Fifty years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took a romp on the moon. I was thinking about the astronauts who went to the moon this week. Amongst them was the fourth man to walk on the moon, Alan Bean.
He retired from NASA in 1981 to pursue a career painting. I guess he figured he'd paint what he knew, so he spent the rest of his days blissfully painting that far away place he visited so long ago. I imagine he could have taken up just about anything but he decided on painting.
His paintings are unique.
First, there is no other painter in the world who has first hand experience with the landscape and feeling of being on the moon. He was there, he experienced it first hand and he passes that down to all of us in his paintings.
Second, because he was allowed to keep his space suit and other memorabilia like patches, he thought he would incorporate some of that moon dust he brought back in his paintings. He mixes the paint and adds a bit of magic from November 1969.
Third, he used his space boots, and the hammer used to sink the flag pole in the surface of the moon to add texture to his paintings.
If you look closely at this painting, Spirit of Apollo, you can see the textures he added with his space boots.
I suppose this was not exactly as he saw things 240 thousand miles from our front door, but it's exciting to see how he wanted to convey the experience.
We owe a lot to these adventurers who took that round trip to our little grey cousin in the sky. It's motivating to see such a guy take up painting and sharing his experience and his work. If you want to read a bit more about this painting, you can visit his website and read it in the artists own words. The Spirit of Apollo.
Alan Bean passed away last year and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on November 8, 2018. His funeral was marked with all the attendant flourishes you would expect for such a man.
Rest in Peace Alan, your work will continue to represent you long into the future.
You can visit Alan Bean on Wikipedia or his Website.
Now, you go out and make some art.