The Art Of Realism

Airplane paintings and motorcycle art…

While known most recently – at least over the last decade or so – for my realistic figurative paintings, I cross paths with folks on occasion who aren’t aware of my previous artworks… most notably my realistic paintings of aircraft and motorcycles. For years, I enjoyed creating iconic imagery of passions outside of the painted figure, including commissions of enthusiast’s personal pleasures, some of which I’d like to share with you here.

Departure – 36″ x 60″, acrylic on canvas © A.D. Cook 2004 – Private Collection, Portland, OR

“Departure” was a commissioned 3 ft. x 5 ft. painting on specially prepared canvas. The plane owner wanted something special for his man cave/hanger, and an original painting was the perfect fit. Departure was a real pleasure for me to create. We started with a photo shoot at Portland Hillsboro Airport (Hillsboro, Oregon) of his parked plane with engines running. Once I had what I needed from the shoot, I began creating Departure in such a way as to represent the Cessna 414 Chancellor aircraft as though it were in flight. I enjoyed painting the majestic sky and powerful clouds in this painting, and of course, this freshly restored twin-engine aircraft was a beautiful model.

A.D. with “Departure” 2004

Night Train – 48″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas © A.D. Cook 2004 – Private Collection, Portland, OR

In 2004, Ameristar Casinos commissioned the above painting, titled “Night Train,” to reproduce and use as a promotional poster for their casinos. Like many of my paintings, my Harley-Davidson FXSTB Night Train is a large artwork measuring 4 ft. x 4 ft. The original is now owned by Iwata-Medea, Portland, Oregon.

Indian Summer – 48″ x 36″, acrylic on canvas © A.D. Cook 2000 – Private Collection, Hilton Head Island, SC

It started in October on a beautiful Indian summer day. In Oregon, those kinds of days are rare, especially in autumn. So, I called my buddies at Indian Motorcycle of Portland and asked them if they had a bike I could borrow for the afternoon. They were kind enough to offer me anything on the floor, and a hot red Indian Chief caught my eye. I wanted to take one of those out for a spin for quite a while, and the day and the opportunity were perfect. After loading the camera and equipment in the saddlebags, the Chief and I made our way to a cool Portland park with a pristine lake. So after shooting a couple of good rolls of film, I had reference material for my next painting – the fifth in my motorcycle series.

Airbrush Action Magazine, April 2001

“Indian Summer” is probably the most recognized painting from my motorcycle series, having appeared on the cover of Airbrush Action magazine in April 2001 for my article “A Study in Chrome and Reflected Surfaces”, which can be read on this site (click here).

You imagine. Iwata performs. You create.
Airbrush endorsement ad for Iwata-Medea featuring “Passing Time” and “Indian Summer”
That’s me, sitting atop an Indian Spirit motorcycle in 2001.

Passing Time – 36″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas © A.D. Cook 2000 [ available ]

A beautiful custom-built American V-twin motorcycle. There is nothing like it. I enjoyed seeing this one while sharing the pleasures of a cold beer with a few dozen friends. It was a weekly ritual… it was all part of our weekly “bike night” at the big red barn at The Corner Saloon, and we were passing the time.

“Passing Time” was created for “The Ultimate Airbrush Handbook” in November 2000. Look for my article titled “A Study in Chrome and Reflected Surfaces by A.D. Cook.”

Easyriders, April 2001

Art Imitating Art. A.D. Cook paints pictures of Harleys and man does he ever. “Passing Time” is his latest piece, and it’s a fine one. No question about it, either, the guy knows how to lay down an airbrush acrylic image on canvas. “Course, he has been doing this for over 20 years, so the flow should be dialed in by now. A.D. Cook’s work can be seen at, if you wanna adorn your walls thusly. — Easyriders, April/2001

Passing Time is the last available painting from my motorcycle series. Click here to add this classic original to your collection.

Duet – 36″ x 60″, acrylic on canvas © A.D. Cook 1999 – Private Collection, Lake Oswego, OR

“Duet” was a commissioned painting for an engaged couple in Portland, Oregon. She wanted to present him with a unique, truly one-of-a-kind engagement gift. It was a great idea. So, when he was out of town, I photographed their bikes at a local park and returned them to their garage. Then, I went to the studio to paint my special creation for them. Later, she presented him with the painting. The tags on the “BDBOYS” license plate represent the month and year of their marriage (11/99).

Autumn Riders – 48″ x 60″, acrylic on canvas © A.D. Cook 1997 – Private Collection, Tacoma, WA

My second painting in the motorcycle series was “Autumn Riders,” a 4 ft. x 5 ft. Harley-Davidson Fat Boy with another Harley Softail reflected in the gas tank.

Art Hog airbrush ad for Iwata-Medea featuring “Autumn Riders”

“Autumn Riders” was featured on the back cover of Airbrush Action magazine numerous times as an endorsement ad for Iwata-Medea Com-Art Colours. That’s me sitting on my Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic.

For Show – 48″ x 44″, acrylic on canvas © A.D. Cook 1997 – Private Collection, Tacoma, WA

“For Show”… the painting that started it all – at least in reference to my motorcycle series. This painting was featured on the cover of Quick Throttle Magazine, Northwest Edition June 2005, and California Edition 2006 [ click here for article ]. I was featured in a nice Rider Profile write-up by Janga. “Passing Time” (above) was also featured in the article.

Quick Throttle Magazine 2005

Painting the illusion of shiny reflected surfaces is a specialty of mine, especially when it’s super-sized. As it goes, I tend to paint almost everything larger than life.

I still enjoy creating large-scale original art. If you have a personal treasure, whether it be a motorcycle, airplane, or exotic car – whatever your tastes, consider commissioning me to create a timeless classic for your home or office.

Download the Art of Realism – Power of Passion PDF 2.0 MB

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