Russ Brown’s aviation mural
by Robert Burris
Sure to become Sedona lore, a unique series of murals
are evolving on the side of the Red Rock Biplane building
on Airport Mesa. These magnificent creations are as unique
as their creator.
Russ Brown, Sedona
aviation artist, has begun work on the west wall of the building,
the first of two murals planned for the dazzling location.
“Painting the murals is a labor of love,” said Brown.
The first mural is in honor of the airman of World War
II. The 15’ by 8’ size creates an exciting panorama of the
aircraft that flew in Europe in 1944.
Featured aircraft are Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortresses,”
Consolidated B-24 “Liberators,” North American P-51 “Mustangs,”
Republic P-47 “Thunderbolts” and Lockheed P-38 “Lightnings.”
To add a sense of history, many of the aircraft are
the actual planes flown by Sedona residents, such as Bob Boydston
in his P-51 “Boilermaker Special,” and Herschel Ferris in
his P-47 “Jackie Ann.” As a tribute to his late father, Brown
has painted Lt. Russell Brown in his P51 “Pretty Baby.”
“Each aircraft will be rendered in exacting detail,
down to the last rivet,” said Brown.
To watch Brown create an aircraft in life-like detail
is a lesson in aviation art. He is an extremely fast painter.
He paints on Thursdays and Fridays, and like the Energizer
Bunny, he never stops painting.
Brown grew up in the Air Force and then became a U.S.
Army helicopter pilot with two tours in Vietnam. Beginning
his aviation art two years ago, he has discovered a passion.
“So many planes to paint and so little time,” Brown
In addition to his studio and gallery of aviation art
at the Red Rock Biplane building, he is the owner and director
at Sedona Artist Studio on Gallery Row, on Hwy. 179 in Sedona.
He is a very busy artist, with a vast palette - from aviation
To add even more history into the mural, Brown is looking
for more pilots and crew of those types of aircraft who flew
in Europe in 1944. Their planes may be added in, depending
on available space. Brown can be contacted at 203-0195 or
Since the focus of Sedona Airport is civilian aircraft,
Brown has a second mural in the works that will feature famous
aircraft in civilian aviation. The center of this mural will
be the Wright Brothers taking off on their first historic
flight at Kitty Hawk, in 1903. Next year will mark the 100th
anniversary of this event and the exciting growth of civilian
aircraft. Featured around the Wright Brothers will be many
well-known aircraft, such as the Spirit of St. Louis, the
DC-3, the Constellation, the Boeing 747 and the Concorde.
Brown spends whatever time it takes to bring each aircraft
aircraft represents a bit of aviation history and each person
viewing this will remember how aviation affected their life,”
said Brown, who is a fountain of aviation lore, but really
enjoys listening to the aviation stories of others.
“Some interesting points have come from women, who in
many cases built these planes,” said Brown. “Each aviation
story ties in with another as man has striven to fly faster
The first mural is entitled “Those were the days.” Because
of the historical connections, an album will be created that
tells the history of each plane and pilot in the painting.
A guest book will be available as pilots bring their friends
to reminisce over a time long passed.
Once the mural is finished, there will be an unveiling
and a party to celebrate this unique piece of aviation history.