When Skyler Davis was cleaning out his stepmother's garage, he stumbled upon some beautiful paintings created by his grandmother, Erva Lee Edler, who passed away in 2013.
"My grandma was a proficient painter. In her old age, she couldn't make fine details anymore, so she started painting the stars," he said when he shared photos of the colorful images.
Users on social media immediately weighed in, commenting on the beauty of the paintings, but also trying to match them to the original images on which they were likely based. Someone thought, for example, that the image above was based on M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy.
"While looking through them, I was reminded how talented of an artist she was," Davis told MNN. "I thought it would be a shame to have these paintings sitting in a garage when I could take pictures of them and show them to people who would appreciate them. I was not expecting the overwhelming positive reaction the paintings received, I am honestly floored by it. I told (my step-mom) about the incredible thoughts and comments people were sharing about the paintings. She said she felt touched and teared up at the feeling of missing her mom."
"I believe these are based on actual pictures from Nasa," Davis wrote on reddit, as users made their guesses, and even asked to buy copies of the colorful works of art.
Some thought Edler's painting above looks like it may have been based on a NASA image of the Cocoon Nebula.
"I believe painting was just a hobby for her," Davis said. "She painted all manner of subjects, but I think she had a preference for the natural world — things like landscapes, wildflowers and animals. I remember her in her '70s, waking up at 4 in the morning to climb the hills outside her house so she could paint the sunrises. She especially loved painting wild animals like wolves and big cats."
Reddit users chimed in to say they thought the painting above was modeled after the Omega Nebula.
Davis said his grandmother was interested in both microphysics and astrophysics. "She had dozens of scientific books relating to particles and atoms and the cosmos. She greatly admired scientists like Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and her hero, Albert Einstein. I remember her reading a great deal, and napping in the sun out on the porch. When I think about Lee, the strongest memories I have of her are her paintings, and the love she had for her children."
Some readers said they thought the painting above was based on a closeup image of the Swan Nebula.
Davis said he and his stepmother are overwhelmed and grateful for the positive responses his grandmother's art has received.
"I think Lee would have been amazed and moved by the sheer number of people who viewed and loved her work. Lee has been gone for a couple of years now, but through her paintings, she lives on."