This is the aviation art of Lou Drendel.
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This artist gallery is under
construction sorry for the
Here is a word from the artist about the artist.
I have been drawing and painting airplanes for as long as I can remember. This fascination with airplanes, particularly military
airplanes, was fostered by my Dad, who built solid models of combat airplanes during World War II. Most of this sizeable collection
was hung from wires that criss-crossed the ceiling of my bedroom. My last waking moments were often spent gazing at the lines
and angles that defined these classic airplanes, and the sun always came up with glancing rays of light shimmering on their wings
and fuselages. It was a most effective and lasting form of brainwashing, leading to a lifetime of deep interest in airplanes,
particularly military airplanes.
My family has no great artistic tradition. The only other artists in my family (that I am aware of) were my aunt, who was serious about
her art, and my mother, who was not. But my earliest memories literally are of trying to draw and color airplanes. The desire to
create pictures has always burned brightly, equaling my attraction to airplanes.
This desire was matched almost equally by the desire to fly. My favorite childhood books always starred aeronautical heroes. While
most of my contemporaries immersed themselves in sports, I spent my time in the library devouring military history. When I read
"Those Devils In Baggy Pants", the World War II chronicle of the 504th Airborne Infantry Regiment, I knew I had to become a
Paratrooper. Three years in the 82nd Airborne Division gave me an appreciation for the appeal of calculated risk......and a set of
Senior Parachutist Wings.
My aeronautical passion was briefly sidetracked into the world of sports car racing when I bought my first Corvette, and then met
my future wife. Two years of road racing, and one wedding later, I was sans Corvette and getting serious about painting airplanes.
Soon enough, I was also serious about flying them......but not before a return to falling out of them. Carol and I joined a skydiving
club and spent one summer with the Midwest Skydiving Club. Fortunately for us, the primary jump plane pilot got his instructor
rating that summer and offered to teach any interested sky divers to fly.
Skydiving in the early sixties was a chancy deal. The parachutes were mostly military surplus, round high porosity canopies, which
we modified for maneuverability by removing panels....thus increasing the descent rate. I noticed that most of my skydiving buddies
had suffered various injuries as a result. After I suffered a separated shoulder, it was not a difficult decision to give up falling out of
airplanes in favor of staying in them.
I earned by Private Pilot certificate in 1965, my Commercial in 1966, and started aerobatic instruction that same year. By 1968 I had
logged over 500 hours. But I had also gotten pretty serious about painting airplanes, and was soon promoting publication. The
Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine published an eight- page feature on a series of paintings I had done depicting the Air War in
Vietnam. The Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society also published several of my works.
Braniff Captain, aviation author and publisher Len Morgan had become a regular correspondent, and when I suggested that he
publish a book on the Vietnam air war, using my illustrations, he responded that I should write and illustrate the book and he would
publish it. "The Air War In Vietnam" was published in 1968. It was followed by "Aircraft Of The Vietnam War", in 1970.
I met Jerry Campbell, owner and publisher of Squadron/Signal Publications, in 1972. We established an enduring relationship. My
first book for Squadron/Signal was "F-4 Phantom In Action", published in 1972. It was followed at regular intervals by over 50 more
All this authoring and painting (not to mention raising a family) had led to a moratorium on flying, but when a beat up T-34 showed
up at our airport, and I found out that it was being sold to a just-forming flying club, I took an orientation ride and my interest in
flying was instantly rekindled.
The T-34 Mentor is one of the nicest flying airplanes ever built. It was designed to have the feel of a 1950's jet fighter. The controls
are relatively light and well-balanced, and it is fast enough and comfortable enough to make it a good cross-country airplane. And, it
was fully aerobatic! The Mentor Flyers was founded in 1974 as a fifteen member group, but we did not fill the membership until the
early 80s. During those early years we spent more time on restoration than we did on flying.
The early 80s also saw the popularization of civilian formation flying. I was an early member of the national T-34 Association and
quickly became a formation flying addict. The T-34 Association soon set the standard for large precision formation groups at the
annual convention of the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh. A major part of this rise to formation prominence was the
publication of our manual "Formation Flight". I co-authored and illustrated the manual, and it has since been reprinted 3 times.
"Formation Flight" was adopted by all civilian warbird groups sanctioned by the FAA to fly formation in airshow airspace. I was
elected to the Board of Directors of the T-34 Association in 1980, and have served as President since 1992. I also served a stint on
the EAA Warbirds of America board, from 1989-1994. My designs for the formation flying qualification patches are used by all
As interest in civilian formation grew, we developed a core of formation pilots in our flying club, the Mentor Flyers. This core group
eventually began to acquire their own airplanes and by the mid-80s, we had six T-34s locally. Weekly formation practices soon
began to expand the envelope of maneuvers, and within a few years we had developed into a precision team, capable of formation
aerobatics equaling the jet teams in the range and complexity of maneuvers. The Lima Lima Flight Team has performed in front of
hundreds of millions of spectators, from coast-to-coast and border-to-border since 1988.
Three years ago I accepted a commission to produce a series of paintings for American Flyers website, the national company
which provides flight training for Private, Commercial, Instrument, and Instructor ratings. This series of paintings covers virtually
the full spectrum of aviation history. It was while I was developing the "famous aviators" series for American Flyers that I created
the technique of "ghosting" the image of the aviator in the background, with his airplane in the foreground of the picture. This
technique has provided the basis for most of the commissions I have undertaken for pilots....famous or otherwise
copyright 2006 by Lou Drendel
Here at Ozark Airfield Artworks we offer a large selection art prints. These prints
mainly depict modern and historic aviation along with military, civil and space flight. We
also deal with naval subjects and military armor and infantry works. These prints are
from all the top national and international artists along with some local artists. Many of
our prints are signed by the artist and by famous pilots and veterans. If you are looking
for a specific plane, pilot, artist or subject please contact us.
Copyright © Ozark Airfield Artworks 2005 All Rights
All images are copyrighted by the individual artist and may not be
reproduced without their consent.