Researching “Red Tails Escorting the B17s”.

I am a historical artist, therefore, I research my subject before I begin to paint.  I would like to share some of my early findings.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces. As an artist, I must portray the speed of their fighter plane.  The Red Tail P51, which was a Mustang, was hugely successful as an escort to the heavy bombers to Berlin and back to base.  This plane was fast and built to compete with the German Luftwaffe and the Messerschmitt aircrafts.  Until the Mustang, we were being thrashed in the sky by their superior and faster fighter planes.  The Tuskegee pilots were wedded to their P51’s. Their proudest action of the War was their success as escorts.  Indeed they were the best with the least number of bombers lost to anti-aircraft gunners and to the German fighter ace pilots.  More details to follow.  Kay














About Illinois Artist Laureate Kay Smith

After completing my studies at the School of the Art Institute, I worked as an illustrator. As the 1976 Bicentennial approached there was a fever of interest in American history. In 1971, I was asked to illustrate a book on the American Revolutionary War period which required me to travel to historic locations to paint the actual scenes. As my travels crossed and crisscrossed the paths of the patriots, I entered their lives and was forever caught in the inescapable skeins of history and was thrust into the role of historical painter. What began as a single assignment has grown over the past 40-plus years into the largest collection of American historical-site paintings ever created by a single artist. To see these historical works and to learn more about The American Legacy Collection, please visit my website at: The American Legacy Collection is a dramatic panorama of this country's historical places and its defining moments. My original watercolors chronicle 500 years of the American experience and preserve with an artist's palette our American heritage.

One response to “Researching “Red Tails Escorting the B17s”.

  1. Danny Lena

    Smith is amazing I love her art


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