On Monet’s Moon, Alan Bean says, “I began these studies a number of years ago to record some of my memories of seeing the Moon close up. My first study showed how Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, and I saw the Moon an hour or so after we thrusted out of lunar orbit heading for home. The Moon appeared exactly as if we were looking at a large black-and-white photograph because of the strong direct backscatter of sunlight by the lunar dirt. I could not recognize the Moon as a sphere, only as a flat disc. The study was technically accurate but to me an unartistic black-white-painting. I set it aside. My first try at this second study was an unsuccessful attempt to show the pronounced blue of the reflected earth light as it strikes the shadow area of the Moon. It was unartistic; blue-gray, black-and-white painting. I set it aside. I did several others with similar results.
Years later I decided to rework two of these studies as color exercises. The first – Monet’s Moon – was painted with my favorite artist in mind. I studied a print of one of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series created in reds, violets, and blues. I then repainted the Moon with Monet’s colors, this time without regard to mountains and craters. For the second study, now titled “A Most Beautiful Moon”, I tried to retain some of the reflected-earth-light-shadow-effect while adding other earth colors. I satisfied my curiosity with these studies. I’ll leave the job of creating a body of full-disc Moon paintings to future artists. I’m spending most of my time recording an event that will never happen again in our history: humankind’s first visit to another world.”
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