About the Illustrations
Marshall McLuhan held controversial views on the effect of the communication
media, claiming that it is the media, not the information and ideas which they
disseminate, that influence society. His most famous quote, and the title of his
book; "THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE" said it all.
The "medium" in my works is not the paint. It is not the atmospherics.
It is the airplane and/or the aviator. Though I have been careful to portray airplanes in realistic
spatial relationships where appropriate, my primary focus is the airplane
itself. Those wonderful machines that have transported us, both literally and
figuratively. The foregoing notwithstanding, to get the "medium" into the two-dimensional world of art requires the use of other media.
Technique and Media
Pencil, Pen & Ink, oils, water colors, and briefly, casein were my materials of choice, until I discovered acrylics. Acrylics were fairly new when I decided to give them a try in 1967. Most of my aviation art to that point had been done in oils. Oils are slow-drying, which gives you plenty of time to blend colors and produce beautiful fluffy clouds and soft skies. But airplanes are not soft. They are mostly hard edges, chipped paint, rivets, and colorful markings. They are high-tech, no matter what era they come from….just like acrylic paints.
Acrylics are water-soluble….up to a point. They are thinned with water, but once dry, they are light-fast and durable. Paintings that I produced 40 years ago retain their original hue and value. Being acrylic, they are also fairly elastic and don’t crack over time. (At least, not in my lifetime!) Depending on the ground and how much water you use, they dry quickly. This allows the addition of details over the basic shape. It also lends itself to dry-brush blending. I use acrylics on a variety of grounds, including canvas, illustration board (paper), and hardboard (masonite). I use an airbrush very sparingly, usually just to lay down a uniform background color, or to apply a gesso ground to my painting surface. I discovered that acrylics were versatile enough to use on plastic models. Long before purpose-manufactured acrylics were marketed for modelers, I was using them to paint my models. (With an airbrush)
I long ago sold most of my film cameras and only shoot digital pictures now. I bought my first computer and began writing digitally in 1982. I had to give up an almost-new IBM Selectric typewriter, the king of hard print machines in the 1960s, in order to learn the concept and quirks of the Apple II computer. It was an evolutionary experience.
Though I am a dedicated fan of the digital world, I have resisted the urge to learn to paint using a computer. Not that I don’t admire digital aviation art. My Dutch friend, Peter Van Stigt, is one of the most talented and prolific aviation artists in the world. He is a new age Dutch Master and his works are accurate and detailed. Don Greer, my fellow Squadron/Signal artist, long ago mostly gave up brush and paint in favor of his mouse. His fine art is testament to the possibilities of digital art, but I just can’t get the mouse or digital pen to give me the tactile feedback that I get from a fine Sable brush. And, If you hang the print-out of a digital painting on the wall, how original is it?
I am an artist in love with flight. The romance of flight....the fascination
and reverence for all things aeronautical.... These are the most important
elements of my works. You will see several "vignettes" which contain
no background, or minimal hints at background, because I wanted to concentrate
on the airplane or the aviator, and not the environment.
With a few exceptions (the prints displayed in Gallery
One and on the Prints page) the images displayed on these pages are original works, many of them
produced for books and published over the course of the past 35 years. As you look at them, you may notice some
anomalies on the borders of some. These occurred because the art department at
the publishing house saw fit to cut and paste in their layout process. Though
these irregular borders do not detract from the illustrations, they will present
a challenge to a framing shop.
If you are interested in acquiring one of these
illustrations, please contact us via phone or e-mail. I accept payment via
certified checks, money orders, or credit cards via PayPal . Prices quoted on the following pages
do not include shipping.
429 Nassau Street S.
Venice, FL 34285 (941) 488-8102