Close up: April 19, 2010

Steve Blake, the Historian for the 96th Fighter Group came across this photo of Kenny, taken as he was getting ready to fly on a mission. One can see the nose art up close, and see the values of the paint, some of the details on the two pistols, her eyes, shinny hair, etc. The painted circle behind her (I presume it was the sun) is not visible.

I can see the petticoat, and a wee bit of cleavage. I had what I needed to start.

I put my jacket on a manikin torso. I sketched the image first on regular paper, then placed it on my jacket with sheets of carbon paper underneath. I drew over the image imprinting the contours on to the jacket.

The Next step was to use deg lazing fluid and remove the dye and finish on the jacket, down to the raw horse hide. I then redrew the image in pen, and painted the "Batlin' Bet" Nose art using Tandy Leather Acrylics. I toned the paint with a tan coat which gave it a mellow antique look. When it was finished, I used a waterproofing sealer to protect the paint for as long as possible.

I'm sure it was in vain as the artwork on the original jackets were probably painted with cheap paint, and didn't last very long. But I was creating an heirloom and I wanted it to last a few more generations; to inspire the imagination, and to tell the story of a warrior and his accomplishments.

The painting process took about a week.