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The Golden Fleece

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An astrological, metaphysical portrait of Aries personality extraordinaire, calligrapher and type designer Jill Bell.

The main background of stars used in the above artwork is taken from the relevant portion of A 60 degree wide-field shot showing Cassiopea, Andromeda, Pisces, Perseus, Triangulum, and Aries, taken by astrophotographer Noel Carboni (used with permission)...

Photo
"A 60 degree wide-field shot showing Cassiopea, Andromeda, Pisces, Perseus, Triangulum, and Aries"
— Astrophotography by Noel Carboni

The above shot was rotated roughly 90° (clockwise) and then cropped down to just the constellation of Aries (here located at the bottom-right corner, with the very bright object at the bottom edge there being the planet Mars). While researching what the constellation lines should be (from a mythological perspective) I found that different historical sources use a variety of patterns, with some showing only very few lines, while others have numerous lines including almost all of the brighter objects within that constellation's region. For this piece, I chose to adopt a middle-ground between these two extremes...

Photo

One will note that in my artwork (at the top of this page), the starfield background has been extended to the left a bit, in order to incorporate the furthest-left star in the constellation, Zeta Arietis (not shown, of course, in Noel's original photograph), which was simulated using data acquired online.

In designing the constellation lines, I did so keeping in mind both the magnitude of the respective stars (reflected in the brightness of the lines, as a gradient between each star), as well as their distance from the earth (reflected in the thickness, or width, of the lines). With the exceptions of 33 Arietis and 35 Arietis (for which I could find only minimal information) overall these lines proportionally reflect what is known about these particular objects from this constellation, as outlined in the chart below...

Star Name Apparent
Magnitude
Distance
from Earth
(lightyears)

α

Alpha Arietis

2.2

66

β

Beta Arietis

2.64

59.6

γ

Gamma Arietis

3.88

204

δ

Delta Arietis

4.35

168

ε

Epsilon Arietis

4.63

293

ζ

Zeta Arietis

4.87

340

λ

Lambda Arietis

4.79

133

ν

Nu Arietis

5.45

347

33 Arietis

5.30

?

35 Arietis

4.65

?

41 Arietis

3.61

159

As for the figure of Jill, this arose not from a single photograph, but is actually a composite created from eight different photographs! All in all, about three years were spent revising this piece until I was finally satisfied with it.

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