Alan L. Bean
Of the twelve astronauts to walk on the surface of the moon, one returned to share his experience through paintings that speak to his journey, astronaut Alan L. Bean. As a former naval officer, aeronautical engineer, test pilot and NASA astronaut he flew in the Apollo 12 mission of 1969 with Commander Conrad as the Lunar Module Pilot. Together they completed seven hours of lunar surface activities that included color images of the moon’s terrain and have served for inspiration to countless Americans as well as the astronauts’s own artwork.
While working as a test pilot at Patuxent River, Maryland in the early 60’s, Alan Bean began art classes in watercolor and sketch at St. Mary’s College night school program. What started as a hobby, became a profession after retiring in 1981 as the commander of space station Skylab III. Devoted to his new career of painting, Bean continues to share his stories of space exploration as told through the eyes and heart of an explorer.
Astronaut Bean’s techniques include using aircraft plywood to hold textured impressions of a bronzed moon boot, imprints from space tools and fabric bits of a space suit that include lunar dust. As the only professional artist fortunate to visit a world that no other artist has seen, he pays special attention to the accuracy of his subject and composition, even to the precise lighting that occurred at the time of his painted events. Interestingly, he wanted to add color to the Moon. “I had to figure out a way to add color to the Moon without ruining it,” he later adds “…in the beautiful desolate landscape of the ‘Ocean of Storm’ I want to create color to the moon surface and share this very rare experience with others”