Artist Laureate of Illinois Historical Locations in Watercolors Artist Laureate of Illinois Historical Locations in Watercolors

 

 

Red Tails Escorting the B17s

In 2011, the Pritzker Military Library commissioned a painting to commemorate the story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II to be hung in the Holt Oral History Room.

Two years later, the library unveiled my now historic watercolor painting,  “Red Tails Escorting the B17s”.  The subject for this painting did not come easily. In order to make sure the historical issues were correct, I used the resources at the Pritzker Military Library, viewed countless training films from the Tuskegee Airmen achieves, researched the internet and watched films of the bombing of the Ploesti, Poland refineries, the blitz of Berlin, and many more.

Artist Laureate Kay Smith kaysmith@kaysmithartist.com Artist of the The American Legacy Collection http://KaySmithArtist.com Kay Smith's original watercolors chronicle 500 years of the American experience

 

All this informed me about the war tactics and fighting but little about the pilot--the soldier.  I wanted to discover the emotions and feelings of the individuals.  Enter friend and film maker, Steven Rosofsky.  He assisted me in filming the men telling their stories in the intimacy of their homes.  I interviewed and sketched as they animatedly told their thrilling—inspiring stories. They had such pride in what they had accomplished for themselves and their country. And with a great stroke of luck one of the men, Dr. Quentin Smith told the story of being one of the 101 black officers, arrested and incarcerated for the Freeman Field Mutiny—little known beyond their members.

The one-on-one interviews provided me with the human side of the story. I listened and I learned one outstanding thing, the one subject they were extremely passionate about was their assignment to escort the heavy bombers over occupied Europe to Berlin and back safely.  Their success as escorts was one of the premier successes of the United States Army Air Force in WWII.

There was my subject--I would paint the Tuskegee Airmen escorting the heavy bombers and call it “Red Tails Escorting the B17s”.

Buy the Print "Red Tails
Escorting the B17's"

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Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails
Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails




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Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails
 
Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails
 
Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails
 
Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails
 
Kay Smith Artist Laureate of IL - Tuskegee Airmen Redtails