A Journey Through History

Categories: 2023 July-August Issue, Bateman, Brian, Genre, Landscape, and Oil.

“I love where we have come from,” says Brian Bateman. “History is the catalyst for all of my work—the men, women, machines, and how they intertwine.”

That love of history took hold when he was a young boy and continues to drive him as he captures the past in paintings that feature everything from the West and Native Americans to mountain men and military aircraft. What makes those paintings unique is that he often combines two or more subjects in one painting, and he looks forward to combining aircraft within his Western work.

Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Bateman’s initial interest began with the Civil War and expanded to include World War II military machines and aircraft. His mother and father sacrificed much for being where he is today. “Dayton has a great aviation museum; my dad used to take me there frequently,” Bateman says. “I just loved the aircraft; it was a spark, almost churchlike! I studied the paint schemes, rivets, markings, etc.” By the time he was in fifth grade, he was becoming more enthralled with World War II and credits his best friend at the time with fueling that interest.

Read the full article in the July/August 2023 issue.

Unscheduled Delivery

20” by 30”

“This painting was my very first introduction into the western art world as I was invited to join a large art show in Dallas, Texas, where I knew I had to pursue this genre. I have always been fascinated with the early days of aviation, in particular with the beginning of the U.S. Air Mail flights across the country. These were long hops from station to station, flying in all types of weather while trying to reach their final destinations out West. This painting depicts an airmail pilot who has crash landed on a rancher’s field somewhere in southern Wyoming. He has either run out of gas or has had a mechanical failure and has had to put the Curtiss Jenny down quickly. With a full load, he has sheared off his landing gear, which caused his wing to dip and caused major damage to the aircraft. The rancher, who heard the commotion, climbs atop the bluff to find the pilot who asks him for directions to the nearest town so he can contact his boss. The rancher finds it all somewhat comical—but, for the pilot, there will be no mail delivery today!”

The Eyes Above

11” by 14”

“The intelligence battle during WWII was imperative to victory from the allied side, and the aerial photo reconnaissance campaign against Hitler’s Germany was ever-changing with the introduction of new enemy technology along with enemy air bases scattered among the Netherlands launching Germany’s V-1 and V-2 rockets against a tenacious Britain. These photo recon missions were lonely, cold, and dangerous as the pilots usually flew unarmed, but the latest version of the famous Supermarine Spitfire was up to the task. In this painting I show a lone Spitfire MkXIV on a photo reconnaissance mission banking high above the North Sea at dawn as he heads out towards the intended target over Northern Germany. It will be a long tedious flight from which he hopefully will return with vital information from his photographs over enemy territory.”