Astronaut-Artist, Alan L. Bean
Of the twelve astronauts to walk on the surface of the moon, one retired to share his experience through paintings that speak to his experience, astronaut Alan L. Bean. Pilot Bean is a former naval officer, aeronautical engineer, test pilot and NASA astronaut. In 1969 Commander Charles Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean completed seven hours of lunar surface activities that included the first color images of the moon’s terrain which have served as inspiration to countless Americans and the pilot’s own artwork.
Alan Bean was working as a test pilot in the early 60’s at Patuxent River, Maryland when he began art classes in watercolor and sketch at a local night school program. What started as a hobby, became a profession after retiring 1981from the mission as commander on space station Skylab III. Devoted to his new career Bean shares his stories of space exploration as told through the eyes and heart of an astronaut.
Astronaut Bean’s techniques includes using a laminated board to create textured imprints of a bronzed moon boot, scrapes from space tools and fabric bits of space suits 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, right to the lighting that occurred at the time of his painted event. 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 added “…in the beautiful desolate landscape of the ‘Ocean of Storm’ he wanted to create color to the moon surface to share this very rare experience with others”