Home Art War Art Eric Painting “Mustangs in Readiness”
Eric Painting “Mustangs in Readiness” E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
Mustangs in Readiness :: Watercolour, 38.7 x 56.5cm, 1943 (War Museum of Canada)

This watercolour, “Mustangs in Readiness,” in the Museum of Civilization's collection, is Eric's 1944 depiction of Mustang fighters in England ready to intercept the enemy. In her collection of Eric's work Margaret Bridgman has a photograph of Eric standing at an easel working on this painting. Taken at face value, this photo depicts Eric completing the painting, although it could have been staged after the fact. This is not to say that Eric did not work al fresco; a clipping of a Toronto Star article by Gregory Clark (“War Artist Finds Out Eyes On Him All Time,” 1944), mentions Eric's backpack which contained a camera, paints, and water bottle, along with a hinged easel.

Eric Aldwinckle painting “Mustangs in Readiness” :: Collection of Margaret Bridgman

This photograph was in Eric's possession when he passed away in 1980, and this collection of photographs, drawings and other work was given to the care of his neice, Margaret Bridgman. They provide insights into Eric's work and methods that are missing from the collection of completed work and archives in the Crown's possession.


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The Work and Life of Eric Aldwinckle

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Being a sensible man he did not ask what the painting I had in mind was. His assisting officer, not being a sensible man, did. I had feared this.

This was the man who had tried to get me to paint the Headquarters building in London. This was the man who had asked me to draw an ancient archway in London for one of his higher officials who was living above it and liked its history, and had whispered in my ear it would “do me good.”

This was the man who had suggested interesting subjects like “bomber command mess on Christmas eve” because he had never seen bomber command mess on Christmas eve.

-Eric Aldwinckle, 1944