TWO ARTISTS * Robert W. Vanderhorst - Surrealist Painter * Nash the Slash (1948-2014) Musician, Composer



1991, 24”x 38”, Oil on Canvas

1991, 24”x 38”, Oil on Canvas

Acquired by the NATIONAL AVIATION MUSEUM in Ottawa, Canada


The legendary Arrow was designed and built at Malton, Ontario to an RCAF specification for a supersonic interceptor to seek and destroy any enemy threat to the northern reaches of North America. The Arrow had its first flight on March 25th, 1958.

At that time, it was internationally acknowledged the most powerful and supplicated fighter aircraft in the world. The performance of the Arrow, with full weaponry at high altitude, is only now being approached by recent designs in other countries, at enormous cost.

The first and earliest test flights were carried out by the famous Avro Canada test pilot Jan Zurakowski. It flew supersonically on the third test flight and by the seventh flight had flown at speeds up to 1,000 mph while climbing and still accelerating at 50,000ft. Other pilots to fly the Arrow were test pilots Spud Potocki and Peter Cope, Spud carrying out the most flights, at speeds approximating twice the speed of sound. The RCAF evaluation pilot Jack Woodman had flown the aircraft through 95% of his assessment flying prior to cancellation of the project on February 20th. 1959 and reported “the Arrow was performing as predicted and meeting all guarantees”.

The five aircraft flown in the test program were all Mk.1 aircraft with the interim P&W J 75 engines. Number 6 aircraft (Mk.2) was fitted with the production Orenda Iroquois engines, which had 30% more thrust and the MK.2, due to fly within days of the cancellation, would have had an even more startling performance. Approximately 70 hours of test flying was carried out in the course of the 66 flights of the five Arrows and climb speeds of up to 40,000 ft. per min. were recorded by Spud Potocki.

The Arrow was a two seat, twin-engine delta aircraft with an armament bay as large as the bomb bay on a B-29 bomber. Wingspan was 50 ft., length was 80 ft. and a gross weight, equipped for combat, was approximately 60,000 lbs.

The government of the day ordered everything to do with the Arrow destroyed after cancelling the project on the grounds that ‘no more manned aircraft will be required and missiles will be the future defense weapons’, but the front section of the fuselage of the sixth aircraft, containing the cockpit, is on display at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa.

J.C.Floyd - Former Vice President and Director of Engineering - Avro Aircraft


The primary objective was to create an image of the Arrow that was both dramatic and unusual as well as being technically correct.

The first stage was the building of a model and photographing the aircraft in various flight positions. Once the final pose was chosen, drawings were made and a preliminary background designed. The final draft was then transferred to canvas and the oil painting began.

Having arrived at this stage, it was now extremely important to obtain a professional critique on the drawing of the aircraft so any flaws or omissions could be corrected. To this end, Mr. James Floyd provided his guidance and assistance and I was able to make the necessary alternations.

The Arrow is performing an inverted loop and the unusual perspective was designed to give the viewer a heightened sense of the maneuver. The painting can also be viewed upside down, exaggerating the effect. Directly below and to the right of the nose cone you will find several floating segments of land and a small boat floating above the clouds (the contrail passes beneath the largest piece of land). This was done to depict a sense of disorientation - the same experience a pilot may have executing such a maneuver.

 Robert W. Vanderhorst


2009, 22” x 28”, Oil on Canvas

2009, 22” x 28”, Oil on Canvas

Acquired by the CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM in Ottawa, Canada


IN THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT by Robert Vanderhorst.

I was inspired to do this painting by a photograph. It was taken by one of my oldest friends, Mike Frastacky, two years before he was murdered by the Taliban in 2006 for funding and building a school for the children of the village of Nahrin in Northern Afghanistan. The photo was a haunting image a young Afghan girl standing before a burned out Russian tank.

In memory and homage to Michael, I wanted to create a painting that spoke to the misery, dynamics and history of war and mankind‘s unending desire for peace for the children of our future.

A young Afghan girl stands in a large room staring directly towards us. Her haunting gaze and sad expression give us an insight into the suffering she’s endured.

The space in which she stands is reminiscent of a room in the British Museum which houses the Parthenon Marbles. The ceiling is open to the elements and the friezes along each wall no longer depict glorious battles from Greek history but now are symbolic of the violence of all wars. The stone is alive and bleeding, a hellish, permanent reminder of the destruction and suffering that comes with violent conflict.

A sculpture of a dismembered tank stands alone in the room, the barrel slightly lowered in defeat but still ominously pointing as a possible threat. Two generals guised as polo players enter the room from opposite directions. Their game is about to begin. Power is the motivation and the damage and misery caused as a consequence of their battle is irrelevant. Victory is the only goal that matters. Two peasants with brooms in hand stand ready to clean up the debris left behind.

As a commentary on the transitive nature of nations, a large Easter Island statue stands in the middle of the room, balancing precariously on a thin pinnacle. Low stanchions placed to protect the relief sculptures become confusing escape ladders running along each side wall. One such ladder appears overtly out of place over a baseboard and then disappears into an atmospheric floor. The top of a nearby bench becomes a skyscape retreating into the floor and offering another possible escape portal.

The young girl’s expression is one of sadness. Her eyes are caught in shadow and at first glance, seem empty. Looking deeper into the darkness, the space comes alive. Stars appear, emblematic of her hope and desire for a new life. Her clothing is also a symbol of hope. The blouse is made of coloured glass, inspired by the magnificent stained glass windows of the Chartes Cathedral located just outside of Paris. The leaves in her brightly patterned jacket become 3 dimensional and begin to fly away like doves in a gentle breeze.

Michael Frastacky’s wish for the children of Nahrin in Northern Afghanistan was for peace, hope and freedom through education. His effort in building this school embodies what it means to be a Canadian and highlights Canada’s commitment to stability, peace and a positive future for all people.

His school remains as a light in the darkness for almost 1000 boys and girls from 10 nearby villages.


BLUE ANGELS - View 4.jpg



THE BLUE ANGELS 50th. Anniversary Painting by Robert Vanderhorst.

In 1995, with the assistance of Admiral Skip Furlong, former Vice President of the United States Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and Capt. Bob Rasmussen, former Director of the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida, Robert Vanderhorst created a 4’x 6’ oil painting on canvas celebrating the 50th. Anniversary of the Blue Angels. The painting depicts all eight of the aircraft used by the Blues since their inception in 1946.
Cdr. Butch Voris originated the Blue Angels and flew the first F6F Hellcat for the team in 1946. He also named the new Navy flight demonstration team after a night club in New York City called “The Blue Angel”.

Before being acquired by the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, the Blue Angel painting was also on display at the United States National Museum of Naval Aviation at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida and hung in the Atrium of the museum for 2 1/2 years.

Below are listed the first flight leaders for each aircraft used by the Blues.
F6F “Hellcat” - Cdr. Butch Voris, Team Leader 1946
F8F “Bearcat” - Lcdr. Dusty Rhodes, Team Leader 1947-50
F9F-5 “Panther” - Lcdr. Ray Hawkins, Team Leader 1952-53
F9F-8 “Cougar” - Cdr. Zeke Cormier, Team Leader 1954-56
F11 “Tiger” - Cdr. Ed Holley, Team Leader 1957-58
F4 “Phantom”- Cdr. Bill Wheat, Team Leader 1967-69
A4 “Skyhawk” - Cdr. Ken Wallace, Team Leader 1974
F18 “Hornet” - Capt. Gil Rud, Team Leader 1986-88