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Remembered Today:

Here' yet another - Frank Luke


Russell Smith
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Here is yet another. It is entitled The Stand. This one was commissioned by a historian/researcher who has been working for the past 15 years to solve the mystery of the final moments of Lt Frank Luke Jr., USAS.

For 90 years, controversy has surrounded the death of the enigmatic American pilot Lt. Frank Luke, Jr. Over the past 15 years, however, the aforementioned owner/historian has researched the subject in depth and has pieced together the evidence that he has found. According to him, during the late afternoon of September 29, 1918, Luke took out a couple of German balloons near the town of Murvaux. The weather was poor and a low ceiling of cloud cover kept Luke near the ground as he flew. After circling the town and turning back towards the allied lines he was hit in the upper right chest by anti-aircraft fire and immediately set the SPAD down in a field next to the Cote St Germain (a hill outside of Murvaux). Mortally wounded and still under fire, he managed to struggle free of the airplane and made his way down to a creek about 100 yards from the SPAD where he died soon after, his lungs filled with blood.

Interesting thing about this image for me - years ago, I decided that i was never going to depict "death" in my work. Dogfights - OK; planes going down in flames - OK; but an actual human being meeting his end or on the verge of doing so, no. However, despite my usual taste I decided that in order to tell the story correctly, certain things had to be shown - blood, the hole in Luke's chest, the shock on his face, etc. Not the kind of scene that I normally would have painted, but again, in order to tell the story correctly...

TheStand_LG.jpg

TheStanddetail_LG.jpg

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Another excellent picture Russell.

Not that I could afford to commission you but just a thought for a subject;

Willy Coppens in his blue Hanriot above Houlthurst Forest?

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squirrel - one of the fun things about working with WW1 subjects (as many of the artists here probably know) is being able to cover subjects that have either never been covered or never been covered well. Believe me when I say that there are MANY subjects that I want to paint, and Willy Coppens is indeed one of them. ;)

If it weren't for these darn commissions getting in the way... :P

russ

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squirrel - one of the fun things about working with WW1 subjects (as many of the artists here probably know) is being able to cover subjects that have either never been covered or never been covered well. Believe me when I say that there are MANY subjects that I want to paint, and Willy Coppens is indeed one of them. ;)

If it weren't for these darn commissions getting in the way... :P

russ

Russ,

I remember reading an account of a German two-seater that was painted like a flying fish. I wish I could remember what book I read that in--it was a first-hand account of the war by a British pilot.

Don't supose we could interest you in this as well? ;)

Paul

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Paul - Seems to me that may have been a Roland CII, although I'm hard pressed to remember where I've seen that reference. The C.II, known as the Walfisch, is yet another that I would like to get to.

Russ

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Paul - Seems to me that may have been a Roland CII, although I'm hard pressed to remember where I've seen that reference. The C.II, known as the Walfisch, is yet another that I would like to get to.

Russ

Russ,

You could be right. I remember the pilot called him "silver sides," or something in the book.

Paul

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A Roland pilot IIRC was Edward Ritter Von Schleich although I don't know about the fish scales.

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Grand stuff, Russell! If he were still alive (and the right age) the only Hollywood star I could ever see portraying Frank Luke would have been Steve McQueen.

All the best,

Dan

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