Mountains of the Moon - with the Lunar Module Falcon

Looking east toward Falcon with the Swann Hills in the distance

Painting Completed 1993
19 1/2 x 48 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

Falcon, the Apollo 15 lunar module, sits on uneven ground, all alone on the plains of Hadley. The Apennine Mountains are on the horizon, about three miles behind. We are near the eastern edge of Mare Imbrium, the dark circular sea that forms the right eye of the man in the Moon when we view it from Earth.

No one is around. Dave Scott and Jim Irwin have gone for a ride in their new rover, a small electric dune buggy. The rover will prove itself an important tool for exploring the Moon. Over the next few days, Dave and Jim will cover five times the total surface walked and run on the three previous Apollo missions. We can see where Dave and Jim walked and where the rover's woven piano-wire tires made their distinctive mark in the soft gray lunar soil. Dave would later say, "These mountains were never quickened by life, never assailed by wind or rain, they loom still and serene, a tableau of forever. Their majesty overwhelms me."

This landscape indeed presents a beautiful yet unearthly scene. Claude Monet is my favorite artist and I wonder how he might have painted this motif. With him in mind, I have not painted the Moon the neutral gray I saw with my astronaut geologist's eye, but rather a more beautiful combination of hues that I saw in my astronaut artist's eye. I think Monet would approve.

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