View Full Version : New Zealand Catalina

10-09-2012, 11:11 PM
moored somewhere near Auckland. Love the reflections etc.. reference photo is black and white but commissioner has asked for colour! Will be acrylic..
This has taken about a year to work up to but I did promise before Christmas so here goes!


10-10-2012, 03:01 AM
nice work so far !!

10-10-2012, 04:11 AM
Good start to the painting. Funny I have just got a commission to do something similar. Mine will be of the RNZAF 6 squadron landing on the water to pick up dauntless crew in a rubber raft.

10-10-2012, 08:54 AM
you're doing a underdrawing and then a tonal underpainting with gray values for the airplane prior to applying colors? i am just curious about the process in acrylics. Do you do the same thing in colored pencil?

10-10-2012, 09:36 AM
Looking forward to completion

10-10-2012, 11:26 AM
Looks good - Catalina's a fine looking machine .

10-10-2012, 02:02 PM
you're doing a underdrawing and then a tonal underpainting with gray values for the airplane prior to applying colors? i am just curious about the process in acrylics. Do you do the same thing in colored pencil?

thats correct ugo.. the underpainting in greys allows the background to be done 'over the edges' and then you overpaint that again for the final plane colors. Im sure someone else here knows the technical terms for this?

not the same in CP at all.. there one has much finer control over edges so I can do the main machine first and then fill in around it (or not!)

With a painting I find the background is at least equal to and possibly worth more to the painting than the actual main image of the car or plane. Its almost like you have to be a landscape artist first IMHO and an aviation artist second. (not that Im especially any good at it.... but I guess we'll see... :) )

10-10-2012, 04:07 PM
Seaplanes are my favorite of all planes. This is a fine painting, and yes, being a good landscape artist seems to be essential to many 'specialty' artists. I admire the automotive paintings field, and the best compositions include a landscape as perfect as the car.

Looking forward to your future posts


10-11-2012, 03:20 AM
slapped on some areas of color to start with.. two layers of sky now which is good and a start at the bush on the left... much much much more detail to come.. excuse the shine from the lights!!


10-11-2012, 06:57 PM
This is shaping nicely.

10-13-2012, 02:50 PM
Looking really good already. I think the reflection of the plane will make this look great when its finished. Never used acrylics so very interested to follow the progress !

Tony :)

10-14-2012, 07:33 AM
The reflections look good .

10-19-2012, 03:09 AM
bit more on the hill, the inflatable and beach..
tricky stuff for me that hill. more work needed on the skyline trees..
any suggestions on painting wooded hills appreciated.


10-19-2012, 06:22 AM
Looking good, what do you think is wrong with the sky line trees?

10-19-2012, 03:14 PM
I'm really crap at using a brush. Ie.. Loading enough paint onto it to get a smooth thin line for a trunk. Maybe i should be dabbing more? The canvas is fairly dimpled too which doesn't help that smooth continuous stroking. Should I use an acrylic medium to get better loading of the brush? The trees look to rough to me because of my rough dabbing. I want more detail and realism.

10-19-2012, 03:49 PM
The trees look to be about quarter of a mile away, they are ' wild' trees, not an orchard or plantation, growing through undergrowth, probably with growth on the trunks. We don't want twigs and branches, we want cowlings, floats , panel lines etc, and you seem to be doing them in fine enough detail, so stop stressing, and enjoy your painting.
Looking forward to seeing it finnished, that's the time to comment if need be, but I'm sure it will be more plaudits than brickbats

10-26-2012, 06:49 PM
thin your paint down and use a fine brush. i use 0 or 00 for my fine lines and it works OK. I paint in nothing other than oil on canvas.

11-01-2012, 03:12 AM

worked on the hill quite a bit. Im still thinking landscape first! but started some simple reflections and tidied up under the wings.. This is hard work for me!! I really dont get enough time to start swapping brushes and getting into it..

11-02-2012, 12:09 PM
Looking very promising indeed!

11-04-2012, 07:58 PM
This is coming along great, faminz.

11-08-2012, 02:51 AM
Im happy with the hill finally and have started the plane..
Funnily enough I fund turning the canvas upside down really helped with the reflections.. My brain coped far better with that!! :)


11-08-2012, 11:21 AM
Going to be really good this one!

11-23-2012, 03:15 AM
A bit more work managed this week... doesnt really look like much progress but ive been working on the front of the plane, both the top and the rippled reflection.. you may notice the coloured radome now! I have to turn the canvas upside down to do the ripples.. and its flat on the table now. Im also using a pretty fine brush only..
My theory is to now do the plane and then rego over the blues of the sky and sea and finally add some clouds...

slow going...


11-23-2012, 10:58 AM
Slow maybe - but very nice going!

12-19-2012, 02:57 AM
Must be a painters blockage of some sort as its been over a month since the last post.
Nearly Christmas.... looks like it'll be finished in the New Year.. given we survive the apocalypse! Ive been on holiday for a couple of weeks and doing lots of packing of prints and calendars of my colored pencil racing cars. simple but selling well!!

Anyway I HAVE managed a few hours on the Catalina. S L O W going now with tiny brushes but Ive done the engines and most of the front and am moving into the center section and tail. You 'may' be able to see some progress?


12-19-2012, 09:53 AM
Your WIP phots help me so much to see exactly how you work this piece.

I was amazed from the beginning, still love this as much, if not more.


12-26-2012, 10:19 PM
some more progress on the day after the day after Christmas day!
Worked on the tail.. laid down some cloud underpainting and that was about 2 hours! The canvas is A2 sized.. ie about 62 cm x 46 cm

I think the clouds balance out the hill somewhat but not sure about the massive blue area of sky.. the reference photo has some cloud, darkish cloud up high there and my sea at the bottom of the pic sort of implies a darker area so should be balanced by a darker sky up the top I assume.. but Im not convinced, personally I like it as it is... what do you think? suggestions welcome.

12-27-2012, 06:07 AM
I think if you lightened /greyed the sky above the engines , wingtip and tail and blended that in up to about the tip of the last tree on the headland. That would create more depth in the picture and tie in more with the reflections in the water. I could be wrong but introducing clouds above the aircraft would perhaps clutter the scene.
Overall it looks good.

12-27-2012, 01:21 PM
Agreed Neil, that area you mention was supposed to be lighter but damn its hard to get the correct shade when the acrylic dries slightly different!! But yes you're correct and ill have another go at that.

12-27-2012, 05:15 PM
Yep - I've just resumed painting after an eight month lay of - and being reminded of how capricous and demoralising acrylics can be in the early stages of a painting . If I didn't know better I'd bin my current efforts - fortunately experience tells me to keep going and it will all get better . Fingers crossed anyway!
Thankfully you are well on the road to a successful outcome.

12-30-2012, 07:24 PM
Coming along really well, faminz.

12-30-2012, 11:05 PM
Still following this, you have already helped me immensely in my automotive paintings.



12-31-2012, 09:58 PM
Nearly there!

I think just the clouds to fill out and a bit of a touch up here and there..
Basically just got a tad tired of this and want to move on.. bad attitude I know but hey it is what it is...


and thank you all for the kind comments.. it keeps me going...

01-01-2013, 01:40 PM
I know that feeling !
The painting looks good to me. Just some work on the clouds needed as you say.

Mark A Bufton
01-02-2013, 03:10 AM
Trees look good to me, but I know the feeling, I struggle with them.

Fortunately, like I say, trees don't have rivets ;)


[The painting looks absolutely fantastic!]

01-03-2013, 02:25 AM
Righto that'll do... Might be a tiny bit of correcting to do but essentially finished. Signed and awaiting a sealant before I get it scanned.
Then Ill notify the commissioner to pick his painting up.

Its quite a large canvas for me... A2 sized. Now its completed im quite taken with it actually.. pity to let it go in some ways but c'est la vie!

The final work today was on the lower area of the canvas giving more life to the water.. seems to have worked I think. My wife thinks its a very peaceful scene!


photo was taken at sunset using natural NZ sunlight so whites are looking slightly golden.. heh

Now back to the colored pencils and the Plymouth GTX commission!!!

01-03-2013, 05:34 AM
Very nice -I was going to say " my one concern is the reflection of cloud to the right of the picture . I have a feeling that reflections should always be slightly duller than the actual object reflected"
But on reflection ( get it!) it looks like that is what you have done anyway.

01-03-2013, 12:58 PM
I hear what you say Neil... And on checking the reference photo I think I will add a few ripples into the white edge of the cloud reflection etc.. There's a couple of other tweaks to do too..

I put it on an easel in the living room by the TV for a couple of days and as one idly looks at it you start seeing the odd thing needing a touch up.. Amazing how the mind sees things that you didn't realize you we're painting isn't it?

On reflection I'm pleased the way the hill and its reflection and the cloud and ITs reflection all point to the plane and lead the eye there.. It's like a big X really.. !!! And almost accidental!

Mark A Bufton
01-03-2013, 03:22 PM
That looks absolutely beautiful!!!

01-03-2013, 11:12 PM
Best plane phot I have seen!!

So glad you shared the steps with us


01-05-2013, 09:34 PM
Final tweaked version...
No more.. signed and sealed.


01-06-2013, 06:26 AM
Perfic !

02-21-2013, 07:14 PM
This piece turned out beautifully. Excellent work!

02-22-2013, 04:25 AM
Definately a 'go to the top of the class' job, well done

02-22-2013, 12:35 PM
A great looking painting, faminz. Your client should be very happy. I agree with your wife, a very peaceful scene.