Oil on canvas, 2009, detail of full image
Sometimes as an artist, I get an image full-blown in my mind; that was the case here. Composition, lighting, hues. I needed some details for the biplanes. So I did a bit of online poking, and found the story of a true Canadian adventurer, perfect to add to my concept painting. Major William George “Billy” Barker was a World War 1 flying ace and Victoria Cross recipient who flew Sopwith Camels against German Fokkers. Although I could not find any information indicating he fought against the infamous Red Baron, Manfred Von Richtofen, I thought these two ace pilots would heighten the drama in this alternate history. Of course, Major Billy Barker has a trick up those RAF sleeves: his fighting pterosaur squadron, made up of Quetzalcoatlus northropi.