Sunday, March 28, 2010

Elephants Wear Taupe

Above Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), photographed by Carey James Balboa near Playa Jaco, Costa Rica (2007). Public domain. It reminds us of references to camouflage and clothing design in a now quaint high school play that originated in the Home Economics Division at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University, Ames). Titled The High School Clothes Line, the script was initially published in the Journal of Home Economics. Vol 13 (April 1921), pp. 169ff—

Ada. I feel differently about made-over clothes since I have a budget. How do you like my dress? (Ada stands and turns.)

Genevieve. Is that a made-over?

Ada. Yes, and I'm proud of it. Mother is an old peach at fixing things up. She is a regular camouflage artist. (Describes dress and gives cost of new material.)…

Genevieve. A large girl went to a dressmaker to get a red dress made. The dressmaker said she would make her a pretty brown dress and trim it with henna, but the girls insisted on the red dress. Finally the dressmaker told her that nature dressed the larger animals in neutral colors, but the small dainty creatures have color to make up for their lack of size. The elephant always wears taupe, while the hummingbird wears brilliant colors.

Katherine. Emma's new eton dress is real camouflage. It covers up her round shoulders. The loose jacket and wide belt fill in the hollow back…

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hollywood Camouflage Artists

This pair of photographs dates from World War I, when they were most likely distributed by the US Government to newspapers and magazines for publicity. For example, they were published in the April 1918 issue of Popular Science magazine (p. 588), along with an article claiming that "Moving picture men are going into the 'camouflage' business." These photos are examples of how theatrical "special effects" could be used for battlefield purposes. The cannon on the left is a "sham gun," or what was then referred to as a "Quaker gun," a means of making the enemy think that the opposition was greater than it really was. On the right is a photo in which all the various props (buildings, cannon, smoke) are not at all what they appear. The photos were made on a movie lot in Hollywood, as explained in the text that continues—

Some of the recruits of a newly organized United States Army [camouflage] corps are experienced motion picture men. A full company has been raised in the Los Angeles studios alone. Another company stands ready to be enrolled. The men are eager to used their skill to "make up" imitation cannons, tanks, machine guns and other grim actors for their parts at the Front.

A recent demonstration, held in one of the great Los Angeles studios, revealed the possibilities of "camouflage." The wizards of illusion raised a village in the twinkling of an eye; tore it down with equal dexterity, and in an incredibly short time substituted a startlingly perfect "camouflage" forest. The fairy-tales of  our youth, in which genii and fairies raised and removed castles by magic, seem to bid fair to come true in these days of seeming miracles.

During World War II, theatrical set designers, animators and special effects artists contributed to both civilian and military camouflage in even larger numbers. Much of this is documented in Ronald Naversen, The Scenographer as Camoufleur. PhD dissertation. Carbondale IL: Southern Illinois University, 1989.

Camouflage Joke | Camelflag

And now for a rather lame camouflage joke from World War I, as published in Cartoons Magazine, vol 13 (1918), p. 716—

Son Will Have to Get a Hump on Now

Mother (reading aloud from letter from son Bill, in France): "'I have been transferred to the camouflage department."' Pa, what is camelflag?"

Father: "That is—why ,er, that is a kind of feller who flags the-er-camel trains."

Colors Used in Dazzle Camouflage

There are full-color paintings of dazzle-camouflaged ships from World War I, showing the range of the colors employed, but there are no color photographs of them, only black and white or sepia. In 1922, the Encyclopedia Britannica published a large entry on camouflage, a portion of which, titled "Navy Camouflage," was written by Norman Wilkinson, the British artist who had initiated dazzle-painting a few years earlier. To illustrate that article, Wilkinson included (among others) two small circular watercolors, showing the after-and-before stages of a camouflaged ship, along with a chart of the colors that was "issued to painting contractors showing the principal colors used in dazzle-painting." There were eighteen colors, as shown in the reconstruction above.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dazzle Camouflage Costume Ball

On March 12, 1919, the Chelsea Arts Club held a costume party, called a Dazzle Ball, at Royal Albert Hall in London. It was inspired by the abstract geometric shapes on camouflaged ships in World War I , a method that was first employed by the British, who called it "dazzle painting" or dazzle camouflage. When the Americans adopted a comparable method, they referred to it by other names, among them "baffle painting," "jazz painting," and (rarely) "razzle dazzle." Reproduced above is a spread from the March 22 issue that year of the Illustrated London News, which featured illustrations of the riotous goings-on at the Dazzle Ball (pp. 414-415). A few weeks later, there was a brief news article in The Independent (May 3, 1919, p. 160) that also told about the ball—

Four British naval officers, distinguished for their success at camouflage, had charge of designing the dresses, and the ballroom looked like the Grant Fleet with all its warpaint on, ready for action. The jazz bands produced sounds that have the same effect upon the ear as this "disruptive coloration" has upon the eye.

