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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tigers Over Kweilin. April 3, 2010

One final uninterrupted look before I close the book on the saga of "Tigers Over Kweilin". The Painting now rests in a place of honor in Camarillo, surrounded by the theme of Aviation History.

I am now working out the ideas of a painting honoring, "Sarle's Raiders", and the CAF's one-of-a-kind PBJ Mitchell Bomber on a historic mission in Davao, in the Philippines, in 1944. I say 'one of a kind' because in truth, it is the only one left in the world actually designated a PBJ (Patrol Bomber J-Class) and frankly, I am in love with this plane and concept.

It is a divine order saga, and I need to git'er done...
At this point, the painting is in the design stages, and hopefully it will not take two years to produce like the one on this page.

In the mean time, I am back to creative thinking and being an artist in life, so please bare with me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tight Formation; The Art of Flying. April 1, 2010

And here they come. The three aircraft flying wingtip to wingtip flew right overhead at a high rate of speed. It was an awesome sight. These pilots were artists in their own right, flying effortlessly and skilfully with precision, in the same aircraft which were designed to wipe each other out, and dominate the skies.

First of all, it was rare to see them flying as they were over sixty years old (for the most part). Second of all, seeing them fly by together in peace time invokes the imagination, passion, and appreciation for the simple freedom to fly.

I was so proud to have this moment in time to celebrate the birth of my painting.

Unknowingly, there was more to follow!

Photo by Eric Van Gilder

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Four the Merrier, April 2, 2010

Just when I thought things were complete, we were treated to an unexpected visitor: Dave Price (from the former Santa Monica Museum of Flight), was serendipitously flying over Camarillo Airport in his P-51 Mustang. He witnessed the formation flight below and made contact with the CAF pilots.

All the planes left the pattern, then formed up over to the East, for one 'four-ship' flyby! I thought, who could ask for anything more!!

I was all smiles, and eternally grateful!

Photo by Eric Van Gilder

Taking to the Skys. March 31, 2010

There was a rumbling of engines out on the tarmac. The crowd, which mulled around the inside of the hangar hurried outside and made their way to the edge of the taxiway of Camarillo Airport.

There we could see three WWII Aircraft side by side; holding short of the runway, doing their run-up. A Japanese Zero, P-40 Kittyhawk, and our F6F Hellcat. Before long their engines roared, and carried each one of them off at into the west, out of sight, where they formed up for a couple of flybys in honor of the Event, "The Defense of China".

While standing on the edge of the taxiway I felt a silent exhilaration, knowing I was a part of something; a part of bringing history to life, and honoring the lives of our American Vets who gave me the freedom to paint to my hearts desire.

After around ten minutes of silent anticipation there came a slight rumbling of sound off to the North East. The crowd I was standing with looked up to see the tight formation of planes coming straight for us for the first of many flybys.

I shed a tear at the sight...

Photo by Eric Van Gilder

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Proud Americans March 30,2010

Top Left: Jack Broom, major CAF Supporter
Top Right: Bill Main, Veteran of 35 Combat Missions, Piloting B-17's over Europe
Seated Left: Joe Pepito, fmr. CAF Wing Leader. WWII P-47 Ground Crew
Seated Right: Ed Foster, WWII B-17 Tail Gunner

The boys are seated for the upcoming show. The aircraft are out of the hangar and starting their engines on the tarmac.

What's coming up; the icing on the cake.

Photo: Eric Van Gilder

Monday, March 29, 2010

Distinguished Guests March 29, 2010

I was honored to have amongst the many guests at the unveiling of my painting, "Tigers Over Kweiling", many WWII vets. Two of these veterans of note were: (on my left) is Ed Foster, Former U.S.A.A.F. B-17 Tail Gunner. He Flew 24 Missions with the 398th Bomber Squadron "Hell From Heaven", out of Nuthampstead England. He was on what was supposed to be his last mission when the war against Germany had ended.

The man on my right is Hal Geer; the highest decorated Aviation Photographer in WWII. He flew with the 14th Air Force, (the group who took over the job the A.V.G. had started). Mr. Geer led daring exploits behind enemy lines: taking photographs of Japanese installations and operations which were utilized by the American Government as intelligence as well as for propaganda purposes.

I like to spend time with these men, hearing their stories, learning from their lessons. I am humbled and appreciative for the sacrifices they made.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Unveiling, March 28, 2010

I found it was kinda funny how many people wanted to see what was under the blue sheet. to take a peek! I understand their curiosity.

CAF Col. Marc Russel assisted me in the unveiling of the painting, and I was received by round of applause and excitement. (Note: my awe shucks expression) My family and friends came; even my buddy and fellow banjo player Joe Johnston came down from SB, and it turned out to be quite an event.

There were other noted WWII celebrities that came for the occasion; Men who stared death in the face more than once, and survived to tell about it. This painting honored them, their generation, and their legacy.