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  “Past Is Prologue” (Tim Gagnon artwork)

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Author Topic:   “Past Is Prologue” (Tim Gagnon artwork)

Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 05-02-2008 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Past Is Prologue"
Celebrating 50 years of America in Space
(Original: 24" x 48", acrylic on stretched canvas, 2008)
Private Collection
By Timothy Alan Neil Gagnon

[click above to enlarge]

The goal was to capture the essence of the entire history of US space exploration onto one canvas. So obviously I had to begin at the beginning…Sputnik. The launch by the former Soviet Union on October 4, 1957 kicked USA efforts into high gear. The United States followed three months later (January 31, 1958) with the launch of Explorer 1, a scientific satellite that was able to confirm the existence of a radiation belt surrounding the Earth. In the lower left is Sputnik followed closely by Explorer 1.

In 1961 the new American President stung by the flight of Yuri Gagarin and bolstered by the reaction of the American people to the flight of Alan Shepard challenged this nation to “land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth.” The Space Race was on. In 1965 the cover of Time Magazine had an artist’s representation of a race to the Moon between an American Astronaut and Soviet Cosmonaut. I adopted and altered that illustration to represent the spacewalks of Soviet Alexsei Leonov and American Edward White, each carrying their flag as they race towards the goal.

The spacecraft and launch vehicles that we flew are represented in the painting also: the X-15, Mercury / Redstone and Atlas, Gemini / Titan, the Apollo / Saturn, Soyuz, Mir and the Space Shuttle. To illustrate that we, (the USA) won the space race, I painted a Lunar Module sitting on the surface of the Moon as an astronaut climbs down the ladder.

After the Moon program we turned our attention towards the Earth. The Skylab space station and Apollo – Soyuz Test Project illustrate our goals of making life better for people on our own planet by studying our environment, ourselves and learning to work together.

After Apollo-Soyuz, the United States would not launch an astronaut into orbit for almost six years. On April 12, 1981 the Space Shuttle made its debut. From 1981 until today the Space Shuttle has flown 123 missions as we’ve learned how to truly work and live on orbit. When you consider what we have learned from the shuttle program from microgravity research to satellite repair to international cooperation you will understand why I painted the shuttle launch in the center.

In two years when the shuttle is retired, we will have built the International Space Station, a monument to cooperation and teamwork and a true state of the art scientific laboratory that promises to teach us what we need to learn before we can venture out past the Moon and onto Mars. The ISS central truss is painted as the Flags of the participating countries to illustrate that cooperation.

There are sixteen portraits across the bottom of the painting. The most difficult thing was to choose which people who made the most significant contributions - who to include and who to leave out. As “ambassadors” they represent all of the people who worked along side them. They are from left to right: Sergei Korolyev, Werner von Braun, Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Valentina Tereshkova, Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, Guion Bluford, Fred Gregory, Mae Jemison, Eileen Collins, Bill Shepherd, Yang Liwei, Pam Melroy and Peggy Whitson.

To honor the fallen I attempted to make the center of the painting a “Space Mirror” a high gloss set of panels which represent the Astronaut Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center. The names of those who were killed in the line of duty are displayed as they are on the monument.

Next up, the Constellation Program which will transport up to six astronauts to the ISS and send four astronauts to return us to the Moon, this time to stay. The rockets that will take us there are the Ares V heavy lift cargo launcher and the Ares 1 launcher with the “Orion” Crew Exploration Vehicle. I have painted these vehicles in shades of black and white as they are not a certainty due to the challenges the new President will face when he or she takes office in 2009.

This painting was created by Tim Gagnon of Titusville, FL. A graphic and portrait artist with a life long passion for space exploration, his work is on display at the Kennedy Space Center, City Hall in Elmira, NY and the International Space Station.


Posts: 2564
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 05-03-2008 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tim, congratulations on an outstanding piece of work. I like the symbolic qualities of the painting and it reminds me of the famous McCall murals. Your work makes me want to try to create that sort of paintings too...



Posts: 296
From: Cleveland, OH USA
Registered: Aug 2006

posted 05-03-2008 09:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space4u   Click Here to Email space4u     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WOW--awesome job Tim!!!!



Posts: 299
From: Kiel, Germany
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 05-04-2008 12:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for contra   Click Here to Email contra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well done Tim!!!

take care,

Space Emblem Art

Posts: 163
From: Citrus Heights, CA - USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 05-04-2008 12:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Emblem Art   Click Here to Email Space Emblem Art     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Great job. To be considered in the style of Robert McCall is quite a compliment.



Posts: 500
From: Madrid, Spain
Registered: Oct 2005

posted 05-05-2008 07:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KAPTEC   Click Here to Email KAPTEC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tim, I agree with Ed, Marcy, Stephan and Bill. This is a GREAT job in the McCall line of artworks. You have captured entirely the US space race and conquest in this work.
I'm proud to be your friend Tim.


Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 05-05-2008 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awww shucks - twern't nothin. It only took 20 minutes and three cans of spray paint.

Thanks everyone, your compliments mean a lot.



Posts: 935
From: Carrollton, GA USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 05-05-2008 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Beautiful. It reminds me of McCall also, and that's a huge compliment!


Posts: 1906
From: MA, USA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 05-05-2008 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

When do the prints come out?

Great job...

New Member


posted 05-05-2008 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Flightdirector   Click Here to Email Flightdirector     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Once again, thank you for creating a superb depiction of 50 years of space history. I hope everyone has the opportunity to visit the US Space Walk of Fame Museum in Titusville during the next year to view the original painting before I have it displayed in my office. I have committed to assist in the underwriting the creation of limited edition prints for sale with the goal of raising additional funds for the museum. I invite anyone else to join in underwriting this project by donating to the museum and designating the donation to creation of prints of "Past is Prologue."

Ken Schwartz


Posts: 236
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 05-06-2008 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonwalker1954   Click Here to Email Moonwalker1954     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great job Tim!



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