Friday, May 7, 2010
Eringer's A'2 featured "Pegasus". It was based upon the Nose Art of the plane his Uncle, Edward Stanley, flew in WWII.
Instead of Bombs representing 'Missions', Robert suggested he would prefer that I paint a series of "Hemingway" Pens made by Mont Blanc. He asked me to paint eleven of them. Not only is 11 a 'Master' number in numerology, but it was the number of covert missions Eringer had undertaken by that time.
The Hemingway Pen was what Eringer carried with him everywhere he went, to jot down his creative and novel ideas... Eringer felt, "The Pen is Mightier than the sword", and so it made sense to portray his mighty pens rather than Bombs.
Our trip to France was soon approaching and Pegasus was set to fly.
Edward Stanley, center, according to records, wasn't very large in stature, but he could handle that big four engine bomber without any problem, in fact he was a seasoned pilot.
This Nose Art would be a bit of a challenge for me to paint as the image wasn't very clear to begin with. The only imagery I could find of the Pegasus was the Logo for The old "Flying "A" Studios", and Mobile Oil. Fortunately for me the symbols were all similar.
So, much like my A-2, I drew the image on the leather jacket using a ball point pen, then used a thin black sharpie. Next I striped the finish off the leather, and redrew the contours. I then used Tandy leather paint to produce the flying horse. I chose red instead of white because it would harmonize better with the tone of the Jacket.
It was widely practiced among bomber pilots and flight crews to paint symbols of bombs on the back of the jacket representing the number of missions a bomber had flown during the war. But Eringer, always thinking creatively, had another idea for additional symbols to be painted on his jacket...
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Winter 2003, Arles France was damp, dank, and stank in many ways. Very little had changed since Van Gogh traipsed through these streets and frequented this bar and brothel.
Most people know of Van Gogh from his series of night paintings painted while living here in Arles in the 1880's, rooming with Gaugin. In fact, most of his night paintings were interiors, which were painted inside this here bar/restaurant/brothel. This location was immortalized in one of his most famous, and recognizable icons in art history, "The Night Cafe".
When Vincent was alive, he was despised by the people of Arles, who viewed him more as a nuisance. Their tolerance for him wore extremely thin, after he [purportedly] diced his ear and gave it to his hooker-gal, Rachel; who offered professional room service above this Cafe.
After Van Gogh's errant Ginsu knife performance, the people of Arles with pitchforks and torches, literally ran Van Gogh out of town. It was the slice heard round the world! They stripped him of his dignity, and even his name!
Then people of Van Gone ville saw an opportunity on how to capitalize on this extraordinary story. The name "Van Gogh", could bring lots of money from Pilgrams paying homage to the mad genius. The first thing the townsfolk did was name the cafe', "Cafe Vincent Van Gogh." Then began, "talking it up" in a sensational way.
Now days Van Gogh is their favorite son!
122 years later, the Cafe' is painted in brash yellow-green colors; this was someones overt way to make it look like it was a prop in Van Gogh's painting. They used colors from Van Goghs's palette! When looking at it in the daytime, it almost glows; like it is painted with florescent paint!
The Color has nothing to do with the surrounding architecture, It's the brightest building in the neighborhood! One can't help but wonder, what's in a name? The bottom line is tourist money. Make the location glow "All Night and Day", in a tacky way.
Now, I was still incredibly excited to be there, and I was looking forward to coming back that night: setting up my easel, and painting: Van Stein's version of "Van Gogh's Night Cafe."
If only the weather would hold...
Photo credit: Robert Eringer
Ask the Artist a question...
Robert Eringer and I both lost our only Uncles (both 21 years old) in WWII, both bomber pilots. My Uncle Bill died Feb.3, 1944, his Uncle Edward died February 29, 1944.
Roberts Uncle, Edward Stanley, was the seasoned pilot of this B-24 named, "Pegasus." He is seen here with members of his crew and ground personnel some time in around November 1944. They were part of 159 squadron RAF, somewhere in India. At least seventeen of these men along with men from 460 squadron, pictured here flew on a low level mission over Rangoon, on the night of February 29, 1944. They were jumped by two "Oscars" who were able to see the bombers from the Japanese Search lights.
In Edward Stanley's Plane, six of the ten crewmen bailed out of the plane and survived, but the other four went down with the ship, and still have not been recovered.
I imagine the ground personnel, who kept Pegasus flying and operational, were no doubt stunned and grief stricken when she didn't return from her flight that night. Eventually, these personnel were reassigned to other bombers, and so it went, until the end of the war.
War is Hell.
Now, of those in this picture who did survive the war, well, most of them are probably dead by now, but their relatives are heavily in to keeping the story alive.
