I finished The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal on Friday evening, August 24. Terri had finished both books in the Lady Astronaut duology by then, and on Monday when we both managed to be on a computer at the same time, Terri started poking me to do Lady Astronaut art.
“But I specialize in medieval-style illuminated manuscripts,” I protested. “That wouldn’t be appropriate here.”
But Terri suggested we do something with a biblical quote about the stars and the idea was planted and wouldn’t go away. Terri suggested a rocket and I suggested art nouveau instead, because I hate painting rockets, and I had been thinking for a while that I hadn’t done any art nouveau lately. And then it sat for a bit. Waiting.
On September 3 I found this passage in Kiddush Levana, the sanctification of the moon that is done once a month:
וְלַלְּבָנָה אָמַר שֶׁתִּתְחַדֵּשׁ עֲטֶרֶת תִּפְאֶרֶת לַעֲמוּסֵי בָטֶן שֶׁהֵם עֲתִידִים לְהִתְחַדֵּשׁ כְּמוֹתָה
And of the moon G-d said that it should renew itself as a crown of glory for those born of the womb, for they are destined to recreate themselves just as it does.
And suddenly the idea was in my brain and wouldn’t get out. One problem: it was the week before Rosh HaShanah and I didn’t have any time for anything, particularly not an involved art project.
Then, a few days later, I found Mary Robinette Kowal’s newsletter in my mailbox highlighting the Lady Astronaut fan art contest. Deadline for entry: September 21. Yeah, there was no way I was going to make that deadline.
Except the idea would not let me go, and two days after Rosh HaShanah I started working on a draft in earnest. I did a full pencil of the final on Sunday and have been painting since Monday (with a stop for, you know, Yom Kippur on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday).
I’m not actually quite done and I am posting this during grace minutes after candlelighting before the Sabbath. But here’s the current state of the art: