2020  Art Contest Winning Entries

Theme: “Marines in Flight”

Annual art contest gives students a platform to express their artistic and creative skills as they learn about U.S. and aviation history and the contributions, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who designed, built, flew and maintained these iconic aircraft.  The time and effort students put into their entries was evident, making selection of  winners difficult.


High School Division

“1918 (De-Havilland DH-4)”

Artist: Katharina Hass, Grade 11, Francis Parker SchoolArtwork titled

1st Place-High School Division, 2020 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media: Watercolor and Pen

Judges’ Comments: Her unique subject matter, description and inspiration made this piece stand out.

Artistic Inspiration:

I wanted to make a piece featuring one of the oldest planes flown by the Marine Corps- the De Havilland DH-4. I was partly inspired by trench maps of the Western Front and tried to mirror the details of villages, woods, frontlines, and support trenches. In the background is the town of Ypres. I added Mark tanks, craters, and barbed wire to create a no man’s land. I was trying to show how it may have felt and looked like to fly over such destruction and to realize the scale of it all.


“Semper Fi”  Artwork titled

Artist: Isabel Pope, Grade 9, Westview High School 

2nd Place-High School Division, 2020 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media: Watercolor and Colored Pencil

Judges’ Comments: Her detailed knowledge of this aircraft, her composition and the execution of the painting made her artwork stand out.

Artistic Inspiration:

The plane that inspired me most was the KC-130J Hercules. The power and versatility of the mighty “Herc” is amazing, but that wasn’t the only factor that made me choose this aircraft. I have a personal connection to this plane. I am a Marine Corps brat and grew up playing in hangers where Marines worked tirelessly to keep the Hercs flying. My father has flown Hercs for over twenty years and has inspired me with his stories of this plane. The reference I used to draw was actually a photo of my father flying the KC-130J and refueling two F-35B Joint Strike Fighters. This three aircraft formation symbolizes the unity of Marine Aviation, where all efforts and technology converge to support the Marines on the ground. The Marine Corps motto, Semper Fi, or always faithful, is something I wanted to express in this piece. The meaning of this saying is truly inspirational as these aren’t just words but a way of life for Marines. It’s a selfless bond devoted to fellow Marines and to the service of this great country. I chose to stylize the mountains in a way that wasn’t location specific, but to symbolize the Marines ability to fight in “ev’ry clime and place.”


“The Spearhead”  Artwork titled

Artist: Matthew Mahlow, Grade 10, Westview High School 

3rd Place-High School Division, 2020 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media: Acrylic Paint

Judges’ Comments: His inspiration, his knowledge of the Korean War, and the dramatic positioning of he aircraft in his composition played a major role in the selection of his work.

Artistic Inspiration:

I painted the f9f Panther jet in Korea because I wanted to shed light on an important, mostly forgotten plane in an important, mostly forgotten war. The Panther, like
any marine who flew one, took and dealt serious punishment relentlessly which I showed by texturing the underside of the plane. This gritty approach always cleared the way for everyone else to do their jobs in the war.


Honorable Mention:

Artist: Daniella Bragg, “Flying High”, Grade 10,  Helix Charter High School 

Artist: Annie Lien, “Because of the Brave”,  Grade 10, Scripps Ranch High School

Artist: Bella Rose Schremmer, “Liberation of the Beach”,  Grade 9, University City High School


Middle School Division

“Freedom in Color”  Artwork titled

Artist: Makena’aloha Garcia, Grade 7, Correia Middle School

1st Place-Middle School Division, 2020 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media: Watercolor and Pen

Judges’ Comments: Her original subject and vibrant colors depicting the deck crew during flight operations on a carrier deck were significant in this selection.

Artistic Inspiration:

Almost all of the artwork I saw was of the aircraft these are only machines while the real heroes are the people. I wanted to highlight them in the best way possible- through vibrant colors.


“Women in Flight” Artwork titled

Artist: Anastasia Birmingham, Grade 8, Correia Middle School

2nd Place-Middle School Division, 2020 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media: Colored Pencil

Judges’ Comments: Very significant subject matter and a very creative approach in the drawing.

Artistic Inspiration:

My inspiration was based around the pursuits of Sarah Deal, the first women in Marine Corps Aviation. The topic of women breaking stereotypes is one I hold close to my heart, and in demonstrating that societal boundaries can and will be overcome. She and the brave female members of the Marines are painting a new normal for gender roles. Her story is one to be carried forward, and I hope that by depicting this courageous feat others can be inspired in the same way I was.


“Protecting America” Artwork titled

Artist: Jacob Beach, Grade 7, Correia Middle School

3rd Place-Middle School Division, 2020 Flying Leathernecks Student Art Contest

Media:  Pencil

Judges’ Comments: Accuracy in detail made this work stand out.

Artistic Inspiration:

I googled marine aviation and found a photograph. I liked this one because it was exciting and something I thought I could recreate.


Honorable Mention:

Artist: Lainey Gibbs, “Off to Battle”, Grade 7,  San Pasqual Union 

Artist: Natalie Morales, “ Flying out of the Sunset”, Grade 8,  Correia Middle School 

Artist: Cody White, “War Birds”, Grade 8,  Hillsdale Middle School

Artist: Jake Ranta, “Colored Pencils”, Grade 6,  Fletcher Hills Elementary 


Thank You to  Art Contest Donors and Judges

The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation and the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum gratefully acknowledge the financial support of its education program provided by  Major Glenn Ferguson (USMC-retired).

We were fortunate to have as judges three nationally recognized professional artists and illustrators: Gary Johnson, Lee Kromshroeder, and Herb Prokse. We gratefully acknowledge the time and expertise they contributed to make the program a success.

2020 Gallery Of Winners

*click image to see larger version