Local artists inspired by solar eclipse to channel inner cosmos

OSWEGO, N.Y. — In anticipation for the total solar eclipse approaching Oswego, local artists stirred up creative energy to express their interpretations of the unique phenomenon.

Bonnie Trovato-Sommers, an artist at Riverside Artesans, hosted a paint party in which attendees each painted an eclipse over a lighthouse.

“I know it was the solar eclipse so it was gonna be a midnight, like a twilight painting,” Trovato-Sommers said. “So I had to search it and see different ways those blues and things came up, and you know how it looked.”

Natalia Lewandowska, director of the SUNY Oswego campus’ Shineman Planetarium, attended the eclipse-themed paint party at Riverside Artesans. She saw it as an opportunity to mix her passion for astronomy with her hobby for painting.

“I do this for the fun,” Lewandowska said. “I really like to use different parts of my brain when I paint. It’s just I don’t know how to explain this. It’s more like, the artistic part comes out.”

A woman paints a canvas depicting a solar eclipse over lighthouse and a cloudy, deep blue sky.
Bonnie Trovato-Sommers hosted a paint party inspired by the solar eclipse. Photo by: Clarissa Karki

Students at SUNY Oswego are showcasing their space-themed artwork at the “Looking Up” exhibition at Tyler Hall, which will be up until April 10. The exhibition features several types of art, including paintings, photography, sculptures, posters and book art.

“The buzz on campus is that it’s going to be packed and crazy chaos,” Elizabeth Hunt, the exhibition’s organizer, said. “So I wanted to take a moment to just kinda look at the artwork of that.”

Beyond Oswego, Wayne Grim, a sound artist, is working with a team from Exploratorium, a laboratory that creates science-inspired art, to make music from the eclipse. Grim plans to use sonification, the conversion of data into sound, to turn the light from the eclipse into music.

 “Mostly I work with sound but I thought it would be interesting to do something that was both visual and musical together,” Grim said.

Grim previously created live sonification of the 2017 total solar eclipse in Casper, Wyoming using live telescope feed.

Exploratorium will begin their livestream of the 2024 solar eclipse sonification on April 8, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m Eastern Standard Time.