Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Texture and A Story: "BOMBS!"

I started another on-line workshop, this one about texture. I love using texture in my art, so I am enjoying learning new ways to create it. This lesson was about implying texture with just paint, so that was interesting to learn. The first picture was when I was about halfway through, and the second is the finished piece. The scan doesn't show it as real as I would like, but you can get the idea! Nothing but acrylic paint, stamp & stencil.

(click for details)

(click for details)

I'm looking forward to the next lesson, and will share it with you when I've done it!

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BOMBS!
47th in the Tuesday Story Series

My family moved to the Charleston area in the early 1950's. Our first home was in a housing area of small frame homes built for Vets and active servicemen with families, between the Air Force Base and the Navy Base. At that time our family had three children so we all fit comfortably into the small house, which had a big yard to play in. We lived there until my parents bought a home on James Island. We loved the Charleston area, it was far from the overdeveloped place it is now. 

We would often go into the old city to the movie theatres to watch the latest cowboy movie (think Gene Autry or Roy Rogers) and I remember that before the movie would start, they would play newsreels shorts, or short adventure segments (High Adventures with Lowell Thomas). Since World War ll had only occurred a few years before,  the newsreels would often show American victories, or something about the equipment used in the War such as tanks, B-52 bombers with bombs being dropped, or war ships. Of course, there would be great musical fanfare with the shorts, and nothing gruesome or disturbing was shown, after all this was family fare! (Unlike today, I'm sorry to say.) But even those images still made an impact, as I found out later.

My brother, who was 15 months younger than me, and I loved the trips to the movies, and we loved to play in the back yard. Often we took turns with what we'd play - house or Army Men, both of us willing to be part of either one. One day in late spring or early summer, we were outside playing when we happened to look up and saw things in the air that frightened us terribly!

"BOMBS! BOMBS!!!!" - we went screaming into the house to our mother, who was very surprised and startled to hear this and grabbing my baby sister, came running back out of the house with us as we pointed into the air - "See Mom?? SEE? BOMBS!!"

She calmed down and then calmed us down -"No, no! Those aren't bombs, they're dirigibles. They fly with air in them, it's OK! They won't hurt us!" Well, to two small children, they certainly looked like bombs! After a few minutes, we started calming down, and watched these huge spherical objects float over us slowly, looking ungainly yet graceful. I can still see that in my mind's eye, it was a very strange sight!


Actually, I now know they were blimps, not dirigibles. Blimps did not have a rigid interior cage like dirigibles did, they were more like giant balloons. The US Navy actually had a fleet of 10 of these blimps, called LTA's (Lighter Than Air) before the War, and then Congress authorized production of 200 more. They were workhorses of the Navy, especially patrolling all coastlines, and carried depth charges to use when a German U-Boat was spotted. The loss of American ships dwindled quite a bit once the Navy started using the blimps to patrol the coast.  German U-Boats had inflected a lot of damage to the Navy right off the USA coastline before these LTA's were put into service. I do not know why these particular blimps were in the Charleston area that year (1954), but the LTA's were used until they were phased out in November 1961. Of course, I was unaware of all this as I stood there watching those cigar shaped aircraft sail quietly overhead!

A WW2-era National Archives photo, looking north at the runway at Charleston (note the blimp at the center of the picture).

If you are interested in learning more about these little known airships, click here and here, or do a Google search. Bet you didn't know the Goodyear Blimp had such a proud heritage!

Click on any photo to see details.

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

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