This is a Lockheed Vega circa 1930. It’s based on the beautiful bright red 5B Vega used by Amelia Earhart to fly solo across the Atlantic and solo nonstop across the USA, both in 1932. Earhart sold her airplane to Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute when she bought a new one, and it eventually came to the Smithsonian, where it’s now on display in the Air and Space Museum. It’s a jaunty, brave little airplane and struck my fancy right away when I was thinking about adding a plane to my assorted block printed vehicles.
Why an airplane? Well, I’ve always liked the look of old aircraft, just as I like vintage automobiles and steam trains, so the real question is not why, but why now? And the answer is that a few weeks ago I got a lovely e-mail from the mother of a boy who has my steam locomotive hanging in his bedroom. They were wondering if I’d ever considered doing a print of an airplane… Well, I had considered it. A number of times, actually, and this was the push I needed to go ahead and finally do it. There’s a biplane I plan to do as well, when I get to it, but this was a great little block for me right now. So far this year I’ve had to spend an awful lot of time on things that take busy work but don’t feel particularly creative, and until this piece I hadn’t made a single new block this year (or managed to spend much time on writing, either, alas). So this simple piece that could be quickly carved was just right to give me a little art lift without taking too much time.
Well, I was all pleased to have fit a little quick carving into the past two days, and then I went to print. That should have been quick, too… but it isn’t! It turns out that my tube of red ink is a little too dry and and I’m having the devil of a time getting clean, clear prints. In fact, after two attempts I still haven’t managed to make a decent edition. I’ve added some water to my ink and I’ll leave it to sit overnight, and try again tomorrow. But in the meantime, here’s what I’ve got so far. I hope it lifts your spirits on this grey February day.
[Picture: Lockheed Vega, rubber block print by AEGN, 2015.]