The work of artist Alan Bean conveys the sense of space travel not only through subject and color but also texture. The tools that once helped him explore the moon, now help him put the moonâ€™s stamp on many of his paintings. Prior to painting the image, Bean covers the paintingâ€™s surface with a texturing material. He then uses exact replicas of his Moon boots to make footprints across this surface that are just like all the Apollo boot prints remaining on the moon today. Next he uses the same geology hammer he worked with on the Apollo 12 mission to dig into the paintingâ€™s surface. Finally, a sharp edged bit from one of the core tubes is used to make round indentations in the surface.
"I guess every astronaut wanted to be the first man on the Moon. I know I did," says Alan Bean. "And if we couldn't be the first, we at least wanted to be one of the first. Apollo 11â€™s crew got the opportunity to make the first attempt. Neil, Buzz and Mike flew a perfect flight and went into the history books; but all 400,000 Americans that helped make Apollo a success are in that history, too."
"I think this painting is exactly how Astronaut Neil Armstrong looked as he took the now-iconic photo of his lunar companion, Buzz Aldrin," says the artist. "It is the image we would see in Buzzâ€™s gold visor in my painting First Menâ€”Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrinâ€”if we could look close enough."