Not quite lost art

I was poking around the web looking at flight jacket artwork last night and was somewhat startled when I bumped into a photo of one of my paintings that I had nearly – okay, maybe fully – forgotten was used for the frontispiece of Hell Bent for Leather by Nelson and Parsons many years ago. I of course remember that the cover of the book featured one of my paintings, but the other paintings of mine that are inside the book tend to fade into the background of my mind.

The frontispiece painting is on a large faux leather portfolio case, with the tableau 27″w x12″h on the bottom half of the case. I realised today that I never did get a good photo of the painting in digital form — the photo I took for the authors was strictly analogue, the negative long gone or at the least buried amongst thousands of others — so I dug the case out from behind a bookcase, dusted it off, and rectified that situation this morning (you can click these for a larger size):

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The pin-up is based on this Alberto Vargas painting, which was the gatefold artwork in the August 1943 issue of Esquire magazine:

Vargas August 1943

Here’s a closer look at my variation:

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The pilot and copilot are the WWII cartoon characters Hubert and Sad Sack, respectively. Sad Sack appeared in the U.S. Army Yank weekly magazine and the Hubert panels were in the Army’s Stars and Stripes newspaper, some samples below:

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HubertPub

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scrollLast night, I also ran into this high-quality copy of a photograph that I had seen only in much smaller form years ago in Vintage Aircraft Nose Art:

Rosie's Sweat Box

The name is a reference to Rosie the Riveter, of course. Many jacket artists in WWII just couldn’t capture faces well, but this artist certainly could. I love the care that went into this painting – again, you can click to see the detail – and note that it’s from the 401st Bomb Group based in Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, the group that had the finest jacket paintings in WWII. However, the story behind the aircraft is a sad one indeed. The entire crew of the B-17 Rosie’s Sweat Box died in a takeoff accident at Deenethorpe exactly 70 years ago this past Wednesday.

To interject a bit more reality:

Riveter

Riveting crew work on a B-17 at Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach, 1942. Douglas and Vega joined Boeing in building B-17s during the war.

Boeing Belles

The latest addition to my office desktop Boeing gallery arrived in the mail today from Hong Kong. Now I have my three favourites, the B-17, B-747, and B-314, in the same 1:200 scale. You can click on any of these to see a larger size.

The detail is pretty good on the new model:

Especially given its size:

This Boeing Belle I painted years ago on one of my flight jackets – a little more eye-catching, I think, what with Rita Hayworth and all. The painting is about 16″x16″ on the back of the jacket and the lettering is done in Boeing’s logo style of the 1940s.

I took that photo of the painting in March so I could have Rita and the Mon Tête Rouge II on the back of my new phone, too, courtesy of Skinit.