Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last post of 2009

Well the last 3/4 months have been pretty hectic and as such the blog has suffered. I've a good feeling about 2010 and so lets hope lots of good art is created.

"Duxford Spitfire" took a couple of weeks and was a Christmas present for my Dad.

Oil on board, 30" x12"

The USMC F-4 Phantom is back on the easel after being rested for a while, so I hope fresh updates will follow shortly.

Happy 2010 all

Thursday, 10 September 2009

F-4J Phantom Work in Progress

After a lengthy period of research and prep work I've finally got around to working with paint again.

This piece will show Shamrock 201 a F-4J Phantom from VMFA-333 gaining the only MiG kill by an USMC aircraft during the Vietnam War. The actual event took place on the 11th September 1972, and I'll post a little bit of the history in due course.



The line drawing transfered to the canvas and sealed with an acylic underpainting



The background blocked in, but with subtle field detail included. The Phantom was flying at about 1000 feet above ground level at this time so a level of detail will need to be shown.

The painting is oil on canvas, 36" x 24" and is available for purchase when complete, so drop me a line if you are interested

Monday, 7 September 2009

Had a great day at Duxford yesterday.

Spent yesterday watching the airshow and walking the flightline. What could be better.









Wednesday, 5 August 2009

An Evening with the Boxted Airfield Historical Group

Following on from my painting "The Roar of Thunder" the Boxted Airfield Historical Group invited me along to an evening talk at which Russ Kyler was to be the guest of honour. The event was held in Boxted village hall, a short distance from the site of the airfield and was sold out.



The Group are busy raising funds to open a visitor centre and museum at Boxted dedicated to the airfield and 56th FG. They hope this will be complete and open to the public next year. This was Russ's first visit to the UK since the War's end,and it was great to meet with him following our lengthy email exchanges and to hear a few more of his experiances.


Leslie French a RAF P-47 pilot who flew in Burma also spoke and provided an interesting contrast. Russ talked about strafing Luftwaffe airfields and the dangers of flak, while Leslie talked about endless jungle into which a plane and pilot could just disappear. Both agreed however that the P-47 was a plane they loved and that got them home on occasions a lesser plane might not have done so. They also both spoke of the awesome fire power from the eight .50 cal machine guns, particularly at their convergence range.

They each talked for about half an hour, and both provided inspiration for several more paintings.



Here I share the platform (from left to right) with Leslie, Russ (standing) and Dave Gianakos. Dave is a Captain with NorthWest Airlines flying 747's but more importantly he presented to Russ who signed and then in turn presented it to the Boxted Airfield Historical Group a stunning 1/24 model of Russ's aicraft HV*J. (It was also Dave's birthday which explains why there is a birthday cake with 4 candles and an airliner on the table.)

Following the talks a small auction was held at which print 1/56 of Roar of Thunder was auctioned with the proceeds going towards the museum fund. I'm pleased to say it went for a good price. In addition a further 25 small exclusive prints I provided of Russ's aircraft all sold out, with myself, Russ and Leslie signing these. Proceeds again going to the museum fund.

Unfortunatly I did not get the time I would have liked to talk with Russ as he was in demand from virtually everybody in the hall, and busy signing books, prints and all manner of stuff.

It was a great evening and I was impressed at the drive and ambition shown by the Boxted Airfield Historical Group. I'd like to take this opportunity of thanking Richard, Ron, Jeremy and the others from the group for all their hardwork. I have no doubt the visitor centre and museum will be first class when it opens next year, and I'll be sure to visit as soon as I can.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

2009 ASAA Forum - Part Six

Looking Back.

Having attended three ASAA forums, I can say that this year's was the best yet. As always the welcome was warm and friendly, and it was great to catch up with friends, albeit I only get to see most of them at these annual events.

The academic sessions tipped the balance, and it was both a pleasure and informative to hear the various speakers share their knowledge. Aside from these formal sessions it was also hugely enjoyable to chat over a beer for several hours each evening about aviation and art. During these sessions the air was a buzz with hints, tips, and all kinds of useful information.

