Thursday, April 6, 2017

Nightbird

One of the most fun jobs I had was that of an airbrush artist back in the free wheeling and fun 70s.  I worked at "The Airbrush Shop" in Pacific Beach. Lazy me would wake up late, go to the shop and paint for hours and then go to the beach, stay up all night having fun and get up and do it again. We didn't know then, that those days would be some of the fondest days we all had together.
We artists made the most complex stencils with flaps upon flaps and spray our designs on practically anything, but mostly t-shirts.  Each of us had a specialty, but we all learned from one another and became experts at waves, clouds, flowers, fairies, Pegasus, animals, and especially wings and birds. We painted team shirts for sky divers, hang gliders, and "Over the Line" teams as well as made beautiful evening dresses and bathing suits. I was once flown to San Francisco to paint actual hang gliders, one of which was inspired by the "Journey to Ixtlan" bird.
Circa 1970s - the artists of The Airbrush Shop,Balboa Dr., Pacific Beach, CA
Left to right: Janice Crofton, Diane Gerard, Katheryn Bailey, Andy Anderson, Me, Robbie Adkins, Wess Smith

These were taken for to be ads in the  newspaper "The Reader".  I think the lady with the cat is our photographer.

I use to know their names, but they came all the way from Telluride, CO to get one of our shirts.

70s Surfboard 

Hang glider painted in the Art Nouveau style I admire so much back then.  This is at Torrey Pines Glider Port

Rainbow Wing Flower Hang Glider

Side view of the Rainbow Wing with the "Journey to Ixtlan" bird and the owner.  She was such a BA back then, I wonder what has become of her now.

We painted a lot of birds-of-prey because so many of our clients loved to fly and related to these incredible birds. Many hang gliders told stories about catching thermals and getting higher and higher, only to have a red-tail hawk flying along side giving the pilot a good look.  So of course, we did many hawks, eagles, falcons and truly tried to make them as  realistic and magical as possible. Although I was more into the hummingbirds and seagulls back then, there was one bird-of-prey I loved as much as the others, and somehow we never did them. It was the magical black crows and ravens with practically every culture giving them a mythological lore.  They are also very intelligent and flying acrobats.
 An artist, from IATC, asked if I would like to contribute a painting with proceeds from the art auction to be donated to the ACLU.  In this day and age, of course I would! The subject could be anything and it could be any size.  Well, my mind is on birds because my friend, Mae, and I trade art on the animal of the year, and this year it's birds. So, I thought I would do a dynamic painting of a raven in fond memories of those days of airbrushing wings and birds-of-prey. What I do for my friend is still up in the air, but here is the painting for a special someone who bids on it.  Here's the link: Art Into Auction 2017

"Nightbird"
Watercolor 9 x 12 inches

2 comments:

AnnD said...

I can't thank you enough for this absolutely stunning contribution! Loved these photos, too!

Wess S said...

Your story brings back so many great memories. It WAS a magical time that I will cherish forever. Thank you Rhonda. By the way I absolutely LOVE your work.

Wes