A tribute piece--done for Women's History Month--to Eileen Collins, the first female pilot AND commander of the space shuttle.
Flowers & Shuttles came out of a few random things colliding in my mind. I was thinking about flowers and since I love the space shuttle, it somehow got peanut butter in my chocolate. I started to see some 'rocket-like' shapes in the flowers and though I'd put that into an illustration. We have the daisy, marigold, gladiolus, lily of the valley, rose, sweet pea, and aster.
The 80's were a time of exploration and advances abound. With the advent of the space shuttle, we could now transport not only people and small cargo to low earth orbit, we could take full satellites! The shuttle was instrumental in the building of space stations. Down here on the terra firma, we were all falling madly in love with home video game consoles. These two things combined in my heart to create this throwback to the 80's innovation. Prints and shirts available here.
It's a panorama I will remember forever; the bold white shuttle appointed in sun-lit black holds tight to a silo tank of rusted orange. Two missile-shaped boosters stand at the ready like military guards. The countdown begins and soon a flurry of sparks swirl under the engine bells. 4… 3… 2… 1… liftoff! Steam and smoke curl from below the massive machine like a rolling sea of whitecaps. The shuttle is airborne, stretching toward the heavens and chiseling history with each second.

The above paragraph is from a blog post I wrote about the last flight of the STS. I grew up with the shuttle program and I feel a kinship with the brilliant, complex machine and the people who made each flight possible. This poster was done with gratitude for 30 amazing years and hopes for flights to come. I decided to feature the shuttle in full 'stack' with the rocket boosters and external fuel tank racing into a sun-bleached sky. The program, so broad in reach, was very complicated, but the desires were so basic. For this reason, I stuck to simplicity with graphic lines and understated text. Though space was this craft's destination, the moment of liftoff was like the break of a new day, the first step of a promising journey. That sense of tense potential is why I chose to depict the shuttle still within the grips of earth's atmosphere.

The versions below feature quotes picked by myself and a fellow NASA lover. I chose the Eliot quote because I feel it paints a perfect picture of how the shuttle program has, in allowing us to explore, taught us so very much about ourselves. A friend chose the quote by Beaton and I believe it conveys the unconventional thinking that must be present when undertaking something as risky and exceptional as space flight.
The quote in this poster has a very strong effect on me both as a lover of space and as an artist. Sometimes things seem so vast and insurmountable that we fear them. That fear keeps us from exploration and fulfillment. But if we can focus on our goals and fuel our fight with passion, we can achieve amazing things. There was nothing quite as appropriate for this sentiment as the Saturn V. This rocket helped man reach the moon and that is truly a breathtaking feat.
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