I'd like to thanks all those that worked to make the forum the success it was, in particularly Nan and Mike O'Neal, Gerry Asher for making sure that the beer never run out, and all the other members of the board.

Thanks also to all the staff of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum for all their generosity, help, and hardwork at the museum.



Looking Forward.

Next years forum is hoped to be in San Antonio to coincide with the 100th anniversary of US Army/US Air Force flight which began on March 2, 1910 when Lt. Benjamin Foulois piloted a Wright Brothers airplane from Ft. Sam Houston. I hope to be there.

The 2011 Forum is to be at Pensacola to coincide with the celebrations of 100 years of US Naval Aviation. Given my love for Naval Aviation this will be a must attend event for me.

I hope this series of articles has whetted a few appetites and that those of you with half a mind to join ASAA will now do so.


As always the flight home was another opportunity to take yet more photos of clouds and skyscapes - you can never have enough.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

2009 ASAA Forum - Part Five

Academics and Presentations.

This year the schedule of events included several presentations plus a couple of very worthwhile academic sessions.

The presentations covered a diverse range of subjects.

Captain Rich Dann spoke about the upcoming celebrations of 100 years of US Naval Aviation in 2011. Rich is an ASAA member and artist, but is also heavily involved with the US Navy's preparation for the events being planned for 2011.

A video was put together at short notice by Bryan Moon of MIA Hunters about the efforts he makes to track down WWII aircrew missing in action in the Papua New Guinea region. Bryan had planned to attend and give the presentation in person, however events prevented him from doing so which was a shame given the good work he does in this much neglected field.I'm sure many in the audience would have liked to spend time speaking with him on this subject.

Keith Ferris held a Q & A session on business practices, with the proposed Orphan Art Bill dominating this session given the concerns nearly all artists have about its implications.

Merana Cadorette, who is a Savannah based artist give a slide presentation on her water colour works contained in her book the Gates of Savannah.

Hank Caruso held a short presentation illustrated in his own unique style covering the basics of flight and how aircraft at rest differ from when they are in flight.

A Figure drawing academic was hosted by Gil Cohen. Gil chose to restrict the halfday session to gesture drawing.

The idea was to quickly sketch the volunteers at work on the B-17 restoration in the Combat Gallery. Given these "models" did not stop working the trick was to capture their basic shapes and proportions with just a few pencil lines before they moved and changed their pose. I've never drawn any figures from life before if truth be told so this was very interesting session.

I was surprised at how easy it is to catch the gesture when you don't have the time to worry about the detail. I plan to carry on this type of exercise at home as it strikes me as very good way to improve my drawing skills. I firmly believe if I can draw the human form well, I can pretty much draw anything.

The second main academic was hosted by Charles Thompson, and was a messy affair, working with large sticks of charcoal. The aim of this session was to use charcoal to roughly block in masses and values. This allows compositions to quickly be tested before the main work is started. Charles does a lot of Plein Air work, and uses this method to establish a composition before he starts painting. In this respect it is similar to the way thumbnail sketch are used when building a composition. Again I've never worked with charcoal in this way before. The challenge Charles set was to draw without using lines. Again it was surprising how easy it was to build shapes without the use of lines. When you don't worry about the detail getting the basic shapes right becomes easier. (It's the front part of a B-24 mounted on a trolley, in case you can't tell).


Both these academics showed what can be learnt when you try something different and move outside of your comfort zone. Tutelage from the likes of Charles and Gil is worth its weight in gold, and all helps towards the aim of becoming a better artist.

John Clark did a wonderful job dissecting the construction of "Paris Street; Rainy Weather" by Gustave Caillebotte. No apparent connection with aviation art here, but I found this extremely interesting and it's an area I will explore further on my own. By the end of this session it was apparent that as much preparation went into this painting as any piece of complex aviation art.


The final academic was run by Keith Ferris and dealt with how to apply lettering and insignias to an aircraft. This is an area I, and many other artists find challenging but Keith, as always, had a very simple solution, proving once again that all problems can be solved, you just need to understand the real issue first. His solution is to ensure that the underlying shape of the aircraft surface is understood and that the markings being placed are broken down into simple shapes with known dimensions.

