top of page

Art Commemorates RCAF 100

By Martin Zeilig


A new large oil painting, some might call it a mural, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force now hangs proudly on the upper wall near the entrance of the Combined Dining Hall, above the All Ranks Wobbly Prop Pub in Building 61.

The unveiling of this colourful oil on canvas took place on April 5 with some fifty military personnel and civilian employees in attendance.

The mural, painted by professional artist Wesley Lowe, a resident of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, features a number of the aircraft used from 1924 to the present time, as well as portraits of serving personnel, both past and present, along with various RCAF insignias.

“This is outstanding,” Colonel Aaron Spott, 17 Wing Commander, said at the informal unveiling ceremony.

“I love the way it incorporates our past elements of 402 and 435 Squadrons, along with a ton of airframes from bases across the country. We’re in the final stages of amalgamating our messes and starting new traditions at the Wing.”

He called the mural a great representation of the Wing, the RCAF and the Canadian Armed Forces.

He then presented Mr. Lowe with a special military coin.

During an interview conducted at the Winnipeg International Airport prior to his return home, Mr. Lowe said this was the first mural he’s done of that size.

“I did a mural for CFB Comox a couple of years ago, but it was less than half the size,” he offered, noting that he painted it for the Search and Rescue Technicians there.

Mr. Lowe noted that he first saw the advertisement for the commission on the website of the Canadian Aviation Artists Society.

“It was also discussed on their Zoom meetings,” he said.

“So, I thought I’m going to submit for this because it sounds interesting. I had to fill out the paper work, which is necessary—all the details, costs, references and my website.”

Based on all that information, he was the artist of choice.

“They told me what they wanted on the mural,” he explained.

“It started out with preliminary sketches. The team would look over my preliminary sketches and make comments, changes, remove something, add something. That’s how the painting developed into something to represent the centenary of the RCAF.”

17 Wing Winnipeg unveils a painting commissioned by Mr.Wesley Lowe to mark the Royal Canadian Air Forces 100th Anniversary at 17 Wing Winnipeg, on April 5th, 2024. Photo by: MCpl Darryl Hepner, 17 Wing Public Affairs, Winnipeg, MB.

Many of the people in the painting represent real people in the RCAF, Mr. Lowe said.

 “I took some references that were available to me,” he observed.

“I changed the faces on some of them. I was supplied with information on most of it, and I also did some research, myself, about the airplanes and comments were made about the markings for the aircraft and squadrons.”

He termed the entire process from start to finish a learning experience.

“I came to this with not a lot of knowledge of things (in the RCAF),” he acknowledged.

“I was totally onboard with going through the changes. You really have to understand what’s going on. Being outside of it, as I was, you have to rely on the professionals there to guide you. If I don’t meet the needs of my clients, then I’ve failed. I want to get it right.

“Everyone seems happy with it, and I’m happy too. I had positive remarks from people. For me, it was a bonus to do this. It was a highlight of my career, as I’m retired.”

He also added that to be a guest at 17 Wing was a “stellar” experience.

“They showed me around far more than ever expected.  They made me feel welcome. I had never eaten in dining hall on base before, and the food is top notch all the way.”

In a follow up telephone conversation, Mr. Lowe said the coin presented to him by Col Spott will occupy a special place in his art studio.

“I’m honoured to have been presented with it,” he said.

“I’ll take it with me wherever I go now. It’s very special.”

For further information on Wesley Lowe’s art see: Wesley Lowe - About the Artist ( 

To purchase your collectible, click here.

85 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page