Tuesday, 9 December 2008

P-47 progress

Slow work as lots going on at the moment, plus with winter here daylight hours and decent light to paint by is scarce.

I've managed to get the sky pretty much completed, other than a few details that I will add once things are dry.





Now I've got the sky finished I can start laying in the grass areas, as the sky has set the mood and will control the ground colours.



Sunday, 30 November 2008

P-47 Colour on Canvas

Some good progress over the last couple of weeks, with the complete line drawing transferred to the canvas. All the main elements have been underpainted for value in acrylic (burnt umber and ultramarine blue), plus at long last the lid has come off the oils.



Here is a photo I took at Duxford in September which I'm using as reference for the background landscape elements.



I'm using fine grain cotton canvas, which is temporarily mounted on a sheet of mdf. This provides a rigid support on which to draw and paint. Once complete the canvas will be removed from the mdf and mounted on stretcher bars in the normal way. The canvas area being painted is 42" x 14".

Saturday, 15 November 2008

P-47 Work at last on the actual canvas.

Progress at last. Lots of behind the scenes work has finally paid off.

I've a 42"x 14" fine grain canvas mounted (temporarily) on a sheet of mdf.

I've given this a burnt sienna wash in acrylic, and started to transfer the full size drawing elements. Here's the T2 Hangar and tech area, which I've underpainted with a mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue (again in acrylic).



This element measures approx 19" across, and is the left side of the canvas as viewed.

Sorry about the dodgy photo, but its a hand held snap under artificial light.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

P-47 colour study

Played around with a little colour on this study to get a feel for a good grass colour, and to test the warm/cool colour contrast.



It was also the chance to practice the prop' arc which is always a challenge.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

P-47 background work

A pencil sketch of the tech area and T2 hangar that sits in the background given my selected viewpoint. These are the dominant objects on the Boxted skyline and so it's important to get them right. The sketch is some 13 inches across at 1:1 scale, and is a third of the full canvas width.




The parked P-47 needs some more work (looks more like a Wildcat at present), but otherwise this is loose in detail given it is a background only and some 4000 feet from the viewpoint.

This sketch will serve as the value study for this element of the painting.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Into the Storm Remarques

After a few quick practice sketches I sat down this weekend and started adding remarques to the prints already ordered.











These little drawings measures about 11cm across.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Into the Storm - Prints now available

The first print run has arrived and boy do they look good. Colour and values are spot on which is a testimony to the skills of the printer (and aviation artist in his own right) Tom Smith



This is a limited edition of 165 giclee prints, given the Intruder is from VA-165.
Print size is 30.5 X 24 inches. The border is 2 inches (2.5” at the bottom), so the the actual image size is 20 X 26 inches.
Price is $115, or $165 for a remarqued version. P&P included, payment via paypal.
Please drop me an email if interested, or have any questions.

I've several remarque prints already ordered, and I'll upload images of the remarques once they are complete.

The original painting is also availabe, 36 x 28 inches, oil on canvas. If interested please drop me a line.

Monday, 15 September 2008

P-47 Colour Study - nearly complete

Last few details to be added, and maybe a background




Otherwise I'm pleased with this. One aircraft down, a few more to go.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

P-47 Colour Study - good progress made

The colour study is pretty much blocked in with values now being adjusted and detail
added.



This study has already helped hightlight some areas I need to work on, so that when the final cavas is worked on it should be plain sailing. (That's the plan anyway)

Sunday, 7 September 2008

P-47 Colour Study - early stages

Planning and drawing is still underway for the P-47 takeoff, but I could not go any longer without actually putting some paint on canvas. Rather than rush the main compostion and regret it later I decided that a colour study of the main subject aircraft was the thing to do. The study would allow me to slap some paint around, but it will also serve me well when painting the same aircraft on the main canvas.

It took 10 minutes or so the transfer the drawing to a sheet of unmounted canvas (10"x12"), which I then covered with a thin wash of acrylic burnt sienna. This serves the dual purpose of sealing in the pencil drawing, and also taking away the brightness of the white canvas.

A couple of hours later.



Just so you can understand what you are seeing here, this P-47 was painted in a matt black finish (it's suggested with a purple tinge). Given this is only a study its aim is to help me establish, values and colours. I choose to mix a black from the three primary colours, and the whole thing has been painted only with these primaries (Ultramarine Blue, Madder and Cadmium Light Yellow) together with white.

While there remains a lot more to do, I'm pleased with the progress. Once dry I will glaze the black areas in order to unify the colours, before adding the highlights.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Into the Storm Print - sneak preview

Well the giclee print of "Into the Storm" is just about ready, with the initial batch with the printer.

