Mustang

2006

30 x 36"

This painting is closely based on a US Air Force black & white photograph from WWII. The subject is a P-51D Mustang, "Tika IV", flown by Vernon R. Richards, an ace pilot of the 374th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, 8th Air Force. 

The Mustang entered service in early 1944 as a fighter escort for the 8th Air Force strategic bomber forces. The superb performance (speed, maneuverability, and range) of the P-51 gave the pilots of the 8th AF what they had needed to defeat the German Air Force and hasten the end of the most horrible war in human history.

The prominent black and white stripes on the wings and fuselage are called "Invasion Stripes" or "D-Day Stripes", and were on most aircraft flown by the British and American air forces. These stripes were an identification feature added virtually overnight, immediately before D-Day, June 6,1944. The D-Day landings were the beginning of the liberation of France and Western Europe from Hitler and his Nazis. The stripes, a striking graphic element, thus have great positive historic and moral significance. 

The key challenge in this painting was rendering the aluminum skin of the aircraft - a flying collection of curved mirrors. Study of the reflections off of the graceful drop tanks revealed a cloud layer under and behind the photo aircraft and clear blue sky above. This knowledge of the surroundings allowed me to determine how to paint the various surfaces. For example, the lower wing, reflecting the cloud layer, is brighter than the upper wing, which reflects the blue sky. Other color and tone differences are caused by variations in the finish of the individual metal panels. 

Original available 

Giclée prints available: image sizes are: 20 x 24" (67%) and 13.3 x 16" (44%)

5% of all print revenue will be donated to Blue Star Moms of Marin.

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Contact me at:bertopaintings@yahoo.com (Lively Whisper Arts)  or 707-537-6884 for more information or to order.