I am an artist specializing is science fiction and astronomically themed paintings. I have been painting for over forty years. I work mostly with acrylic paints on canvas. This blog is the online diary of my work in progress. Some of my completed paintings will be displayed here but the primary intent is to show works in the various stages of their development from inception to completion. I hope you enjoy it.
----David A. Henninger

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

InConJunction starts tomorrow.  I just finished a few paintings to show there.  Of course if they don't sell there they will still be for sale.


 Here I tried to depict a lost, abandon space station placed thee long ago to observe the remnants of an exploded star.  All of these photos show glare from my studio lights.  I haven't had time to correct that.

 I have always admired van Gogh.  Sometimes I find myself imitating him.

A quiet evening, a cold drink, and a beach on a tropical moon.  What more can anyone want?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tryptich Progress

I want the painting to have depth.  I've placed another moon in the foreground.  I want it to look liked a place where there could be life.
 It's nearing completion.

Dawn Greeting

For a long time I've been fascinated by the beauty and symmetry of celestial conjunctions.  I suspect he opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey had something to do with this.  I saw that film in Cinerama at the Indiana Theater in it's first week of release.

I did this painting a few years ago.  There are worlds that have spectacular moons like Jupiter and Saturn.  In other parts of the galaxy I assumed some of these had to be in the Goldilocks Zone where our kind of life can exist.  The Kepler Telescope later prove this to be correct.  It seemed to me that on a world where conjunctions like this one could happen, they would strongly effect the religion or mysticism of the people who lived there, hence the simple temple of standing stones and the priestess, or mystic, or whatever you like to call her.  For effect I've made the moons ridiculously large.  The tides alone would probably make this world uninhabitable.  Here the viewer is standing on one of the moons.  The primary is the planet at the horizon with three other moons above it.

My original title was Sun-worshiper.  I never liked it.   Why should she be "worshiping".  Perhaps something else is going on here.  A celebration of life and the richness of the universe?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Triptych Progress

I wanted to depict a crowded part of the universe, a planetary system in a star rich arm of a galaxy.  I decided to paint a blue gas giant with several moons.  At this stage they still need surface details.

These photos were taken with a small electronic camera in a confined space. (My studio)  Sometimes I used flash, sometimes not.  There is always glare from somewhere.  If its not the flash its the bright overhead lights I use.  For a final shot to advertize a piece or to save it for my portfolio a lot more care is taken to capture the colors and detail accurately.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Triptych: Work In Progress

I've started work on a triptych.  So far I've only roughed in the background.
 I intend to add more detail and a much more interesting foreground.  Sometimes the trick is to know when to stop.  The basic viewpoint is worlds near one limb of a galaxy.

Unlike most of my paintings this is not done on canvas.  Rather I'm using gesso prepared Masonite mounted on wooden frames.  This should give the finished work a sharp, well dressed look and none of the three final pieces will require a frame.

 I'll publish more on this piece later.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

X-ray Jet Galaxy

A few years ago astronomers decided that galaxies emitted jets from their poles.  At the time that I learned this I was working on a large painting of a galaxy.  It seemed a little out of balance and the addition of a jet from the galaxy's pole fixed the problem.  Since then it has been determined that black holes reside in the center of all galaxies.  The jets, actually emitted from the black hole, are what we once called quasars and exist in the early life of the galaxy.  Our own galaxy no longer emits such an intense beam.  I'm amazed that my painting still holds some scientific validity.
The large canvas was stretched over a circular frame, rounded on the edges so that it required non additional framing.  I was only able to do a few paintings on this type of canvas before my source dried up.  I've never been able to find these canvases again.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


This is the painting that I used as the background for this blog.  Castor is not actually a single star as the ancients who named it thought.  It's actually three binary star systems, literally six stars whirling around each other.  When I read that I decided to paint the picture you see.  I doubt strongly that this image is in any way accurate of Castor's true appearance.  The individual component stars are probably never this close to each other but he image that came to mind was too great to resist and this is the painting that resulted.

The spaceship is a nod to my love of science fiction.  I placed it in the shadow of a handy planetoid thinking that this might be a place that a science crew studying the system might select to shelter themselves from the tremendous radiation such a place must have.

I love the idea that the stars are different colors.  The universe is vibrant with color but with the ever present pollution we on Earth have little appreciation for it.  Castor is a variable star due to the constant shifting of positions of its six component stars.