Without realizing it, in the last 18 months I've been accumulating a collection of mass-market, slightly cheesy, second-half of the twentieth-century illustration and book cover art. (If anyone can think of a better word for that genre, please let me know.)
If I'm going to collect art for mass-market books, you don't get much more mass-market than Reader's Digest Condensed Books.
This piece a I got few weeks ago is by Paul Grant. From looking at some other things of his for sale, I think I paid a very fair (if not cheap) price for this thing. Grant currently seems to be active in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, since I grew up in Michigan, it is nice to have that connection with the artist.
This watercolor is an illustration for Ernest K. Gann's book The Aviator. The painting was published in an edition of Best Sellers from Reader's Digest Condensed Books from 1981. That is the same volume the above left scan is from. The Aviator was previously published in Reader's Digest Condensed Books Vol. 133, 1981. I'm not sure if that volume had the illustrations or not. This book was made into a movie starring Christopher Reeve and Rosanna Arquette in 1985. Gann is noted for his novels about flying, he also authored The High and the Mighty, which was adapted as a movie starring John Wayne in 1954.
So, this painting is like 3 or 4 degrees from John Wayne. Or something like that. Take a look at a scan of the original below: