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Old 25th September 2006, 18:47
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459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Hey guys,

Busy days 'round here! Here's a couple of WIP snaps of the full-sized version of "Twin-Tailed Dragons", a 24 x 32 commissioned piece in oil.

This one is shaping up to be my best work ever, I think, mainly because this plane has so many complicated shapes within shapes, and I'm taking care to add all the subtle nuances of color and tone - most of which can't be seen with these handheld shots, of course. They're really bringing it to life.

I'm saving the cockpit area as a treat for myself till after I get the green dragons on the engines done.
Notice the two smaller '38s in the distance.

Wade



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Old 25th September 2006, 23:23
JACK COOK JACK COOK is offline
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Wade,
I think it's because of all the cool photos you got from me.
Just kidding excellent work!
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Old 26th September 2006, 00:39
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JACK COOK
Wade,
I think it's because of all the cool photos you got from me.
Just kidding excellent work!
For sure - without historians like you, I'd just be painting flowers (and probably be making more money! )

Naw, seriously - your photo of "Irish Lassie" was the inspiration for this piece.

Wade
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Old 11th October 2006, 17:46
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Here's a couple of quick snaps from this morning before I commenced work. I hope to have the entire main P-38, less the cockpit area, finished today.

I'll begin the cockpit tomorrow and will wrap that up next week when we return from vacation. The two smaller P-38s will be completed after that.

Wade




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Old 12th October 2006, 12:41
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Fascinating and beautiful! I admire your precise use of light and shade. May I please ask:

1. What medium are you using - acrylic?
2. What technique do you use to lay the aircraft outline on the skyscape - is it traced or drawn on directly?

There was some question on another forum of whether the snake tails always appeared on the inside of the booms. I have a photograph of "The San Joaquin Siren" that shows the inner boom without the tail but the inner cowling marked with the head.
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Old 12th October 2006, 12:45
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Question 1 I meant the skyscape! I notice you already said this work is oil but are you applying oil to an oil background?
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Old 12th October 2006, 18:15
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas
Fascinating and beautiful! I admire your precise use of light and shade. May I please ask:

1. What medium are you using - acrylic?
2. What technique do you use to lay the aircraft outline on the skyscape - is it traced or drawn on directly?

There was some question on another forum of whether the snake tails always appeared on the inside of the booms. I have a photograph of "The San Joaquin Siren" that shows the inner boom without the tail but the inner cowling marked with the head.
Hi Nicholas!

This one is oil on linen mounted on panel. My early work was done in acrylics, which I loved for the fast-drying properties (you could do a final varnish a week later!), but as my "style" developed (still developing!), I found that oil was better suited for me. This is certainly no slam on acrylics as top aviation artists like Ronald Wong (whom I know personally) and Mark Postlethwaite use acrylics, and their work speaks for itself. I delayed my transition to oil painting for a long time due to my concerns over the solvents, but I solved the problem by having only painting medium open in my studio.

Initial brush cleaning using OMS (odorless mineral spirits) is done with very good ventilation only. There actually is no need for the modern artist using oil paints to use turpentine at all, BTW.

My current technique is to lay in the entire background first, covering the entire canvas. That way I can concentrate on the cloudscape itself without having to "paint around" the airplane, and it's easier to "wipe off" small mistakes when painting the aircraft. I wait at least 30 days before transferring the airplane's image to the substrate. By then the background is well dry enough to transfer the airplane's image by rubbing the back of the paper with 2B pencil and then going over the airplane outline again, thus leaving a ghostly image of the airplane directly on the surface - you can see this in the photos above.

Of course, the position of all the elements is determined beforehand. The goal is for nothing at all to be a 'surprise' by the time the brushes come out.

As to the inboard dragon tails, I base my application on various model decal arrangement drawings and book art illustration references - I figure they may have had better evidence than I have been able to find. The tonal difference between the green they used and the OD paint is so slight in B/W photographs that it's hard to tell in several shots whether or not the tails are there or not on the inboard sides of the booms. For sure, as you mention, there is ample evidence that the tails were not applied to the inboard sides of the booms on some/most of the planes that were photographed.

In any case, as with the dragon HEAD in that overhead shot you mention, it's apparent that the inboard sides did not have the yellow 'dashes' outlining the shapes. That same shot of the "Siren" also indicates to me that the dragon heads came to an apex, or "point" as I have them above.

The rest is "interpretation" on my part mostly due to the fact that these very attractive paint jobs are relatively poorly covered in photographs, unfortunately.

Wade
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Old 13th October 2006, 01:32
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Thanks very much for your detailed reply. I wondered how you managed the oil skyscape - now I understand! That technique seems so much better than painting in around the aircraft - but I guess it requires patience!

A beautiful painting. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished work. Thanks again!
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Old 13th October 2006, 01:58
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

BTW I should have mentioned I took a look at your website and have bookmarked it. The techniques you describe are fascinating and the art is wonderful. I really enjoyed reading through the P-47 piece and understanding how you put it together so meticulously. The DG bit still puzzles me a little - understanding exactly how the plan views translate to the perspective view.

Thanks again!
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Old 18th October 2006, 18:37
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Re: 459FS CBI P-38Js (WIP)

Should be finished with this painting tomorrow. A little bit of work left to do on the main P-38, then 'relax' mode as I complete the two smaller Lightnings. This one has been fun . . . Corsairs next!

I'll take it outside and take better pics maybe this weekend (much better lighting than inside this studio for hand-held photography). After a bit of drying, I'll scan it for archival purposes.

Wade

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