A Mural of an Historic Airplane to Celebrate an Historic Pilot!

As part of my mural painting and commissioned art business, I get the opportunity to paint a wide variety of subjects – as witnessed by my most recent project! My client MaryLou reached out to me with the idea to paint a Boeing KC97 airplane as a present for her husband Bob.  Bob’s 84th (!) birthday is coming up, and flying for the Air Force after college is a treasured memory from his younger years.  The plane he spent the most time flying was the KC97, a mid-air refueling plane that he flew in 1957 and 1958..

To pick the location of the mural, we looked to Bob’s favorite spot to enjoy his crossword puzzles and the occasional golf tournament on television. His chair in this room looks up at a wall with a great horizontal space that is perfect for this 5 foot by 2 foot mural!  Rather than paint the mural directly on the wall, we decided to do this one on canvas so they would have the flexibility to move it if they need to down the road.

My first step was to measure the space to suggest a size that would fit the space well without overwhelming the room.  We also looked at the colors in the room to pick blues that would go with the other pictures as well as the rug in the room.

With this done, I then did online research on the KC97 and sent pictures that I was considering using to Bob for him to review.  Since I am not an expert on aircraft, I wanted to make sure I picked an image that was exactly what Bob was looking for!

With an approved picture of the plane, a final size and colors picked – it was on to the final painting!  Based on my conversations with Bob and MaryLou, I wanted to keep the painting very clean and bold – with the emphasis on the plane itself.  Since Bob is a history buff, it was also important for my details to be completely accurate!  With that said, though – I did decide to make one small change as a fun surprise for Bob by making the tail number his birthday!

When I delivered and hung the final mural painting, Bob and MaryLou were thrilled!  It was “even better” than what they had in mind.  Bob loved the accuracy of the painting – and the customized tail number was a hit.  Happy 84th Bob!!

Below is a close-up of the mural, a shot with me installing it to show the scale -- and a shot with the proud new owner!

Close-up of the painting

Close-up of the painting