Space Art

The ultimate artist for the genre of Space Art is Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon and the only Apollo astronaut to document his experience by artwork.

Alan started painting after working in other NASA projects; his last venture was training astronauts for the soon to end Shuttle programme. He could easily have taken other jobs at organisations such as Rockwell or McDonnell-Douglas, but it was painting he cared about most. It was a hobby he did at weekends, but he decided to take it to a new level and turn it into a profession.

He paints with acrylics, tending to be impressionistic as well as technically detailed. His images show an eyewitness account of the first human exploration of another world. There is an irony that his paintings somewhat fill in a missing gap, because the TV camera taken to the moon for Apollo 12 was broken by Alan himself by inadvertently pointing it at the sun, so no moving footage was taken of this mission, although still pictures were.

What is remarkable about each painting is that it includes small amounts of materials from his space suit mission patches, the gold foil that insulated the Apollo 12 command module and finally a small amount of moon dust (gained from his dirtied mission patches). It is a high level of personalisation and real history that Alan includes with his paintings.

The moon has an inherent problem with trying to paint it’s surface in a realistic way and that is the lack of colour on the moon, as well as a uniformly dark sky. Alan is fully aware of the issue: “There’s only a few colours you can use on the Moon and make it look real; you can use reds and oranges-which are becoming my favourite-and yellows. But you use almost anything else and it doesn’t look right. It took me years to understand this, but being an art lover, it can still be frustrating.” (from MOON DUST, by Andrew Smith, Bloomsbury publishing 2005, Pg 185).

Including some kind of personalisation in our artwork is a continual goal for all of us. It might not be moon dust, that we include in our art, but using symbolism, self created models or an image presenting a personal story may be our own way of showing our uniqueness.

We include an interview with a digital space artist Mark Edwards, who has a wonderful portfolio created with Terragen.

Read the interview in our free on-line magazine publication here:

Top Ideas for Unique and Quirky Gifts Suitable for Any Occasion

For many people, the task of locating a gift, whether for a loved one or colleague, is a simple matter involving a quick trip to town. The only real effort involved was considering options first, and thinking of a suitable item in a general category. So, a book for a reader, some CDs for a musician or a DVD for a movie buff. However, unique, special or even quirky gifts, were found almost by accident. The truth is that the less common a gift is the more appreciated it is by the recipient. This uniqueness is the aspect that ensures that priceless surprised reaction when the gift is opened. Of course, personal interest plays a big part in this too, with lovers of history generally more appreciative of antique maps than perhaps a lover of modern technological gadgetry would be. In some cases, the gift itself might not even seem impressive, but it has a significance to the recipient. Perhaps, one who has a deep interest in arts and crafts is delighted with a range of traditional paper, or even some sealing wax and stamp with which they can complete the overall desired artistic effect on a document or envelope. This usefulness is just as important to them, as a film lover would consider a digitally remastered copy of an all time classic. We have put together a list of 2 gift ideas that could be considered strange or quirky by some, but which boast unique qualities that can have a huge impression on the recipient. From an archeology kit and weather forecasters, to antique prints and atlases, they can each be placed well outside the realm of the ordinary, much to the pleasure of those who receive them.

Archeology Kit

Seems unlikely that we would ever have thought that an archeology kit would be available as a modest gift. However, it would surely appeal to the amateur historian or student interested in archeology as a hobby. The kit typically includes a trowel, a brush and some other vital but basic tools. They can also come with a fragmented replica pottery piece which the owner can reassemble with glue. A booklet provides details on things like techniques, advice and historic information.

Wax Seals

The letter writing revival that has been borne in the face of emailing and texting has led to a return of writing accessories that relate to eras long gone.

The use of wax to seal envelopes, for example, is more reflective of 1811 than 2011, and with it the need for wax seals with emblems, family crests and other images has also increased. These seals are available in glazed handles and usually come in sets comprising wax sticks and stamps with interchangeable stamp heads. They are a highly popular but simple gifts for every letter writer.

Antique Prints

Prints are a highly popular gift, not just to the historian or artist, but to anyone who has an even general appreciation for both. Antique prints are different to straight forward art because they carry with them stronger historical and social senses about them. For example, a Kells Cross print is a beautiful and colourful presentation of ancient Celtic religious art, but a Pete Douglas print presents it with a modern twist. Weather Forecasters A weather forecaster is one of the most quirky gifts that can be given.

However, since they are small, wooden framed with a dark varnish finish and a brass front plate, they can complement the decor of a study or living room. The forecast is measured through barometric pressure, wind direction and weather trends, which go together on one face and can forecast weather conditions to a high accuracy level. At just 6 inches high, they can sit perfectly well on a desk or on a sideboard or table.

Antique Atlas

This is a particularly appreciated gift amongst historians, geographers and patriots, and even for the frequent traveller. An antique maps or atlas has a solemn quality that can add considerable character to a study, bedroom or living room, with pictures reflecting the image people had of the world they lived in centuries ago.