The Making of: “Up and Away”

Every time I hear these words I think of one of my nephews as a toddler.

He loved Superman and tried to say those hallmark words but ended up saying, “Up Up D’way”.  Perhaps he was as fascinated by Superman as I was about flight in general at that young age.  I loved…who am I kidding..I love watching airplanes whether they are crossing close by over a highway to land at some large airport or simply trailing across the sky.  My fascination with air travel is not limited to planes.  I have the same feeling watching a hawk soar on a current or a butterfly’s erratic passage.  And then there are hot air balloons.

I used to live in a fairly rural Piedmont North Carolina community which had a small landing strip used by a couple of locals who flew Cessna planes.  It was also a place where hot air balloons often took off or landed.  The slow expansion of the balloon’s fabric until at last it began to rise was mesmerizing to me.  Like planes I watched as a child I followed their ascent until they were out of view.   So when a friend at work, years later, asked me to go to the a balloon festival in Statesville, North Carolina there was no question about my answer.

Surrounded by so many balloons in one place was almost overwhelming and I spent most of the day taking photographs of them trying to capture the spirit of the day.  The painting-in-process I’m sharing today is a painting I created from several of the photos I took that day.

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