Romance of Flight

Romance of Flight –
Double Unveiling in DC
Torrential downpours could not keep the crowds away.
Wet umbrellas were replaced with glasses of wine and tasty hors d’oeuvres as art aficionados strolled from one end of the gallery to the other, with one inevitable question….. “What’s under the big black curtains?”  Opposing walls of the gallery were draped in black silk, building anticipation until the magical moment.
Hudson & Amy Schapiro, David Silverman & Kelly James arrive early despite thunderstorms and DC traffic
Washington DC gallery owner Dale Johnson welcomed every guest to the Watergate Gallery, nestled in the courtyard of the historic Watergate Complex on the banks of the Potomac.  For 26 years, no thunderstorm has stopped her from celebrating an opening in style. Even new mother Amy Shapiro braved the weather with 10 month old Hudson to see the opening of the show.
Guests discuss the backstories behind the paintings
The “Romance of Flight” show, created by four women who share a love of art and aeronautics, celebrates the mystery of space, the velocity toward one’s destination and the emotional power of aviation.

ImageMoments before the first Unveiling

Finally! The anticipated moment arrived with Unveiling Number One: After introductions and welcoming remarks, Dale Johnson, Kristin Hill, Crissie Murphy and Michelle Rouch unveil a wall of artwork by the three artists.
Artists Kristin Hill, Crissie Murphy and Michelle Rouch answer the audience questions about their work
Former ASAA president Kristin Hill’s luminous cloudscapes bring an ethereal lightness to the gallery with “Ocean Transit” and “Some Dance with Aurora.” Her skillful depiction of the U2 is painted from a remarkable perspective, from firsthand experience of flying in the high altitude craft itself, after extensive astronaut training. The Pennsylvania artist has been active in the Air Force Art Program since 1980.


Kristin Hill with “Ocean Transit” and “Some Dance with Aurora”
Crissie Murphy’s lustrous reds of her “Pierce Arrow” impact the viewer with vibrance and movement. The Boston-based painter is one of a handful of artists who can lay claim to having had an art show in space. Astronaut Richard Garriott launched to the International Space Station with Crissie’s “Wingman Blue,” later featured at Manhattan’s Charles Bank Gallery reception with Buzz Aldrin. 


Crissie Murphy and Buzz Aldrin with “Wingman” in Manhattan
Tucsonian artist Michelle Rouch reflects upon the 40th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War with “Together We Serve” in a tribute to heroes, Lt. Mike McCormick, USN (Pilot) and Ltjg. R. Alan Clark, USN (Weapons Officer), the last flight crew to give their lives during the Vietnam War. “Pioneer Combat Pilot” honors Martha McSally (USAF retired Colonel), the first female pilot in US history to pilot to fly a fighter aircraft in combat after the prohibition was repealed in 1991.  Rouch’s engineering background offers the foundation for her artistic ability to draw aviation and astronomical subjects.


 Michelle Rouch describes the story behind Vietnam’s last flight crew 
Unveiling Two: Dale Johnson and artists Hill, Murphy and Rouch pulled down the last wall of black silk to unveil Mimi Stuart’s EOS-style expressionist art. “Failure Is Not an Option,” a collection of 7-foot tall paintings made with 23k gold, silver and copper leaf, was created for the red carpet procession at the Living Legends of Aviation Awards in Beverly Hills to honor Jim Lovell, John Travolta and Chesley Sullenberger as they walked down the red carpet, and the spirit of the Wright Brothers.
Upon unveiling, the five women struck up a Hawaiian hang-ten pose in tribute to legendary aviation artist Luther Y. Gore, who had recently flown west.
In honor of artist Luther Gore, artists and gallery owner strike his signature hang-ten pose after the Unveiling of Stuart’s “Failure is Not an Option”
(photo courtesy of Mark Usciak)
Photographer Mark Usciak, looking dashing in his tuxedo, commented “This was well worth the two hour drive from Lancaster, PA. I enjoy seeing the magnificent artwork by very talented and accomplished artists in their field. I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.”


Mark Usciak with “Roar of the Raptor”

After the show, Steven Krensky, owner of Baltimore’s Light Street Gallery wrote ” What a night! To have so much talent located under one roof for your viewing convenience was such a kick.”
Steven Krensky admires the art of Michelle Rouch
Eventually, the guests filed out into the cold again, this time warm with the glow of an evening filled with color and surprises, with conversation about the finer things in life… romance and flight…inexorably entwined.


~Team Aero 
 Photography courtesy of Mark Usciak

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