Tomorrow I'll wrap up with my thoughts on the week as a whole...

Sunday, 5 July 2009

2009 ASAA Forum - Part Four

The 23rd International Aerospace Art Exhibition .

On the evening of Tuesday the 23th June the exhibition was formally opened at a ribbon cutting event and buffet reception. The exhibition will remain on display until 3rd January 2010.

56 paintings are on display in the Colonial Group Inc. Art Gallery in the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, having been selected by the jury from all the entries received. In addition to paintings in oil and acrylic, there are also works in watercolour, mixed media, sculpture, pencil plus a quilted piece. Styles are equally wide ranging from the military realism the genre is perhaps best known for, to impressionism, contemporary and several pieces verging on abstract.

Photos of all the works in the exhibition can be found here on the eHangar website, with these having been taken and posted by Roger Watts.
Roger is an ASAA member, but as a collector rather than artist. He is also the proud owner of at least 4 of the pieces on display including my own. Here Roger and I flank both my painting, together with "Right on Time" by Steve Heyen above it.

ASAA produces a full colour catalogue showing each of the paintings on display and providing a brief biography on each of the artists featured. I believe a number are still available so if anybody wishes to purchase one please let me know and I'll pass your enquiry on.

ASAA Awards
Honorable Mention, Ardell Bourgeois - Setting The Noose
Honorable Mention, Hank Caruso - Stranded in the Jungle
Honorable Mention, Steven Heyen - Right On Time
Honorable Mention, Matt Milkowski - Vision Over Europe
Honorable Mention, Kevin Weber - Capt. Bruce Weber-Navy Cross
James V. Roy, Jr John Reinhold - A Golden Time
Award of Distinction Charles Thompson - Cold War Reflections
Merit, Paul Burrows - Lakeside Tranquility
Merit, Richard Allison - Triplane Surprise
Founders Gold, Werner Haeuptli - Black and White
Founders Silver, Paul Burrows - Tedium
Founders Silver, Priscilla Patterson - Milestones
Founders Blue, James Waldon - Clouds Are Waiting
Founders Blue, Kevin Weber - Sunlit Splendor

Awards sponsored by Aviation Week & Space Technology
Best of the Best, Richard Allison - Triplane Surprise
Commercial 1st, John Reinhold - A Golden Time
Commercial 2nd, Tom Kalina - Path of Experience
Commercial 3rd, John Reinhold - On Step With the Past
General 1st, Cher Pruys - Airbase
General 2nd, Sam Lyons - J-3 Morning
General 3rd, Paul Burrows - Then and Now
Military 1st, Charles Thompson - Spitfires & Spritsails
Military 2nd, Wade Meyers - Temporary Reprieve
Military 3rd, Ardell Bourgeois - Setting the Noose
Space 1st, John Clark - Lunar Phase
Space 2nd, Larry Manofsky - Saturn V Moon Rise
Space 3rd, none
Capt. Duane Whitney, Hank Caruso - Stranded in the Jungle
Boeing, Gil Cohen - Almost There
Women In Aviation, Gerry Asher - Women’s Work
Nixon Galloway, Keith Woodcock - Speed
CAE SimuFlite, John Reinhold - A Golden Time
Walter Jefferies (A), Russell Smith - Huns Nightmare
Walter Jefferies (F), Kristin Hill - Another Important Mission
Winsor & Newton, Ronald Wong - MiG Alley Blues

Luther Y. Gore Service Award
Gerry Asher
Bob McAuley

The standard of art on display seems to get better each year, and is certainly in line with ASAA's aim for "The Pursuit of Excellence".

Tomorrow I'll cover the Academics we enjoyed over the course of the week....

Saturday, 4 July 2009

2009 ASAA Forum - Part Three

Carrying on from yesterday, today I'll give a flavour of what the ASAA forums are all about.

