Thunderstorm Project

In 1947, the military gathered together some fearless pilots and had them fly into the hearts of thunderstorms in the name of research. Some flew sailplanes, while others flew specially equipped P-61 Black Widows, one of which became the subject of my latest artwork, The Thunderstorm Project, seen below. Many thanks to Dan Smith, a member of the project team, who was invaluable in researching this piece.

The art itself was a tremendous technical challenge for me. It began life as a B&W pen and ink piece, but my initial effort was disappointing. It did not help matters much that I had decided to attempt to do the clouds in airbrush, a tool with which I am familiar but had not picked up in over a decade. I don’t think I need to tell anyone how unforgiving ink is, which did an impressive job of humbling my inner Michelangelo almost immediately. I had made a high-resolution photograph of the art, though, and decided that I could salvage the work digitally. I made a new painting, this one in color, which was more successful but still not as dramatic as I had hoped. After some invaluable critique from a few other artists, I ended up with the piece you see now. (If you download or open this image in another window, you can zoom in for more detail…the original art itself can be printed poster size) Enjoy!

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