In 1973, Bean was the spacecraft Commander of Skylab Mission II (SL III), where he lived 59 days with fellow astronauts Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma in sp
"Pete Conrad, the commander of our mission, one of my very best friends ever, he was killed on a motorcycle a few years ago, and so there was one with the three of us in it – Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, Al Bean – on the moon. Now, Dick Gordon never got on the moon, he stayed in the command module, but as an artist I had him on the moon standing between us, and I call the painting "The Fantasy." There the three of us that worked together, cared about each other, and tried to make, you know, this American dream come true." Alan Bean
Alan LaVerne (Al) Bean was born in 1932 at Wheeler in Texas. As a boy, he lived in Louisiana. He graduated from High School and went to the University of Texas, in Austin, where, in 1955, he gained a BSc degree in aeronautical engineering. He became a fighter pilot and later trained as a Navy Test Pilot where his instructor was Pete Conrad, later to
Bean was selected by NASA in the third group of astronauts in October 1963. He served on the backup crews of Gemini 10 and Apollo 9 missions before assignment as Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 12, the second lunar landing.
On November 19, 1969, Commander Pete Conrad and Alan Bean landed on the Ocean of Storms and became the third and fourth humans to walk on the moon, while Richard Gordon orbited overhead in the Command Module. For about four hours they had bounded about in the moon's one-sixth gravity, setting up scientific experiments and picking up around 30 kg of rock samples
Alan Bean had always enjoyed painting as a hobby. He had attended evening classes at St. Mary's College in Maryland in 1962, and between missions as a test pilot and astronaut, he continued private art lessons. His beautiful paintings show the aeronautical engineer's attention to detail.
In an interview, Alan Bean said, "When I got back from the moon, I realised that I'd been to a place that no artist has ever been to in all of history, maybe if I could learn to paint it well enough I could do something worthwhile!" To make his paintings really unique, he even used real moon dust from his spacesuit in his paintings!
I met Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the Moon, at Autographica, held in London in October 2007.
He signed a photo for me and I also had 2 photographs taken with him, one formal in front of a model spacecraft, the other more informal with the signed moonwalker picture behind us.
to become his commander on Apollo XII.
Alan Bean signing my photograph
study back on Earth.
space, orbiting 270 miles above the earth. He also performed a spacewalk outside the Skylab. His awards include two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal and the Robert J. Collier Trophy.
Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 but continued with NASA until 1981 when he left to take up painting full time at his studio in Houston, Texas.
In 2007, a DVD was produced featuring an original, 32-minute documentary about Bean's Apollo-inspired artwork using footage shot inside hisworkshop. The DVD also includes a photo gallery of the tools and artifacts that Bean uses to add texture and character to his paintings.
In his book Apollo: An Eyewitness Account (1998) Alan Bean tells of his experiences as an astronaut, and the book is illustrated with many of his paintings.
Alan Bean with one of his paintings
"I have painted the beautiful rolling surface of the Taurus-Littrow Valley. On the horizon are the mountainous highlands at the Eastern end of the Serenitatis Basin. The moon is actually gray dirt and rocks with a black sky. When I was an astronaut, I reported it exactly that way. But now that I am an artist, I do not believe that my job is to precisely reproduce the real world. This painting is then a feeling I have of the Taurus-Littrow landscape." Alan Bean
Alan Bean signed this photo for me at Autographica
Alan Bean in his Skylab training suit
Skylab 3 splashes down in 1973
Alan Bean sets foot on the Moon
Alan Bean's photograph of Pete Conrad and the
American flag on the Moon
Alan Bean on the Moon
Garriott, Lousma & Bean on Skylab 3
Alan Bean with Ciaran Brown at Autographica in 2007
In The Beginning
Jim Irwin - Indomitable Astronaut
Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt
For One Priceless Moment
That's How It Felt To Walk On The Moon
Houston We Have a Problem
Mountains Of The Moon - Their Inherent Majesty
Straightening Our Stripes
Magic Moment In Time
We Came In Peace
Hammer And Feather
Reaching For The Stars
and lunar soil for
Apollo XII insignia
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