The first forum organised by Luther Gore was held in 1983, whilst the establishment of the ASAA was still being formalised. Since the ASAA charter was agreed in 1986 a further 23 forums have been held each incorporating the annual International Aerospace Art Exhibition. Having joined ASAA in 2006 I've attended the 2007, 2008, and of course 2009 forums.

The forum is a chance for members to get together and enjoy a week centred around aviation and art. This year the weeks schedule was dominated by academics ( much to my delight). I'm not sure of the final number of attendees but believe it was over 60. This number included family members and non artists who had the opportunity to enjoy the Savannah area in addition to the formal agenda. Attendence to any of the sessions is totally down to the individual, with no pressure to attend, so you are free to come and go as your like.

A typical day this year started with a briefing at 8.00 o'clock in the morning, providing details and timings for the rest of the day. Formal sessions then started in the museum at 9.00. Lunch was 12.00 - 13.00 with the afternoons sessions kicking off at 14.00 and running through to 16.00/17.00ish. This was followed by an evening meal, either as an organised event for all, or the chance to link up with a few fellow artists and the chance to discover the local cuisine. After eating most attendees would drift back to the hospitality suite and partake of their favourite tipple.

These hospitality sessions are worth a more detailed look, given the suite does not close until the last person leaves, and this seemed to average around 3.00 am each morning! These evening sessions are where friendships are made, advice freely given and everybody expresses an opinion on just about anything. Art brought along to the forum is on display all week in the hospitality suite as an unjuried exhibition. This provides plenty of topics for discussion and also the opportunity to have the greats of the aviation art world look your work over. There is nothing better than Keith Ferris sitting with you for half an hour or so and critiquing your work. (You ignore his words of wisdom at your peril). Otherwise the evening is littered with gentle banter, and drinking beer.

The real strength of the forums is to be found in the friendships made, and the huge amount of expertise on call, both at the forum, but also afterward upon returning home.

Tomorrow I'll touch on this years ASAA International Aerospace Art Exhibition...

Friday, 3 July 2009

2009 ASAA Forum - Part Two

As I mentioned yesterday, this years ASAA Forum was hosted by the The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, which is in Pooler, a few miles outside of Savannah, Georgia, USA.

175 Bourne Ave.
Pooler, GA
31322912-748-8888

The museum extended us every courtesy, and in addition to allowing us to come and go as we pleased during opening hours also provided a conference room in which most of the academics were held and are also hosting this years ASAA art exhibition.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for their terrific generosity and assistance.

The museum is very much about the people that served with the 8th AAF and its exhibits reflect their stories, acts of heroism, and sacrifice. However their pride and joy is the B-17G that they took delivery of in January this year.



The B-17 is undergoing complete restoration but is on display in the Combat gallery. Once the restoration is complete she will be painted in the colours of the 5000th aircraft to be processed through Hunter Army Air Field at Savannah during WWII and appropriately named "The City of Savannah". This aircraft then went on to serve with the 563rd BS from the 388th BG, and flew 44 combat missions.




Outside and accessed from the Combat Gallery are the beautiful Memorial Gardens. These gardens are a place for quiet reflection on the scarifies made, with the numerous wall plaques and memorials a powerful reminder of those that did not return home.






It seems appropriate to include a photo of the 56th FG memorial given they are the group portrayed in my painting on display in the art exhibition.
I'll leave covering the forums until tomorrow to stop this issue becoming too long

Thursday, 2 July 2009

2009 ASAA Forum - Part One

I spent last week in Savannah, Georgia, attending this year’s American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA) Forum, which was hosted by the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. This annual forum is pretty much non stop aviation art, and also marks the launch of the ASAA’s annual art exhibition.

Rather than give a dry day-by-day description of the event I will spend the next few days giving a flavour of the ASAA and forum activities. Today I’ll concentrate on the ASAA itself and provide a little background information for those of you that are not familiar with the Society.



The American Society of Aviation Artists.



“Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence and Public Appreciation of Aerospace Art.”

This simple statement gets right to the heart of the ASAA’s objectives. Founded in 1986 ASAA seeks to help and assist those artists who wish to improve their art, but at the same time garner further interest and appreciation in aviation and aerospace art from the general public.

