Artist reaches for the sky

ARTIST Tony Sargeant is heading for America with one of his biggest paintings.

The Felpham resident has brought to life the world’s last flying Fairey Gannet T5 plane.

He will soon fly to the USA to present it to its owner, plane-loving entrepreneur Shannan Hendricks.

The acrylic on canvas work measures 79ins by 40ins unframed and took Tony three months of his spare time to create.

It shows the plane, numbered XT752, flying over its last RAF base of Lossiemouth airfield in Scotland.

And prints of the giant painting will be used to raise money to keep the plane, built in the Fifties, in the air in a first for his works.

Tony said: “I’m pleased with the painting because it looks like the plane is coming out of the picture.

“It’s definitely got a 3D effect and is a pleasant picture to look at.

“I really enjoyed painting it.”

The painting of the plane nicknamed Janet the Gannet was commissioned by Shannan when she met Tony at a Shoreham Air Showone year where he was selling his paintings.

She commissioned him to capture the Gannet in action to co-incide with her work to restore the plane.

“I painstakingly researched the subject and took advice and encouragement from experts, including former Gannet pilots, because accuracy is the key.”

Tony will soon be flying to New Richmond in Wisconsin to present the painting to Shannan and the team which has worked so diligently to restore her.

Also present will the town’s mayor and other dignitaries.But Tony’s involvement doesn’t stop there.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be part of the crew on a flight to the privately-owned airfield of an American celebrity whose identity is a closely guarded secret.”

Tony, who is in his 60s and lives on the Summerley Estate, has been painting for about 24 years.

His painting of the Gannet is on show at his business, Sargeant Bedrooms and Kitchens on the Arun Business Park, Shripney Road, until it goes to the USA.