Joint-Op. Original painting 36 x 54, brush-worked oil paints on canvas.Manon Elder's father, Robert Ducharme, was in the Air Force and she grew up in bases across Canada and in France. This painting is a tribute to him.
Joint-Op, is a 36 x 54, oil on canvas painting of a 1943 WLC Canadian War Harley and an American 1941 Curtiss P40-E painted with the Aleutian Tiger motif. The Aleutian Tiger came into being as a tribute to Claire Chennault of AVG fame. In 1942, Claire's son John, was the CO of the American 11th Pursuit Squadron that began joint operations with the 14th Squadron RCAF, to rid the Japanese stronghold of two Aleutian islands. A major assault from the American 343rd Battalion and the 111th Fighter Squadron RCAF occurred on Sept. 25,th but it wasn't until 1943 that further attacks provoked the withdrawal of the Japanese forces.
The making of Joint-Op, took months to organize. The P40-E Kittyhawk was purchased in 1946 by George Maude. It is stored at his hangar at Victoria airport and has RCAF markings on metal. Through research and assistance by Maj. Derek Brown of the Lt. Ashton Amoury, the artist was able to ascertain the placement and colour of the designs. Brendan, an aeronautical mechanic 'played' the part of the pilot complete with original 1941 bomber jacket and headgear. Keith Armstrong, who restores vintage motorcycles and cars, trucked the Harley to the airport and donned the Dispatcher's uniform. Steve Drane, who holds the Harley Davidson franchise for Victoria and donated the Harley to the Armoury also provided the Dispatcher's uniform and the reproduction- leather bags of the Harley. The Canadian Dispatcher's uniform was made using actual cloth from WW11 uniforms and the crest of Steve's father's WWII regiment, the Pat Bay Dragoons, was sewn on the upper sleeve .
On May 28th, 2004 the Victoria Airport Security gave the artist permission to have a photo shoot on the taxi area of the tarmac. For two hours Keith and Brendan role-played many enactments of what would have transpired on a daily basis throughout the War. The artist was therefore able to use her own photos of the bike and plane on which to base the structure of the painting. Research provided the information with which to paint the nose art of the Aleutian Tiger. During the course of the shoot, storm clouds gathered and it rained. Only fitting, for the Aleutian Op was flown in the worst of weathers.