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99-003 "Joe Vs. the Typhoon"
1999, Acrylic on Illustration Board

In 1945, Joe was a young U.S. Navy sailor, stuck on a very unglamorous rust bucket, the Landing Ship (Tank) 739. These workhorse ships were little more than a seagoing garage for tanks, trucks, and materiel - but fortunately for Joe, they were also as seaworthy as a cork. Not long after the Japanese surrender, mother nature made it clear that SHE had not signed an armistice, sending a hellish typhoon to batter the LST 739 with 80-foot waves. For days, the boxy transport plunged up and down, her decks poor refuge for the seasick sailors as rain and hurricane winds lashed her decks. Years later, Joe grew tired of trying to convince friends how bad it was - and he hired me to take over.

This painting involved a lot of research - Joe even got me a set of navy blueprints and shared his photo collection so that every nuance was on the money. Joe won his contest with nature, and went on to be a very successful California businessman - you can spot young Joe at the searchlight platform (his favorite haunt), flashing a morse lamp message to a nearby ship.

Chris Butler

Copyright 1994-2003 by Chris Butler
More of Chris Butler's art can be viewed at Novagraphics Space Art.