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Submitted on
September 28, 2006
Image Size
250 KB


29 (who?)
In Balance with This Life - by DarthFar In Balance with This Life - by DarthFar
- This Death.

100 Picture Challenge #43: Dying.

I know. You're saying, WTF? I don't see anyone dying. Just hear me out on this one, huh? ;)

First of all, I'm going to confess something: I was crazy about World War II as a kid, especially about the air battle bits. ESPECIALLY B-17 Flying Fortresses. Much of that time was spent writing WWII air force stories, playing flight sims and building model aircraft; the remaining time was spent entertaining fantasies about being the pilot of a Flying Fortress.

The other confession is that I dig war poetry and squaddie songs (ie. those war-themed songs sung by soldiers and airmen). At the top of this list is William Butler Yeats' An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, which of course provided the inspiration for this artwork. (And probably my hero-worshipping of Bob Morgan...). (The title comes from the Yeats poem, btw. ;)).

Anyway I wanted to do something in the style of those old WWII propaganda posters (complete with yellowed paper), but one with a certain irony to it. Yeah sure, there were all those posters telling you about how great it was to be in the army, to be serving your country, and ENLIST NOW! but behind the prettified, glamourous image of army life lurked the less-than-palatable fact that casualty rates were terrible. [In this context, about half the B-17s were lost in battle; the casualty rate for said crews was something like 25% (but, in some groups, could go as high as 87%).] So yes, you're going out to serve your nation... but there's also a fat chance you won't be coming home afterward.

(Of course, as I realised belatedly, my plans to paint it a la propaganda posters failed somewhat. This was because (1) I can't paint in anybody else's style but my own, and (2) I went detail-crazy. Seriously detail-crazy. A fat lot of good it did me after I rescaled the picture!).

Many, many thanks to Tycho for beta-ing, and for coming up with the words to accompany the picture. Oh, and in case anybody's wondering, the name of this particular B-17 is Dakota Harlot (name obscured by the guy's head). [chuckle] (It was the name of one of the minor planes in my old fics).

Submitted to :iconunseenartists:: [link]
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k-h116 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2012  Student General Artist
amazing job
DarthFar Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012
Thank you. :)
minicoopermaverick Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Beautiful. I always love the -51
DarthFar Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010
Thank you. :)
minicoopermaverick Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
SniperFrans Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2009
"...In balance with this life... this death..."

thats part of the poem by W.B. Yates. The B-17, and that poem was featured in the 1990 fil "Memphis Belle" great picture
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2009
Yup, you got the poem! :D And Memphis Belle was among my favourite films (and books) when I was growing up. You should try reading the autobiography of Robert Morgan, the real captain of the Belle if you get the chance.
SniperFrans Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2009
It sounds like a good read. Whats the name of the book?

That movie was the first war movie i remember watching when i was REALLY young... before i was even able to understand any of it i was watching it constantly. It has to have the prettiest soundtrack ever given to a movie
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2009
The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle: Memoir of a WWII Bomber Pilot by Robert Morgan (not Dennis Dearborn! ;)) and Ron Powers.

That was about my first war movie too, and the one that convinced me for many years that I wanted to become a bomber pilot. LOL. And I agree: George Fenton did a really good job with the soundtrack!
Sterne Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2007
GREAT WORK, HERE.I like B-17 Flying Fortress, too.
And B-29 Superfortress. I dont forget all people who
figth on board this planes, for things they loves,
and for freedom. Ah, so delicate, so powerfull, the liberty.
(I apologise for my bad English)
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