Charles Bradley's Fine Art <meta name="description" content="A complete collection of Charles Bradley's original Abstract and Geometric Gouache Paintings and Silkscreen Prints with Spiritual and Astronomical Themes from 1973 to 2017">

[Artist's Note: The following was written on December 9, 2016. This painting was inspired by my interest in John Glenn's orbital mission in 1961. The text which follows was written and posted on Facebook 8 days ago.]

"Yesterday, [12/8/16] I heard the news about John Glenn's death. I was sad as he had been a sort of childhood hero to me. I was 12. I can remember collecting newspaper clippings from the New York Times which made reference to him and the other 6 original American astronauts. The whole term "astronaut" seemed so "impossibly cool" to me. John Glenn seemed to stand out among them all. He seemed so vibrant and witty -- and humorous always in moments when one would wonder just how he could be as calm as he was under the pressure of so many unknowns in space flight and the testing he and his original team had to literally endure for it. He was a humble and kind man. I remember how he cared so much about his wife -- who was so shy in public. I remember being in awe of him when he was selected as the first American to orbit the earth three times. The memorable flight took about 5 hours. I remember being completely captivated by that flight. There were several moments in it that I still remember as if they happened yesterday. One was that moment he reached orbital velocity of 17,500 miles per hour. The speed was pretty impressive, but the fact that he was actually going to "leave us all" impressed me more. "Would he come back?" I thought. He was actually going to go AROUND IT! And when he returned, how would it be to re-enter the atmosphere in that "tin can" of a capsule? It was so small. "Would he get too hot?" Another moment that I remember listening to several times (on a vinyl record months later) had to do with his re-entry. "We recommend that you leave your retro-pack on ..." were the words from mission control. There was a problem with just how secure his heat shield was and so they suggested he leave those three nozzle like things (where the retro-rockets fire out of) ON during the entire 15 minute re-entry burn. Calmly, he repeated the words of mission control's decision -- and proceeded to experience what he would then refer to as "one hell of a fireball!" Chunks of molten metal flew by his cabin window during the blackout period -- when all communication is always impossible. Years later, I went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington. I got to see his capsule. It was so impressive to see it. The door was open. You could see the tiny seat they made especially for him. The outside was very charred and streaked. The heat shield was pitted. We will miss you John Glenn. You lived a full life! You inspired us! I was glad when NASA made the decision to let him go back into space in 1998. He was 77 (another record). He went to the International Space Station as a mission specialist. He was also the senator of Ohio for 28 years! He truly served our country. What an amazing human being. God's speed John Glenn. You will be missed by us all."