Alan Bean: A Painter Was Once an Astronaut

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An Astronaut Goes From Walking on the Moon to Painting It
The New York Times

It has been nearly 40 years since Alan L. Bean walked on the moon as an Apollo astronaut, but he still wrestles with the experience every day, trying to recapture what he and other astronauts saw and felt in the medium of paint.

Becoming a painter has been a long slog for Mr. Bean, who describes himself as a slow learner. He has had to give up the hyper-rational way of seeing the world he had learned as a Navy test pilot and engineer. He has trained himself to see things not as they are but as they feel to him, to translate emotions into colors and to resist his scientific urges.

“When I left NASA, I made up my mind I was not going to be an astronaut who painted, but an artist who used to be an astronaut,” he said. “It takes a while to change the heart.”

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