Who could have thought a dozen years ago, when the Secessionists began to secede and the Cubists began to cube, that soon all governments would be subsidizing this new form of art to the extent of millions a year? People laughed at them in those days, said they were crazy and were wasting their time, but as soon as the submarines got into action, the country called for the man who could make a dreadnaught look like "A Nude Descending a Staircase"…The submerged Hun with his eye glued to the periscope could not tell whether it was a battleship or a Post-Impressionist picture bearing down upon him…

…in its new and dazzling guise it may cause collisions in the ballroom as it did on the sea. In these days when dancers do the one-step, two-step, three-step and on up to eight-step simultaneously to the same tune, it is becoming difficult to keep the necessary leeway and seaway. When a ship or a woman is disguised by dazzle decoration one is likely to be more than fifteen points off in judging her course.

additional sources

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vaterland | Leviathan

Above are matching photos of a German ship initially called the SS Vaterland, until it was captured by the US and converted to a giant troopship called the SS Leviathan. Depending on the source, the design of its dazzle camouflage is sometimes attributed to British camoufleur Norman Wilkinson (who originated dazzle-painting) or to American artist Frederick J. Waugh (under the direction of Everett L. Warner). It may be that both statements are accurate, since it's likely that Waugh was among a team of artists who worked with Wilkinson when he was "loaned" by the British to the US Navy for the purpose of helping the US set up its own dazzle-painting unit. Whatever, the Leviathan was among the most famous examples of World War I ship camouflage. There is a reference to it at the end of this lengthy excerpt from Frederick Augustus Sherwood, Glimpses of South America. New York: The Century Company, 1920, pp. 18-19—

[During World War I, the steamers of the United Fruit Company, which were usually painted white and referred to in advertising as "the great white fleet," had instead been painted] gray, or impressionistic mixtures of black, blue, green, and yellow. Wonderful geometric patterns shot clear up their masts and funnels, and completely erased all such things as portholes.

Speaking of camouflage reminds me of a number of unusual effects we saw during the course of our travels. One of these was a house and garden painted on the side of the vessel, with a broad gravel walk leading down to the waterline. This was very striking. Evidently the idea was to lead the undersea pirates [German U-boats] to believe they were nearing home, so that they would come up and be captured. The scenic artist who was responsible had done well—but I am still rather skeptical.

Reversed vessels, that is ships made up to appear as though they were going in the opposite direction to their real course, were common. Some of them were remarkably well done. It requires considerable ingenuity to secure this effect, necessitating as it did the versing of the angle of the funnel and other parts of the superstructure that usually slope slightly towards the real stern. We passed one such ship in the Panama Canal that was so well done that it could hardly be detected, even at that close range.
We also passed a ship in the Canal that looked from a little distance as though it was being convoyed by a torpedo boat. The smaller boat painted on the side of the larger one was perfect in every detail, even to the bone that it carried in its teeth.

The more general kaleidoscopic effects, great splotches of brilliant colors, seemed at first glance to attract attention instead of concealing. It was surprising how quickly such ships lost their identity after passing. You can't actually hide a vessel on the high seas very well, but apparently you can easily change it into a haystack, a mountain, or an intermediate mass of nothing at all. This, of course, is the main purpose of all such camouflage.

One of the most remarkable specimens of this type that we collected appeared at a little distance to be two separate masses of wreckage, with considerable clear water between. It was not until we were directly abreast of it, and only a few hundred yards away, that it turned out to be one of the new standardized freighters on its way to Chile for nitrate. There were only three colors used on this vessel, black, pearl gray, and a sort of dirty pink. Apparently there was no method whatever in the mass of triangles, parallelograms and stripes of these colors, but they had certainly been most scientifically designed to secure the effect sought for. How they divided the boat into two seemingly unattached sections was most remarkable.