Here's a sneak preview



This will be offered as a Limited editon of 165 prints, with an option for a remarque to be added. I'll post a larger image once I've recieved the prints from my printer. Feel free to drop me an email if you are interested.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Value Study


I'm still playing around with the final composition, as it is possible to have as many as eight further Thunderbolts in the background behind the main pair. While I think it will be exciting to include so many aircraft I don't want the overall composition to be weakened, or over crowded.

In the meantime as a little light relief, and as an excuse to actually do some art I scribbled a quick value study down of one of the main pair.



This study is on tracing paper, which allowed me to overlay it over the already completed line drawing. This is the first time I have used this method, and it is obvious why it is recommended. However the quality of the tracing paper I had to hand is far lower than it needs to be. However as quick exercise it served it's purpose.

Monday, 18 August 2008

From the Horses Mouth

With all my paintings I like to speak with somebody who has flown the aircraft being depicted to ensure that things are as accurate as possible. For the P-47 piece I am lucky enough to be in contact with Russ Kyler. Russ flew with the 56th Fighter Group, from August 1944 through to the end of the war, with 10 aircraft kills to his credit. (Russ's P-47M is featured in the decal options for the excellent Tamiya 1/48th model kit).

In response to my questions Russ come back with the following information.


For a mission, each squadron lined up on the runway, four across & either three deep or four deep, depending on whether we were launching a 12 ship or 16 ship squadron. Flight leader & his wingman took off on the left side of the runway & #3 & #4 used the right side of the runway. #1 & #2 would get airborne ASAP while #3 & #4 would stay on the runway until they were well past the point of "lift-off" of #1 & #2, thus avoiding any prop-wash. This type of take-off was continued until all squadron a/c were airborne. We would hold our position until the flight taking off were passing behind the nose of our a/c & then we would start our roll. We could get 12 or 16 a/c airborne in about two minutes. The second squadron lined up on a different runway & as soon as the last element cleared the intersection, they would begin their take-off. The third squadron was lining up on the first runway & as soon as #2 squadron
cleared the intersection, they would begin their take-offs. The total time for all three squadrons to get airborne was usually 6 to 8 minutes. I've seen as many as eight a/c rolling on the runway at the same time.

Pairs were rolling at (approx) 8 to 10 second intervals and I'd guess at about 200 feet apart on the runway.

With 108 gal tanks the lead a/c would use max power & get airborne ASAP using the same technique as above.

On take-off (04/22) 2800 RPM & 72 in Hg about 2/3 rds of the runway & 2nd elements used about 3/4 ths of the total runway.
(the Easterly runway was a different story as we needed every foot of runway we could get).

The normal position for the wingman on take-off, was to keep his wing tip even with the star on the fuselage of the lead a/c and just far enough out to clear the wingtips if an over-run occurred as per an aborted take-off. Normally, the flight leader took the left side of the runway with #2 on his right wing; #3 (Element leader) took the right side of the runway just about opposite of #2 & #4 positioned himself on the left wing of #3. Clearance was never over a couple of feet & I've had my wing man "overlap" as much as two feet of wing & hold it for the take-off & forming up with the rest of the squadron. (That's a tight formation)



This information was great news from my perspective as it allowed a return to the original concept, with the aircraft a lot closer together, which increases the drama, and to my mind improves the composition.

It did mean things needed to be reworked a little however.



The revised composition, with line drawings well underway.



A closer look at the nearly completed line drawing of the main aircraft subject.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

First P-47 line drawing

As I mentioned in the previous post I've started work on the line drawings of the aircraft. I use a perspective software developed by Joe Demarco, a talented aviation artist in his own right, and a really nice guy. Joe's Artists' Perspective Modeler (APM) can be used to create a basic line drawing based on plotting X, Y, and Z co-ordinates for as many reference points as required to create the object.

Once the co-ordinates are all plotted the data can be manipulated so the object can be viewed from any distance, and at any attitude but with the perspective remaining correct regardless of the view distance and attitude. Once the desired view is decided upon, the program will provide the necessary X and Y co-ordinates so the object can be plotted and drawn (at any scale required).




Here is the line drawing from the review function within APM, which while it is identifiable as a P-47 is also a long way from the finished drawing required.


This is the partially completed pencil drawing based on the plot data. As you can see this is a much more refined outline, and will be the basis for the final highly detailed line drawing. The lines of the aircraft are already evident here, with the foreshortening of the fuselage very easily dealt with by the software.

APM allows an accurate outline of an aircraft to be created from a set of 3 view plans in perfect perspective, which is a much better alternative than just copying a photograph. It also means that truly unique compositions can be created.

