Shaw ‘Beacon Series’ Origins

My ‘Beacon series’ has evolved over many years. In essence they are paintings about hope.

I have exhibited this series internationally and a jpg. is currently on board the NASA spacecraft Osirus-Rex as part of it’s data payload.

The origin story is here…

                                                    Robert ShawBeacon’ Paintings… Origins

A simple story, a lighthouse and a boat.

The sea in art has always provided an allegory for life, passing, hope and salvation.

My ‘Beacon‘ paintings are very simple. Lighthouse, boat, sea and sky.

Simply, these paintings are about hope.

The viewer decides what each element means to them. Hope, dreams, direction to safety.

The ‘Beacon’ origins are inspired by two simple elements that I have drawn from my body of work.

Twenty years of artistic exploration have crossed to make the story of the Beacon paintings.

RNLI For almost a decade my studio overlooked Howth harbour, a fishing village on the eastern coast of Ireland. Often, during the easterly storms I would watch the trawlers racing for safe harbour from the storms at sea. This made me appreciate the voluntary sacrifice by the men and women of the RNLI. In calm and storm they bravely risk their lives to save others.

I realised my forgotten maritime heritage. My grandfather, from Cobh, Cork, told me that he witnessed the last passengers embark the Titanic and also saw the victims of the Lusitania at Cobh harbour.I had two important exhibitions at Kinsale and Howth, with proceeds to the RNLI.

I painted ‘On the Way’ for the RNLI. This painting created a sensation of being in the sea awaiting rescue.

This became the first element of the Beacon series.


Years later I had the huge honour of presenting a painting to another brave man.

The recently passed Edgar Mitchell, LM pilot Apollo 14, the sixth man to walk on the moon.

For ‘Earthwave’, I was inspired by the view of the earth from space.

To be on a distant shore looking to home beyond the horizon.

I draw from this innate ancient theme in all mythologies. This became the second element.


Edgar Mitchell – Lunar Module Pilot Apollo 14, receiving my ‘Earthwave’ painting.

I am honored to have talked with the late Dr Ed Mitchell several times. I spoke with him of my grandfather witnessing Titanic leaving harbour.

I said that my grandfather would have been intrigued that a man who walked on the moon had a painting that his grandson had painted.

Dr Mitchell told me that his great-grandfather was part of the first wagon trails to pioneer the path to the American West. Within a hundred years, his great-grandson would walk upon the moon.

Timelessness, Connectedness and Continuity’.

-Why I paint.

The sense of being at sea as help approaches, crossed with the view our earth-home from space. The marriage of these elements has brought the ‘Beacon’ series.

My paintings are about the power and majesty of nature and how we are all a part of its vastness. And Hope beyond the horizon.

Currently NASA has a jpg image of my ‘Beacon’ painting on-board the ‘Osiris-rex’, spacecraft, dedicated to Dr Edgar Mitchell. She’s embarked on a 5 Billion km journey to asteroid ‘Bennu’ and will return to our precious Earth in 2023.

– Robert Shaw

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