Camouflage has served its purpose—and has served other purposes also. It has made prosaic steamships picturesque, and they have enjoyed a favor among artists that has always previously been denied them. Innumerable sketches and paintings of ships in phantasmagorical designs and every color of the rainbow have resulted. Some of these are works of art. All are excellent records of a monstrous period. But camouflage, while increasing picturesqueness and artistic value, takes away much of the sense of power and strength that we have always been accustomed to associate with steamships in their normal dress.

The Leviathan in black, blue, and white checkers, and with long diagonal streaks of yellow, looks puerile in comparison.

Camouflage Light and Not So Lite

Above: A World War I-era comic drawing by American artist Ralph Briggs Fuller (1890-1963) from an issue of Cartoons Magazine. The caption reads "Tommy Tries Camouflage with Great Success," and beneath that is a further note: "The man will do better work on the firing line if he is skilled at the waist line, says Fuller."

Also this from American psychologist (and student of William James) G. Stanley Hall, Morale: The Supreme Standard of Life and Conduct. New York: Appleton, 1920, p. 70—

Humor is perhaps the best camouflage for fear. In looking over the files of the [WWI] trench journals of the Allies nothing has struck me more forcibly than the desperate and pathetic attempts to jest, even about death itself in its more horrid aspects. This often seems most shocking to civilian readers, while some of the attempts to joke are so abortive as to be simply pathetic. [Novelist] Coningsby Dawson writes, "Pretty well every man I have met out there has the amazing guts to wear his crown of thorns as though it were a cap and bells."

Canadian Camouflage Exhibition

During a span of eight months in 2007, the Imperial War Museum in London premiered an exhibition about the cultural history of camouflage, particularly "its development by the military and later adoption by popular culture." The exhibition, now titled Camouflage: From Battlefield to Catwalk, has been reinstalled at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, where it continues to be on display through September 6, 2010. Here's a descriptive excerpt from the museum's publicity:

[The exhibition] traces the colorful history of military camouflage over the last century, from the simple concealment of soldiers and objects to the use of camouflage-inspired designs in a wide range of commercial and artistic products. It includes everything from hand-painted dummy heads, designed to draw sniper fire during the First World War, to vast designs for phantom armies and invasion fleets during the Second World War, to sophisticated computer-generated patterns used by today's militaries. This extensive exhibition shows how the art of military concealment and deception is a product of human imagination, artistic skill and scientific ingenuity, and how designs, applications and effectiveness have varied greatly over time. …more

Other events have been scheduled to supplement the exhibition. Later this week, for example, on Thursday, March 25, 2010, at 7:00 pm, Dr. Alison Matthews David, Assistant Professor in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University, will lecture on Dazzling Shoes and Deceptive Hats: Fashion and Camouflage during the First World War. A few weeks later, on Thursday, April 8, at 7:00 pm, I [Roy R. Behrens, Professor of Art and Distinguished Scholar at the University of Northern Iowa] will lecture on Seagoing Easter Eggs: Artists' Contributions to Ship Camouflage. Both presentations will be held in the museum's Barney Danson Theatre, and are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Barnyard Camouflage

The artists who were World War I camoufleurs didn't always know what they were doing. As one of them, Henry Berry, said later in a memoir titled Make the Kaiser Dance (Garden City NY: Doubleday, 1978), "None of us, including the captain, knew a goddamn thing about camouflage, but it got us out of all the drilling and what have you" (p. 206). Shown here are two examples of American camouflage in France: In the top photo, a small shed has been "camouflaged" by covering it with a spurious barnyard mural of sorts, including a very large chicken. The bottom photo shows an actual cow tied up to graze on what looks like the ground, but is actually the roof of the concealed quarters beneath it. Public domain news photos from The Art World (January 1918).

Women Camouflage Artists

Pictured above is a construction view of a World War I non-ship called the USS Recruit, built in Union Square in New York for use as a landlocked recruiting station. After completion, it was painted battleship gray, but later, at the suggestion of camouflage artist Everett L. Warner, it was repainted in brightly-colored dazzle camouflage. Recently, we found Warner's recommendation of this in an article he wrote titled "Marine Camouflage: Various Methods of Protective Coloration Used to Reduce Insurance Risks" in The Bush Magazine of Factory and Shipping Economy (January 15, 1918. pp. 12-14). He writes—

Its [the Recruit's] coat of Navy gray is well calculated to make it inconspicuous in these particular surroundings. But is this good strategy? Decidedly not. If we follow the proper practice of studying each vessel as a separate problem we immediately realize that the prime purpose of this vessel is to attract attention, and if camouflaged in the bright colors and strong contrast of the dazzle style it would be a nine days wonder in New York, and would be visited and discussed by countless thousands. In all seriousness I present this suggestion to the recruiting arm of the service as well worthy of their consideration.

