A stargazing artist is over the moon after his space shuttle painting received appreciative comments from NASA and astronomy enthusiasts around the world.
Skegness artist Justin Shaw’s acrylic painting of the retired orbiter Endeavour received hundreds of ‘likes’ and dozens of ‘shares’ after NASA posted it on an official Facebook page.
He said: “It’s unbelievable - I love anything to do with space and NASA has always been a real influence on me and my painting so it doesn’t get much better than getting their stamp of approval.”
The 34-year-old art college graduate’s fascination for space often features in his artistic endeavours, but this was the first time he had showed his work to the agency behind its inspiration.
Sharing Justin’s painting with its thousands of followers, NASA said: “This fantastic shuttle painting was submitted to us by one of our Facebook fans, and we just had to share it.
“Thanks for capturing the iconic space shuttle in flight so brilliantly!”
The post has gone on to receive 256 likes, 54 shares and glowing comments praising it as a ‘gorgeous painting’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘awesome’.
As an enthusiastic member of East Lincolnshire Astronomy Club, Justin regularly searches the unpolluted skies above Gibraltar Point, where he had his first ‘breathtaking’ encounter with the Milky Way.
He has also delved into the scientific aspects of space by taking an astrophysics course through the Open University.
Even his four-year-old son Thomas has caught the space-bug and can already recite the solar system’s order of planets along with its asteroid belts.
Although his interest in space inspires much of his artistic efforts, Justin says he tries his hand at most forms of painting.
One of his recent works, ‘Destruction of the Pier’, featured in the international Made in England exhibition curated by Skegness digital artist John Byford.
Based on the three destructive events to have afflicted Skegness Pier, Justin aimed to create an image that represented his home town and also his family’s rich tradition in the lifeboat service.
Spurred on by NASA’s encouraging remarks, he is now looking forward to painting more space inspired artwork, which he hopes could one day be exhibited at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida,
“In 2017 they are launching the new Orion space module that will be able to take people to Mars and I would like to paint that as the future of space travel,” he said.