Astronaut. Artist. Alan Bean.
On Wednesday I was watching a PBS special about Mark Kelly's 340 day sojourn on the International Space Station and his return to Earth that day. And I thought that astronauts have always been my heroes. My dad was in the Air Force during the Korean war and I was really into reading about WWII flying aces. And I think it was a natural progression of interest and awe in the accomplishments and bravery of the first generations of astronauts. Most of them were former military test pilots. Even more amazing they accomplished these feats with such limited technology. The average new car has more sophisticated computers than did the Apollo spacecraft. And perhaps not widely known one of those astronauts is an artist and has been making paintings of his experiences on the moon for years. His name is Alan Bean. And among other missions he flew on Apollo 12 in November 1969 and is the fourth person to ever have walked on the moon. Above is his 1986 painting Conquistadors. In his paintings he textures the backgrounds with tools and moon boots used on the missions to resemble the rough surface of the lunar landscape. See the detail of a picture he did of Neil Armstrong below. (Did you know Neil Armstrong got his pilot's license before he was old enough to drive!!?) Alan Bean is in the company of painters like Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, capturing images of a new frontier. And urging us to continue the exploration of new horizons, where ever we may find them. To learn more go to: www.alanbean.com/