Soon after (as documented in Isabel L. Smith, "Camouflage in the United States Navy" in Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine Vol LV No 8, August 1921), members of the Women's Reserve Camouflage Corps were given the task of camouflaging the ship. According to Smith—

This was a night's work for the women and was done at the request of the Navy to further recruiting. The camouflage design was worked out in the classrooms of the Corps. One day at sundown New Yorkers saw the ship a tame, neutral gray. The next morning it wore a wild, fantastic design of many colors.

Camouflage Isn't Camouflage

From Carol Burke, Camp All-American, Hanoi Jane, and the High-and-Tight: Gender, Folklore and Changing Military Culture. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004, p. 88—

Camouflage no longer camouflages. The point is not to blend into the landscape but to stand out as a guerrilla-in-waiting. For white supremacists, store-bought BDUs [battle dress uniforms] lend a spurious authenticity to ragtag renegade activities and permit them to see themselves as a vigilant militia organized in defense of fundamental American values.

Sarcasm as Camouflage

From Don Hawkins, Flambeau at Kregel Publications, 1999, p. 98—

Like tart cherries in a cherry pie, humor is what gives sarcasm its unique torch. Otherwise, it would simply be called anger. There's nothing wrong with anger, of course, but sarcasm provides our clients with the opportunity to become angry, even vindictive, without appearing that way. It's a lot like the carefully patterned camouflage jackets some of your clients wear when they go hunting or to war.

Gestalt Theory, Cubism and Camouflage

Above Cover of Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye by Harvard psychologist and art theorist Rudolf Arnheim (1904-2007). Having studied with Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Köhler at the University of Berlin, he was the last surviving student of the founders of Gestalt psychology.

*  *  *

Max Wertheimer and Pablo Picasso were contemporaries: The former, who co-founded Gestalt theory with Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler, was born in 1880; while the Spanish painter, who invented cubism with Georges Braque, was born in 1881. Both Gestalt theory and cubism emerged in the years that preceded World War I. Gestaltist Fritz Heider does not suggest that Wertheimer and Picasso were acquainted, or even that they knew about each other's discoveries, but only that "the perceptual phenomena with which they were dealing were the same" (Heider 1973, 71). However, it also seems likely, as he points out, that both realized that the factors that they were exploring were used in military camouflage. More

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Emotional Camouflage

From Paul Ekman, Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage. NY: W.W. Norton, 2009, p. 33—

The best way to conceal strong emotions is with a mask. Covering the face or part of it with one's hand or turning away from the person one is talking to usually can't be done without giving the lie away. The best mask is a false emotion. It not only misleads, but it is the best camouflage. It is terribly hard to keep the face impassive or the hands inactive when an emotion is felt strongly. Looking unemotional, cool, or neutral is the hardest appearance to maintain when emotions are felt. It is much easier to put on a pose, to stop or counter with another set of actions those actions that are expressions of the felt emotion.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Camouflaged Pigeons

In reading about this, we were reminded of Jerzy Kosinski's novel, The Painted Bird, but in this case the birds were not literally painted. On page 81 of the January 1941 issue of Popular Science (as shown above), it was reported that retired US Army Captain Ray R. Delhauer, an expert on carrier pigeons, had been breeding them to be disruptively patterned and thereby better camouflaged. These birds were used to transport secret messages, which were placed inside a small capsule, inserted into the bird's crop, and retrieved by a gentle massage when the bird had completed its mission.

Anonymous WWI Ship Camouflage

A participant in World War I was a British (presumably Canadian) soldier with the initials JM who was also an amateur artist. He served in France and Belgium with the Royal Horse and Field Artillery in 1917-18. Two volumes of his watercolor paintings and pen-and-ink drawings have survived (130 works total), and are among the holdings of the Special Collections Library at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, where they have been digitized and can now be viewed online. Of particular relevance to the history of camouflage is the cover of the first volume (shown here), which includes a full-color caricature of a dazzle-painted ship.

