By Karen E. Koppel
If you go
What: “Deep Space” exhibit
When: Opening reception from 5-8 tonight, shows through Jan. 31
Where: Franklin Crossing, 550 N.W. Franklin Ave., Bend
Exploding gaseous bands of red, yellow and white encircle a blue center dotted with fluorescent stars against a black sky. The paint is tangible and vibrant on the canvas, a mind-bending juxtaposition with the fact that the subject — the Helix Nebula, also known as the “Eye of God” — is the result of a star that exploded millions of years ago.
Art and science come together in the works of astrophotographer Bill Logan and landscape artist Ann Bulwinkel, who create oil paintings based on photos from the Hubble telescope and Logan’s own deep-space photography. The couple’s new exhibit, “Deep Space,” opens tonight at the Franklin Crossing building in downtown Bend and runs through January (see “If you go”).
Logan and Bulwinkel sat down recently with GO! Magazine to talk about the exhibit. The discussion started with science: light years, wavelengths, planetary gases. Logan, a volunteer astronomer for Pine Mountain Observatory, is passionate about the topic.
To create a deep-space image, he takes 40 photographs time-lapsed at 20 minutes apiece. Different filters are used to filter out the existence of oxygen, hydrogen or a particular element. Since the human eye sees only gray in deep-space photographs, the original black and white images are layered in Photoshop to create one composite, then colorized; Logan used blue for oxygen, red for hydrogen, green for sulfur and so on.
The resultant photographs are excruciatingly detailed and complex, with shapes and colors of solar systems, helixes, planets and stars.
Enter Bullwinkel, Logan’s wife and the twinkle in his eye. Their lives collided online three years ago after Logan’s previous wife died. As an artist, Bullwinkel was intrigued by the images of space found in Logan’s work and the book “Cosmos” by Giles Sparrow. She wants to “capture the drama,” she said, of the photographs and communicate to the viewer an appreciation of the details of this world.
Bullwinkel currently does just that in her detailed impressionist landscape oil paintings that exude a sense of atmosphere or feeling. It was a new challenge to tackle the intricate landscapes of space where accuracy is important because, as Bullwinkel notes, “I am not the creator.” (Could have fooled me.)
Her piece “Omega Nebula” is a fiery landscape of light and color with the smallest detail depicting a star light years in the distance. Because the images are based on far-off astral events, they often depict things that no longer exist, but have just recently reached us due to the bending and speed of light.
“Sunspot” by Logan reflects his current interest of solar observing. Its dark center with bright gold offshoots recalls a close-up view of a sunflower. In reality, five earths would fit in the center.
The couple shares the Bullwinkel Gallery on Greenwood Avenue in Bend and they often work side-by-side on individual paintings. They act as each other’s sounding boards, offering advice and critique.
“Ann is the master mixer of paint,” Logan said, often helping him get just the right color. And Bullwinkel said Logan will let her know if he feels something is missing in her piece. The conversation flows back and forth in mutual affinity.
The collaboration on this stellar exhibit is an experimental flash on the local art scene. Bullwinkel will go back to creating her incredible landscapes; she is currently working on a contrast of water and grass. Logan, primarily a self-taught artist except for four classes at a junior college, will return to solar observing and his detailed pencil drawings of cowboys and horses that earned him an exhibit at the Sisters Rodeo next summer.
Sometimes good things happen when two worlds collide.
— Reporter: 541-383-0351, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: This article has been updated. In the original, the contact phone number was incorrect. The Bulletin regrets the error.