipitous Andes slopes down into the occupied valleys. They are beautiful examples of Inca engineering. My wife, Gayle, served in the Peace Corps in Peru in the 1960s, and in 2004 we were able to re-visit Peruvian friends with whom she worked, and visit a number of famous and not-so-famous ruins. (2004.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).
609 - Machu Picchu, Peru399 - Kafka's castle, Prague
609 -- Machu Picchu, Peru. These ruins surpass their reputation, in setting and in intricate walls and pathways atop a knife-edge ridge. This famous view is from a slope at one end of the ridge, where I sat and painted for a few hours, using both palette knife and brush. The community was occupied for about a century, around 1500, and was rediscovered only in 1911. (2004.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).399 -- Kafka's castle, Prague. The government buildings of Prague lie on a hill across the river from the downtown area of Prague. These were the inspiration for the brooding "castle" and massed offices of bureaucrats that figured in Kafka's writings. In reality, the city and the castle building are beautiful. This was painted in a nearby hotel during a meeting of the 1994 Meteoritical Society in Prague. (Collection Dr. Charles B. Osburn). (1994.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann).


320 - Twilight off the Coast of Yalta, Crimea. 
320 -- Twilight off the Coast of Yalta, Crimea. During the Glasnost period in 1990, the Russian Union of Artists invited the International Association for the Astronomical Arts to a series of workshops and exchanges. In one of these we went to the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea, a favorite Russian resort and artistic area. This was painted there after a boat ride down the coast. At first, I was not going to include the construction crane; but I was influenced by the Russian art which portrayed many honest scenes of real life in the USSR of that time. Construction and cranes were ubiquitous. It was a step for me to move away from idealized landscapes and include what I came to think of as the national bird, the construction crane, to represent what we were seeing all around us. I've always been glad I did; it made the painting much more specific to that time and place. (1990.) (Copyright William K. Hartmann). 

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