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The Beauty Of Space edited by Jon Ramer

1/12/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy The Beauty Of Space edited in the USA - or Buy The Beauty Of Space edited in the UK

author pic

pub: IAAA. 181 page illustrated oblong softcover. Price: $35.00 (US), ISBN: 978-1-4507-9635-4).

check out website: and buy direct at:

‘The Beauty Of Space’ has a longer sub-title, ‘Space Art From The International Association Of Astronomical Artists’ which clues you in that this book isn’t about empty space but rather what fills it off this planet and the interpretation by its artists.

Astronomical artists specialise in bringing alien worlds to life based on scientific information rather than imagination. Either way could be difficult if you want to look innovative but I guess the difference is being potentially real and fantasy. This book is also about the IAAA itself and the early chapters show that they weren’t the first to paint alien planets with many early artists adding Jupiter or even Halley’s Comet in the background. If anything, it is an indication that Man has always had a fascination with what’s out there.

© Detlev Van Ravenswaay

If you thought the IAAA were a stolid set of people then the notes of their pranks should quickly dispel that. I could tell you about those but then you wouldn’t be buying the book to read but to look at the art. A standard page flick test shows lots of art and you could be mistaken to think there is little text when there is quite a lot. From an introduction by former astronaut Alan Beam, who is also a painter now, there is more than enough to fill you in with what they do with over two hundred paintings from IAAA members and others who specialise in this type of art.

© Joe Tucciarone

David A. Hardy and Joe Tucciarone’s chapter, ‘Rock And Balls’, the description of what you really see in the sky by the way, also develops into telling the reader what they need to do space art. Essentially, a knowledge of the sciences is discussed a lot and there is then an assumption you do actually know which end of a paintbrush before working on your own masterpiece. Thinking about this, I can’t help but wonder if there shouldn’t have been an ‘How To Paint Space Art’ book by now, considering how many other ‘How To-‘ books are out there.

© Michael Bohme

If you only thought this book was devoted to alien landscapes and stars, then the chapter on space vehicles, mostly depicting space vehicles sent by Man into space will clearly show differently. Indeed, they were used at the beginning of the space race to encourage the space programme by what we could expect to do in Earth orbit. If anything, without artwork, you wouldn’t be able to see spacecraft in space because there is no way to see them up there.

© David A. Hardy

One of the more odder chapters is how some of the work has gone three dimensional and into the likes of furniture and pottery depicting accurate star charts. No space left unturned was something that went through my brain. There is also an examination of composition of digital art which those of you choosing this route will find interesting.

There is emphasis in the final chapter that magazines featuring space art sell in great numbers so this book should do equally well, providing you know it exists. I should point out that this book cannot be bought off the major book outlets but off the IAAA direct so exposure is important. The link to buy again is:
Don’t miss it.

GF Willmetts

All art used with permission. Copyright given with respective artists.

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This book has 29 votes in the sci-fi charts

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