At this rear end of the year I’ll declare we made it through another Christmas season. Best gift? My wife’s cancer victory. Each day gets better and better. Worst? I was assaulted by some sort of flu, but it seems to be retreating. Along the way there was a mess of good stuff-dinners with the Kid and his girl friend and her parents; a great party at Motoart Studios- they’re folks who make wonderful furniture from old airplane parts; good friends and neighbors who brought over every sort of baked goody, and on the work front, a collection of delightful oddities and puzzlements:
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The summer of ’85- a client commissions what is still the largest painting I’ve done. This thing was/is 69″x48″ and depicts a B-52D- a big painting of a big airplane. I spent several days just priming and sanding the hardboard panel. Especially sanding.Too big for my easel, I’d paint one section while it leaned against a closet door, an edge resting on the floor. Then I’d flip it around and work on another part, tilting my head. Surprisingly, glopping on the color didn’t take as long as the panel prep! It was all pre-drawn, as usual, but the spraying and smearing on of the pigment took maybe three days! Finished July 30, 1985, the client soon picked it up.Gladness all around that the monster needn’t be shipped………

The rest of the story: a few weeks ago, out of the blue, I was contacted by the owner who told me she’s considering selling it. She asked if I would help spread the word so I told her sure- I’ll see what I can do. So, if anybody reading this is interested- or knows somebody who might be- contact me at the usual e-mail address and I’ll pass along any questions or inquiries. It should be said that it’s not exactly an “inexpensive” piece. The top segment of the composite photo shows the painting as it is currently- and disregard the bit of flash fur in the photo. The lower part of the comp is the painting right after it was completed. My late father is holding it up out in the summer grass in ’85- scanned from an ancient photo! Funky colors and fuzz! Give it a thought or three………

Another bit of work related news is the debut of a much more recent work. Early this year, I was contacted about doing a cover for “Over the Front”, the magazine of the League of World War I Aviation Historians. The request was for a specific scene featuring two Nieuport fighters of the Lafayette Escadrille. This sounded interesting so I agreed. I finished the piece in May and sat back to await publication in the Winter 2009 edition. A few days ago, I finally saw the printed version. Hmmmmm…. something had veered off. The painting was on the slightly “cool” side- the printed cover had an overall “hot” and saturated reddish glow. It made a truly striking cover, but it really didn’t represent the painting. “Backstage”consultation revealed that the wrong file had gone to the printer! But it DID make an eye-grabbing cover, and I hope it helps visualize Alan Toelle’s absorbing account of the Lafayette Escadrille contained within. Ronny Bar’s great color profiles also enhance Alan’s article.
We’re preparing to offer a print of this one soon, along with another Over the Front cover I did some time back, but be forewarned- the Nieuports will appear more like the original painting than the “cover girl” version! The composite photo shows the magazine next to an un-cut proof of the print- the difference is….um….noticable! Availabilty? SOON!

Closing off before 2010 stabs me in the eye with a sharp stick, I’ll mention Facebook. Yeah, I’m over there. I joined back at the year’s beginning, but never messed with it much until recently. Mostly I just pop up and say dumb things to friends and family. But there are a bunch of us av/art folk there and sometimes something clicks and we post (holy cow!) something of substance! Hop over there and become a fan! We even run the occasional Facebook Fan deal!

Well, there’s about 6 hours left of 2009 right now, right here……keep your eyes open for more Williams Brothers box tops and Albatros Productions Datafile covers in the coming year, and I hope y’all have a great 2010!
Robert
P.S. while you’re at it, check out Ronny Bar’s stupendous WW I airplane profiles at: http://www.ronnybarprofiles.com/
and visit the dreamlike world of my sister Kimberly at:
http://gerushiasnewworld.blogspot.com/

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