An interlude with a Connie and two Airbuses

Whilst taking a brief pause with painting my Landsknechts (I’m waiting for an Old Glory order), I’ve returned to my other hobby of painting pictures with acrylics.

My latest three paintings have all had an aviation theme, though of a civilian nature rather than military.

My late father-in-law was a pilot with a now-defunct airline called Skyways of London. This Lockheed Constellation was one of the aircraft he flew.

The Connie is in my opinion one of the finest looking airliners ever, with its fish-shaped fuselage, triple tail and stalky undercarriage. I copied the basic shape from a photo I found online.

My picture shows the aircraft landing at Manchester Airport, recognisable by its distinctive multi-story control tower visible in the distance.

In the foreground are a trio of enthusiastic plane-spotters! Their bicycles were actually one of the hardest parts of the painting, and even now I’m not sure I’ve got the angled wheels on that left-hand bike correct.

If you’re interested in how my pictures come together, here is a step-by-step slideshow.

The colour quality changes with some of the pics, as they were taken at different times of the day. But you get to see my method of layering the different components of the painting.

This painting shows an Air New Zealand Airbus on its final approach to Wellington Airport. The passengers will be having a bouncy ride as the aircraft lands in the face of a gusty southerly wind blowing up Evans Bay!

The large fern design on the side of the fuselage was challenging to paint. Air New Zealand’s ‘koru’ logo on the tail, based on the Māori symbol of a new unfurling silver fern frond, was also quite tricky.

The Hollywood-style WELLINGTON sign on the hill is real, with its fly-away design reflecting the city’s nick-name of ‘Windy Wellington’.

My brother-in-law is an avid wind-surfer, so I sought his technical expertise in how the sail should be angled in these wind conditions.

Again, here is a step-by-step view on how I created the above painting.

And here’s another Air New Zealand Airbus arriving at the gate on a drizzly night.

I worked off plans to depict the front-on view, but it still surprised me how boxy the bottom of a sleek Airbus looks from this angle.

I thought the reflections from the anti-collision light beneath the plane would be difficult to depict, but in the end when you simplify them down, they are basically just dry-brushed orange downward strokes under the wheels, engines and fuselage.

The beam from the white taxi light worked quite well, more-or-less by accident when I haphazardly slashed in a diagonal white streak on the ground. I do have to fix the light source though, as the taxi light should be at the top of the nose wheel strut, not the bottom.

I was quite pleased with the marshaller. I’ve never been good at painting humans, but this simple view from behind came out quite well. His arms may be a little long, but that could be just an optical illusion because of his batons!

And here is the step-by-step slideshow of how I painted the layers of this picture.

I may have time to do another painting or two before my Old Glory order arrives – and I have some ideas of other interesting subjects to depict. I may even pluck up the courage to try a military painting some time. So keep watching …

4 thoughts on “An interlude with a Connie and two Airbuses

  1. Quite lovely work. It’s always a pleasure to see paintings of aircraft from the not-so-distant past. I believe the Constellation in your painting was the first I have ever seen. Nice work.

  2. Very nice! The Constellation pic is impressive. I love aviation history, and would be interested to see your take on a De Havilland Tiger Moth or Dragon Rapide.

  3. Lovely painting. I particularly like the Lockheed Constellation too – it’s always been a favourite of mine – flying Art Deco.
    When I was a boy, 9 or 10, I cycled from Wythenshawe to Manchester (Ringway) airport with two or three other boys, around about 1968, to watch the planes taking off and landing, so I find it very evocative.

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