Cultural Camouflage

These are thought-provoking excerpts from Kristofer Hansson's essay "Camouflage" in Orvar Löfgren and Richard R. Wilk, eds., Off the Edge: Experiments in Cultural Analysis. Ethnologia Europaea, Vol 35. Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006—

In cultural camouflage one has to identify these sharp edges, the behavior, traits or ideas that are not accepted as normal, and mask or obscure them. The individual must learn to know when it is important to blur these edges—which can be either a conscious or unconscious process.

We all have bodily and psychological characteristics that we don't want people to know about. To protect ourselves we use different strategies to blur and hide those unwanted qualities under a surface of acceptable characteristics and qualities. This transformation is sometimes an everyday mundane action allowing us to blend into different social settings. Most of the time we imitate a typical group member and merge into a larger group. Examples include dressing like others, trying to talk about the same topics, and so forth. This is something we often do without any reflection…

Camouflage strategies are constantly at work in everyday life when you have an illness or handicap that you don't want others to know about. With the use of the military metaphor we can understand that an illness creates, in different ways, sharp edges, features that stand out. To use a camouflage strategy is to break up these sharp edges so that the boundaries between oneself and the surrounding background of normal or healthy bodies is blurred.

Thayer's Pheasant

Shown here are three stages in a demonstration of the protective coloration (or natural camouflage) of a pheasant, as devised by American artists  and naturalists Abbott H. Thayer and his son Gerald H. Thayer. These and other artifacts were exhibited by the Thayers as instructive lessons at various schools and museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago. Following World War I (c1919-1920), these were also reproduced in popular US magazines. The top image shows the disruptive surface pattern on a pheasant, as seen against a field of white. In the second image, the same bird is shown in the context of a presumably typical setting—and, of course, voila!, it disappears. The third is an image that we created, to show the pheasant's location in the more or less natural setting above. Like the Thayers' other camouflage demonstrations, these may not offer definitive proof of anything, but they are still quite interesting.

Ghost Army Exhibit and Screening

Fake inflatable tanks and stage production equipment have not been known as popular methods of defense within World War II history, but the University of Michigan will showcase an exhibit that shows these devices as a little-known-but-effective part of the US Armed Forces.

The University of Michigan's Hatcher Undergraduate Library will show a documentary at 7:00 pm March 17, 2010, on the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops [aka the Ghost Army], deployed in Normandy in June 1944. It will be shown along with an exhibit of textual materials and pictures of war experiences. More…

Camouflage as Futurism

The Italian-based artistic, literary and social movement called Futurism (founded c1909 by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti) was in part an equivalent to French Cubism. It is also commonly said that Vorticism (founded by P. Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound) was a British variant on Cubism and Futurism. Vorticism is often described as having been linked with World War I British ship camouflage because one of its prominent members, Edward Wadsworth, was a dock officer who supervised the application of dazzle patterns (although it is unlikely that he himself designed such schemes). After the war, he commemorated dazzle painting in a painting and series of woodcuts.

In a typically cryptic statement, Marinetti contended that the Vorticists had appropriated Futurist motifs, without attribution, for use in dazzle camouflage. Here is an excerpt from that text in Marinetti's "Aggressive Noisiness and Russolo's Noise Machines" in R.W. Flint, ed., Marinetti: Selected Writings. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1972, pp. 335-337—

In London where the English Futurist painters [C.R.W.] Nevinson Wyndham Lewis Wadsworth have distinguished themselves for their proposal to camouflage ships by using dynamic Futurist color patterns by that genius the Roman Futurist Giacomo Balla there took place before and after the concert other furious fistfights and encounters that didn't stop me at all but rather were inspiring as I dared explain even though I didn't know English and pronounced the few phrases I did know badly to the rich and well-educated London that mattered persuading them with gestures that they should respect Luigi Russolo's talent…

Shown above are (left) a plaque on the house of the founder of Futurism, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, in Milan, Italy (public domain image); and (right) an Italian Euro coin showing the Futurist sculpture Unique Forms in Continuity of Space by Umberto Boccioni (1913).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Henry Moore on Camouflage Work

From a letter by British sculptor Henry Moore to Arthur Sale, dated October 8, 1939, as published in Alan G. Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations. Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 2002, p. 133—

…when the time comes that I'm asked, or have got to do something in this war [World War II], I hope it will be something less destructive than taking part in the actual fighting and killing. There ought to be ways of being used even as a sculptor,—in making of splints etc, or jobs connected with plastic surgery,—though the most likely thing I suppose is camouflage work.

