When Creativity and Madness Collide. May 5, 2010

Our trip to Iceland to paint the purity of the night sky was a phenomenal experience. Robert Eringer became a great travel partner suggesting I/we dig more deeply into the possibility of pursuing the concept of creativity and madness; and which artists in history were known for their quirky eccentricities.

What sparked our interest was when I chose to paint the insane asylum in Reykjavik, in 15 degree weather, under the full moon in February. I couldn't help but think of Vincent Van Gogh; I thought about his night paintings and his madness. Robert suggested maybe we should go and paint the insane asylum where Van Gogh was interred for a year. Whynotism was in play!

After meeting at the restaurant, "LUCKY'S," in Montecito, we had a drink and toasted to our next trip of our Odyssey. We would fly to France so I could follow in the footsteps of this once mad master, and paint some nocturnes where he once painted.

This is the kind of stuff I live for; to follow in the steps of dead past Master Artists, and stand in the place(s) where they once stood, to create their masterpieces, but paint it from my perspective. It is my version of atonement, or, AT-ONE-MENT!

Eringer got to work; researching everything he could about the location and logistics of where we were going to explore. Then he made a comment on my freshly painted A-2 flight jacket; with 'Batlin' Bet' on the back.

Robert then proceeded to inform me that his only Uncle, Edward Stanley, was a pilot of a B-24 Liberator in WWII- flying for the Royal Air Force in 159 Squadron. He and his crew were shot down during a night mission over Rangoon, by two Japanese Oscars. Edward's body, and three of his crew, and plane, were never recovered.

Robert mentioned he would like me to paint a flight Jacket for him, in honor of Edward. (He'd already dedicated the first of his eleven novels,"Strike for Freedom", to Edward). I would be honored to do this.

He then he got to work, ordering an A-2 from Eastman Leather. He searched for and found the photo of Edward Stanley, in front of his Bomber, with a painting of the Nose Art behind him.

There he was; Edward, standing in front of his bomber with his flight crew and ground crew and personel, and the Bomber's name?