Posted: December 18th, 2011 | Filed under: Equipment, Recent Work
Battle Creek, MI
Standing at my easel in an aircraft hangar listening to the Harry James Orchestra in the midst of a collection of vintage biplanes seemed fitting. I had learned about Waco when I began working with Duncan Aviation several years ago. Located just next door, the business specializes in the manufacture and maintenance of replica of 1930’s era aircraft. Seeing these planes up close you can begin to understand why someone could fall in love with them. The open cockpit designs allows for one or two people and its range is around 400 miles. They are not terribly practical but their shape and color evoke a sensibility from a different time.
Parked in the center of the hangar and surrounded by models of every other color, the cadmium yellow plane was irresistible. Its tail would provide the primary compositional element for this painting. This semi-abstract composition gave me a starting point to explore nuances of form, color and light in the context of a recognizable subject. As I began to draw and paint, I analyzed how the aircraft is constructed. This exercise (like others in the past) was as much educational, as it was an artistic exploration.
As I began to block in large fields of yellow, on the second day the president of Waco approached me and asked if he could take a photo of me working. I told him of course and that I viewed photography as a natural part of the exchange. The following morning I received a call from the owner of the plane that was the centerpiece of the painting I had begun. Several minutes into the discussion we discovered that we live in neighboring Connecticut towns and that we belong to the same shooting club.
I am not sure how this happens: I go back to my small hometown in Michigan only to discover that the airplane I have chosen to paint belongs to a neighbor and fellow club member 750 miles away back in Connecticut!? The coincidence to me seems striking but maybe it is just a case of people with similar interests being drawn together… birds of a feather flock together.
Posted: January 3rd, 2010 | Filed under: Equipment, Recent Work
Duncan Aviation, Battle Creek, MI
There was a black bellied plane with tan pin strips that I found interesting. In particular, I liked all the reflection I was seeing in the black engine cowlings. This canvas was smaller partly because I didn’t want to attempt a larger piece that I might not be able to complete in the time I had given myself for the project. While the Dassault painting was primarily white, this painting would be nearly all black. The composition for the Hawker would be even more abstract than the Dassault piece. I chose a cropping composed almost exclusively of the engine cowling which shows its black underside when opened. Beyond the open black cover you can see the white upper part of the engine cover and part of the airplanes body. If you weren’t familiar with aircraft, I am not sure most people could identify what the composition represents.
In the open cowling cover, which covers more than half of the canvas, I set out to explore a convex reflection. In the reflected image I can see myself standing alongside the easel and behind me is the expanse of the hangar, other aircraft in for servicing and the network of overhead florescent lighting. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 2nd, 2010 | Filed under: Equipment, Recent Work
Duncan Aviation, Battle Creek, MI
…I had casually mentioned during a discussion about possible subject matter that I would love to paint aircraft sometime. My friend Laura offered that she knew the general manager of Duncan Aviation. Laura said that she would try to put me in contact with her friend Bill. Over the late summer, introductions were made and emails were exchanged. I invited Bill to view some of my work online so he could see and understand more about my work and methods.
On my first visit to Duncan Aviation’s facility, I walked through the building and down the hallways and I noticed the ample collection of paintings, prints and sculpture displayed at nearly every turn. It was explained to me that the Duncan family were avid art collectors. I had no prior knowledge of this but felt that the company, via it’s founders, would be more inclined to participate and host my proposed activities given their own personal interests. Read the rest of this entry »