During the latter half of 1941, a little more 300 young men and two women nurses made their way by at least five different ships to Rangoon, Burma, and then by train to an auxiliary British airfield just outside Toungoo, Burma. The men, recently discharged from the U.S. military by special order from the President of the United States, were to be trained by Claire Chennault to form the first American Volunteer Group. They did not know it then, but they had a date with destiny.
Aviation art often tells the story of a particular aircraft by depicting a specific moment in time.
First, you have to define “”greatest;”” that is, the greatest airplane in what respect? Bomber, fighter, transport, general aviation or the greatest fun to fly?
Finding the real story behind a specific work of art often can be as satisfying as a good mystery thriller, especially when seemingly unrelated events leads one to the image being depicted.
Popular Canadian artist Robert Bailey has finally come out with a book of his art titled “”A Brush With History.”” Not only does it tell about his circuitous route to becoming an aviation artist, it also provides background stories of how the pictures came into being and includes insights into World War II written by veterans from both sides.
There is an old cliché, “”Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”” This is especially true with art because it determines what a person surrounds himself with and enjoys every day on his walls.
Dave Paulley, who is known for Western art as well as aviation art, has an affinity for stories of the Golden Era of aviation – the late 1920s and 1930s. One of his favorite subjects is seaplanes because of their artistic beauty and the adventuresome stories they have to tell.
Every picture has a story behind it and this one is no exception. In fact, it has more than one story.
Someone recently told me that there are only 15 B-17s that are considered flyable today and less than three dozen more that are either on static display or are restorable derelicts. Can you imagine what an impressive sight it would be to see a formation of 12 to 15 B-17s fly by?
Should a plane be painted in its natural environs – playing tag with clouds or hopping over trees and meadows? What about painting it forlorn looking, like a sad-eyed puppy dog, on the ramp waiting for its master to take it for a hop? Or maybe it should be shown perched expectantly on a catapult, like a leopard ready to pounce on some unsuspecting prey, waiting for the launch officer’s signal to go. What difference does the setting make?