Fringed Camouflage

Shown here are two of the patent drawings for camouflaged clothing invented by Douglas N. Hamilton, and registered as US Patent Number 5,010,589, dated April 30, 1991. Intended for hunters or soldiers, it has two advantages that come from its use of removable fringe (see 13) that hangs below the sleeves. One advantage (for hunters) is that scents or lures could be applied to the fringe only, instead of applying them to the main garment. Different scents could be applied to different sets of fringes, and then easily interchanged. In addition, according to the patent's text, the fringe "break[s] up the outline of the human body of the user and thus improves the camouflage of the wearer."

This reminds us of a passage in Eliot Wigginton, Foxfire 5. Garden City NY: Anchor Books, 1979, p. 411—

When asked about their buckskins, Hawk said, "The story is that it [the leather fringe] helped water drain off in a downpour instead of soaking into the cloth, but I don't go along with that…But I believe that one thing that it did do, whether they realized it or not: it helped to break up the silhouette when they were in the woods. I mean, if you were dripping with fringes and things, you would blend in with the woods easier than if you were just a hard silhouette."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Architectural Undesign

From Lawrence Wright, Perspective in Perspective. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983, p. 280—

If architecture is not to give external expression to the main plan forms and the structural method, it verges on camouflage, a form of undesign in which many architects and perspectors have served their country, putting their normal principles into reverse; gamekeepers turned poachers.

A Blotch Among Blotches

From James Elkins, The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1996, pp. 82-83—

Sometimes I dress to fit in, so that I can blend with the crowd and not attract attention. When I do that I am imagining the world as a picture, and I want to find a place in the picture where I can disappear. As I walk down the sidewalk or enter the conference room, I want to be nothing more than a blotch among other blotches. But on many other occasions I have exactly the opposite effect in mind. I dress in my best clothes, and I make sure I look just right, because I want to make an impression: I need to stand out, I want to be noticed.

Airplane Camouflage

In a post-World War I article on "Aeronautical Camouflage" (Aerial Age Weekly, May 10, 1920, pp. 288-289ff), its author William R. Weigler (who was in charge of camouflage at McCook Field, now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton OH) contends that "The design of aircraft camouflage closely follows…[the] color schemes of the snake or fish. Both are round in form and in general have two distinct systems of coloration, one on the top, a mottled colored pattern and the other on the underside, a light tone of color, blending on the sides so as to eliminate all shadow effects." In one of the photographs accompanying the article (above left), there are four model airplanes, three of which are painted in monochrome khaki, black and clear varnish, while a fourth (to the left of the orange dot) has been disruptively painted with six colors, ranging "from light tan to dark blue green." In another experiment (above top right), the undersides of a model have been painted in a lozenge pattern which, viewed from a sufficient distance, merges into a continuous tone that simulates "a sky color." Below that is a more or less similar scheme against a sky background.

Above is another photograph from the same article. It shows six disruptively painted airplanes, each of which has been camouflaged with varying degrees of success. In particular, there is an effectively disrupted plane near the bottom left of the photograph, slightly left of center. Despite its camouflage, it can be easily located because of the target-like bull's-eye insignias on its wings.

Camouflaged Fund Raising

Disruptive ship camouflage (called dazzle camouflage) was apparently always popular with the American public. In 1918, as reported in an issue of Popular Science Monthly, dazzle-painted miniatures of a torpedo boat (right) and a submarine were featured at a Liberty Loan fund-raising event on the Charles River. According to the article, "The torpedo boat, towing the submarine, cruised back and forth in the basin, while large crowds from Boston and Cambridge lined the banks and cheered the oddly painted craft." Of the various ways of selling Liberty Bonds, it continues, "this was the most novel, inspiring and appealing."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wife of a Camouflage Artist

From Lilian Jackson Braun, The Cat Who Could Read Backwards. Jove 1986, p. 34—

"You're a fun dancer," she said. "It takes real coordination to fox-trot to a cha-cha. But we must do something about your art education. Would you like me to tutor you?"

"I don't know if I could afford you—on my salary," he said, and Sandy's laughter could be heard above the orchestra. "How about the little lady from the other newspaper? Is she an art expert?"

'Her husband was a camouflage artist in World War I," said Sandy. "I guess that makes her an expert."