The next stage is to complete this drawing and the use it as the basis for either a value study in pencil, or a colour study in oil. This aircraft is the more distant of the two and so the secondary point of interest, and as such must allow for the main aircraft to hold the strongest values and colours.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

P-47 prep, progress being made

Slow work, mainly due to the day job, and the kids being on summer holiday, but progress on the P-47 painting is being made. I'm still refining the idea at this stage.



Here is a more refined version of the thumbnail, which I've created using a perspective software program.



And here a very basic version done in photoshop using a model placed at the correct distances and view angles to match the previous thumbnail. Given I can't get to see the real thing flying just as I want them to, the use of models is a big help in understanding how light plays over the surfaces and shapes.

I'm not yet 100% happy with the composition, but have moved onto creating the line drawing of the first aircraft. At this stage things start to come alive as the detail of the aircraft comes into play. Hopefully this stage will confirm the composition is working as I want it to.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Some P-47D reference

I was lucky enough to get up to the Paul Allen collection at the Flying Heritage Collection when in Seattle last month with the ASAA 2008 Forum. As I was already planning the P-47 painting it was nice to get some shots of the real thing.





Wednesday, 16 July 2008

P-47 prep work

The next major project is to be of two P-47 Thunderbolts taking off, with their undercarriage in the course of retracting, and each aircraft laden down with two drop tanks to allow for the long range mission that lays ahead.

The idea was born out of the desire to paint the P-47, and incorporates the interesting shapes created by the fuel tanks and undercarriage. I feel that panoramic canvases work well for aircraft paintings and so have used that idea here as well.

Here is the first thumbnail sketch showing the concept, it is no more than a pencil scribble in a note book.


Work is underway to take the concept and create a more formal layout of the planes, the distance between them, their height above the runway, and crucially the position of the sun, and so the light source.




Whilst the sketchbook was to hand I played with a quick pencil work (copying a drawing by Robert Taylor, just to get a feel for his style).

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Into the Storm

As shown in my previous post my last painting was of an US Navy A6A Intruder over Vietnam, entitled "Into the Storm"

I've included here the history that goes with this specific plane and the sad fate the befell Fred Holmes. The events of December 1971 provided the inspiration for this painting, reflecting both the "All Weather" capability of the aircraft, but also the bravery of the pilot and B/N as they prepare to fly into enemy AAA fire and missile defences over the target.


Proud Deep Alpha, a five day campaign 26-30 Dec1971, saw the greatest level of strikes since Rolling Thunder had been called to a halt on 31 October 1968. Targets for the five days were suspected munitions sites to the North of the DMZ.These strikes coincided with a period of serve bad weather, which saw solid cloud cover over the target areas from 500ft up to 10000 ft. On the last day of Proud Deep Alpha, December 30, 1971, an A6 from VA-165 flown by Lt Cdr Fred Holmes, with Lt C W Burton as B/N lead two A-7 Corsairs, and two F4 Phantoms from the USS Constellation on a radar guided bomb run. Their aircraft was observed to take a direct hit from a surface to air missile.

Lieutenant Burton was wounded, blown clear of the aircraft and his parachute deployed successfully. Another aircraft on the scene reported seeing two good chutes
deploy, but this report was later viewed as not confirmed. A search and rescue aircraft then reported both pilots in sight and in the water off Hon Nieu Island. Lieutenant Burton was rescued by U.S. forces. SAR forces located a pilot's ejection seat and life raft possibly belonging to Lieutenant Commander Holmes but were unable to locate either him or his chute in an area with a large number of North Vietnamese sampans.A Radio Hanoi broadcast referenced this incident,
one of several U.S. aircraft losses on the same date in the southern part of North Vietnam. While some pilots were reported captured alive,Lieutenant Commander Holmes' name was not identified among those captured. One returning POW recognized Lieutenant Commander Holmes' name but no returning POWs ever reported him alive in the northern Vietnamese prison system.

In April 1975 Lieutenant Commander Holmes case was submitted for a casualty review at the request of his next of kin. He was declared dead/body not recovered.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Welcome to my first posting

To date I've run a blog within my website, but the time has now come to break out of the comfort zone, and widen my horizons.

This blog will be used to show the progress of current projects, from inception through to completion - well that's the plan, and as the military say "no plan survives contact with the enemy"

My last major painting was completed in early April this year, of an A6A Intruder flying in bad weather over Vietnam in December 1971



The painting is oil on canvas, 36" x 28".
The original is available for purchase, and I'm currently in the process of offering a limited edition giclee print. Details to follow once the print is colour proofed.