Chris Hadfield: Astronaut, Space Troubadour, Photographer and Mentor

Most of us know by now the International Space Station orbits Earth 19 times per diem.  On board is Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield with fellow crew members.  Following up my previous posts about abstract patterns in the visible and invisible realms, we must add the unique “space-eye” view pictures of Earth that Chris is transmitting daily. 
Photo taken by Chris Hadfield from ISS of the Australian outback
 Many look like abstract art, some bordering on Fractal images.  We (Natasha and I) have known Chris for several years.  He is an Honorary member of the same club, the international Circumnavigators Club.  (I’m a Senior member.) Whereas I have circumnavigated the globe three times by ship, Commander Hadfield and other astronauts do this many times each day. 

Years ago, Chris gave an inspiring illustrated talk that we organized at the Vancouver Planetarium about Mars.  We noticed then his boundless enthusiasm and love of the subject, and his wish to share experience and observations with the “Human Family”. For those who are not familiar with the panoramic pictures he transmits of our home from his ‘home’, it would be an eye-opener to see how clear and beautiful those vistas are.   

Chris has now almost 300,000 followers on Twitter, and counting. So we thought we’d share with you that we have “a friend in high places” and are proud of him.  I call Chris a “space troubadour” because he not only plays guitar but composes and sings up there too.  You can find some videos on YouTube. Soon he’ll be Commander of that amazing space station, and what an achievement this is.  Yes he stays his usual self, full of enthusiasm.   

 A fusion of the inner child with mature adulthood.  Happy orbiting, Chris!


More re patterns in Nature and abstract art

People can be funny.  Had a reply to my previous post (Chondrites/abstract art) from Indonesia.  She asks if I use giraffe’s for models to paint.  No, all I did was point at the multitude of designs and patterns so abundant in Nature, which often have abstract designs. Awareness that it’s there is the key. The electron microscope reveals the realm of the invisible, while the Hubble telescope transmits us deep into the macrocosmos vistas.

Each frame could be an abstract if so rendered by the artist.  I have slides of mineral segments taken with an electron microscope which are beautiful images and yes, again, echo abstract art. I use these for lectures.  

But I also use images visible in Nature, which I mask out parts. What I do is have a print of a Pinto horse, cow, giraffe, colour tropical fish (“jewels with fins”) or whatever.  I then cover the head, legs where needed and tail, showing the result to the audience and ask what they think of it. 

Most are new to abstract art.  Silence.  They cannot make ‘head nor tail’ of it. Then I remove the coverings, and the “Oh’s” and “Ah’s” are heard. “That’s a fish!”, or “It’s a horse!”, or whatever.  See what I mean?

Aces in my hands.  And what about marble?  For this I do not need to cover some areas, but show the full image.

Still very few get it, and live in the world of “What’s that supposed to be?” Marble?  So ancient we don’t even know when it was formed. There is beauty in Nature, and inspiration all around us. All we need is to SEE it, not just glance in our over-active and anxious world of speedy communication with all these Apps and “electronic chip intelligence”. 

Besides noticing, intuition is what leads me to those realms. Having said all this about Art, there is another art form:  making LIFE a work of art. Not easy.


On chondrites and abstract art

For the very first time, a science magazine, Scientific American, issue Feb 2013, mentions the similarities between designs in chondrites (the oldest rocks in the solar system) and abstract art. The uncanny similarities are revealed by the scanning electron microscope. Only three lines in a five-page article are devoted to this, and I quote:

“When we examine thin slices from chondrites under a microscope, they become beautiful to behold, not unlike some of the paintings by Kandinsky and other abstract artists.”
There you have it. Kandinsky shared his intuitive works of that nature almost a century ago! Those three lines are like having four aces in your hand for an abstract artist. Of course chondrites are not the only ones that echo abstract art.  Nature is abundant with visible designs.  Look at the patterns of a giraffe, zebra, jaguar, tiger, ocelot, seashells, tropical fish, butterflies, orchids, foliage, opals. How about marble and quartz?  Then there are Fractals, transporting us into never-never land. Ever looked and seen the abstract pattern on cows, or Pinto horses?  The list goes on and on.  We need not to just glance, but see. Furthermore, we cannot overlook the magnificent and mysterious images Hubble telescope transmitted to us from deep in the universe.Evidence that through intuition and experimenting, we can reach out and reveal in art, Nature, without going there physically, such as outer space, deep seas, or the micro and macro cosmos. Abstract artists are termed “modern” but in fact they’re the old masters. Some of them, to which group yours truly belongs, echo images and patterns that have been visible or invisible longer than we ourselves are on this planet. Then last but not least there are the bird’s eye, or I should say spaceship-eye views of Earth transmitted to us now by astronaut (and guitar-playing) Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station. *A mentor, and who I call a “space troubadour”.) Nature then is the Master, the source of inspiration, even our intuition belongs to it, because indeed we are stardust. Hence the artists who painted such imagery are not contemporary masters, but pioneers, transferring us with their work into the total universe.Which this article in the Scientific American magazine, at least the 3 lines, is telling us clearly.