Google: 460 Squadron, 159 Squadron.
So this was the Nose Art of his plane: appearing white, on what was undoubtedly an olive drab paint scheme. When Robert received his A-2 jacket from Eastman Leather, I went to work. Studying the Pegasus nose art I made the decision to paint the Flying A Horse the color red, mostly because all of the reference imagery I could find on the Internet showed it as red. The only images of white winged horses were the unicorn type Pegasus.
There were some details to this nose art which I couldn't make out, so I blew the photo up for greater clarity.
Pilot: Flt. Lt. Edward Stanley (pictured standing directly beneath the Nose Art)
Photo credit; Robert Eringer
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Our trip to Iceland to paint the purity of the night sky was a phenomenal experience. Robert Eringer became a great travel partner suggesting I/we dig more deeply into the possibility of pursuing the concept of creativity and madness; and which artists in history were known for their quirky eccentricities.
What sparked our interest was when I chose to paint the insane asylum in Reykjavik, in 15 degree weather, under the full moon in February. I couldn't help but think of Vincent Van Gogh; I thought about his night paintings and his madness. Robert suggested maybe we should go and paint the insane asylum where Van Gogh was interred for a year. Whynotism was in play!
After meeting at the restaurant, "LUCKY'S," in Montecito, we had a drink and toasted to our next trip of our Odyssey. We would fly to France so I could follow in the footsteps of this once mad master, and paint some nocturnes where he once painted.
This is the kind of stuff I live for; to follow in the steps of dead past Master Artists, and stand in the place(s) where they once stood, to create their masterpieces, but paint it from my perspective. It is my version of atonement, or, AT-ONE-MENT!
Eringer got to work; researching everything he could about the location and logistics of where we were going to explore. Then he made a comment on my freshly painted A-2 flight jacket; with 'Batlin' Bet' on the back.
Robert then proceeded to inform me that his only Uncle, Edward Stanley, was a pilot of a B-24 Liberator in WWII- flying for the Royal Air Force in 159 Squadron. He and his crew were shot down during a night mission over Rangoon, by two Japanese Oscars. Edward's body, and three of his crew, and plane, were never recovered.
Robert mentioned he would like me to paint a flight Jacket for him, in honor of Edward. (He'd already dedicated the first of his eleven novels,"Strike for Freedom", to Edward). I would be honored to do this.
He then he got to work, ordering an A-2 from Eastman Leather. He searched for and found the photo of Edward Stanley, in front of his Bomber, with a painting of the Nose Art behind him.
There he was; Edward, standing in front of his bomber with his flight crew and ground crew and personel, and the Bomber's name?
A couple of years ago I guess I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was teaching the first class of the Winter quarter; of my SBCC Continuing education class when this photo was snapped of my class and me. It appeared the next day in the Santa Barbara News Press!! Page A-4 (Front Section!).
So much about choosing an Art Career as a vocation depends upon reputation and PR. The Art Business is all about exposure. I tell my students that the public generally has a short attention span, and if what you are producing is not grabbing their attention, (i.e. stopping their eye), then you need to change your bait and tactics.
Once something has caught on, there is a lot of follow up and follow through.
Any chance one gets to be in the newspaper or on T.V., it is a good thing. It plants seeds; in which one never knows will grow. The seeds drop in, the ripples go out.
I am blessed to have a solid core of students that show up consistently on Wednesdays, to be in awe of our beautiful environment, and strive to capture the sun in it's
Painting Light and Shadow in Art
Butterfly Beach, Santa Barbara California
Monday, May 3, 2010
This was one of the funnest French Festivals in Santa Barbara. I was 28, I was oh, so young, (and Muse-i-cal).
One fortuitous occasion was when not one, but three glowing muses swam by my booth. They were all members of the Santa Barbara Ballet Company who had just performed the Can-Can, on a nearby stage.
These dancing girls meandered over to 'dance' with me for a brief interlude; inquiring about my art (and my ahem, disposition). We danced briefly like ships passing in the night; creating a memorable, sensual experience.
It literally was a Kodak moment.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The Demo of April 28, 2010 is finished. Time to get it framed and to the Gallery.
I admit, I made the painting of the flower fields look more idyllic than it was; but that is what I get paid to do. A higher art is to take something mundane and unattractive, and make something more beautiful out of it.
The initial inspiration, or motif, for me was the illusive light sporadically falling in the foothills beyond. By making these lighter areas as the focal point, and keeping the foreground subdued and darker the viewer can move into the painting.
I suggested the pattern of the "path" because it was not only non-existent to begin with, but I wanted a 'lead line' to help guide the viewers' eye toward the focal point in the distance without being too deliberate, contrived or predictable.
Photo by James Strenger