Membership is open to all those that have an interest in the subject, and you certainly don’t have to be an artist to join. A passion for aviation art is the constant amongst members be they artists, collectors of aviation art, or just those with an enthusiasm for the subject.

For more information on the ASAA please have a look at their website.


Tomorrow I’ll talk a little about the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum and what the ASAA forums are all about....

Friday, 19 June 2009

Roar of Thunder accepted into the 2009 American Society of Aviation Artists juried exhibition.

I'm pleased to announce that the "Roar of Thunder" has been accepted into this years American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA) exhibition being held at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, Savannah, Georgia, USA.

The exhibition opens June 21st and runs until 3rd January 2010. The exhibition has it's formal opening and reception on Tuesday 23rd June, and I'm looking forward to attending. Look out for updates and a report on the event. I can't wait to be there.

In response to high demand I'm also pleased to advise that a Limited Edition Giclee print of the "Roar of Thunder" is available. The limited edition is restricted to 56 prints, in honour of the 56th Fighter Group depicted in the painting. Please visit my website for details, but if you are interested move quickly as the first prints are already going quickly.

VA-195 Corsairs

I managed to knock this painting out pretty quickly given it's a fairly simple concept. Two weeks from start to finish. 18" x 9" Oil on Canvas. It's available for purchase at $550 (including P&P). I hope to do a larger version of this one (36" x 18") if time and schedule allows.

Two A-7E's from VA-195



A little detail




And a pencil value study as part of the prep' process

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

2nd Place at National Museum of Naval Aviation Art Contest

Well the exhibition opened last week at Pensacola, and the competition results were announced yesterday.

I'm delighted to say that "On Final" took Second Place.




While "Into the Storm" won an Honourable Mention


The exhibtion runs through to April next year, so if you are in the area pop in and have look. Entry to the Museum is free.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Roar of Thunder

Having first put paint down on canvas in November last year, the P-47 painting is now finished, and officially titled "The Roar of Thunder".



44" x14" inches oil on canvas, showing six P-47M's taking off from runway 04, Boxted, April 1945.



A detail of the lead P-47. This was aircraft flown by Russ Kyler, and named after his wife Lorene. As mentioned earlier in the blog (see 18th August 2008 "From the Horses Mouth") Russ was a great help in providing information on how they took off in Squadron formation. I'm pleased to say that having seen the finished painting Russ is pleased with the end result and has offered to sign it for me. I'm already being asked about the availability of prints and so will be looking into providing a small limited edition run.

The rest of the gaggle

Saturday, 4 April 2009

National Museum of Naval Aviation - Art Exhibition


Yesterday I received confirmation that the two paintings I entered into this years juried art exhibition have both been accepted. Needless to say I'm very pleased and proud of this.


On Final



This painting shows a Grumman F9F-2 Panther (Bu123600) of VF191 on final to land on the USS Princeton, CV-37, in Korean Waters, April 1951. Oil on canvas 24" x 16". This painting was displayed at the 2007 American Society of Aviation Artists forum and was awarded a Silver ASAA Founders Award.

Into The Storm


An A6 Intruder over Vietnam December 1971. This painting featured in early postings and is oil on canvas, 36" x 28". The original is available for purchase, and I'm currently offering a limited edition giclee print.




The exhibition is at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida, USA. It opens on Wednesday 6th May, in conjunction with the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation’s 2009 Symposium which runs from 6th to 8th May. This year’s program is “Something New in the Air: An Exciting Look at the Latest in Naval Aviation” and “Valiant Rescue Attempt: North Vietnam". The art exhibition itself runs through to April 2010.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Time for an update !

First up the P-47 painting is still progressing, and dare I say it, getting close to completion.










Given this painting is starting to draw to an end, I'm starting to think about the next project. At the moment it will be of a A-7 Corsair of VA-195 on the opening day of Operation LineBacker, 10th May 1972. Lets see if this plan survives contact with the "enemy".