View Full Version : The Noorduyn Norseman:- Asia WWII

Chas McHugh
07-13-2013, 12:38 PM
The Noorduyn Norseman:- Asia WWII

The 'Paint by numbers' bit is almost done and sufficient for me to start on a sky tomorrow. The aircraft is not easy to research in its military role but was used in India and Burma operating from unprepared short strips in the medevac role. There is a story to be told, which will become clear as the painting progresses. Oil on canvas 24" x 20", started 9th July 2013.

If anyone has any useful photographs, I would be interested in seeing them.

07-13-2013, 07:56 PM
I can always count on you to pick interesting topics, Chas.

07-13-2013, 09:44 PM
I start mine the same way! Oddly enough my wife say's it's like paint by numbers. I thought she was the only one to refer to it that way and was insulting me! Nice start!

07-14-2013, 09:24 AM
Good on ya Charles for doing the more obscure subjects! It requires a dedication and deep interest in aviation history. I'll follow this thread with interest.

07-14-2013, 11:23 AM
I have linked this thread onto here,there are some very clever bods on there and they may be able to help you.


07-14-2013, 02:54 PM
Looking forward once again Chas, Wasn't it in one of these that Glen Miller went missing?.

Chas McHugh
07-14-2013, 05:32 PM
Trumper:- that link is already filling in some important gaps, thank you, I would be grateful if you could thank the guys on the other forum for me.

The aeroplane has had various options over time including wheel spats or not, and 2 or 3 bladed props. The DF aerial on the WWII machines was unknown to me. The painting will be a specific Sqn which I will make public when I have dug through a few emails.

It was a znorseman that Glen Miller was travelling on when lost ober the English Channel.

07-16-2013, 03:42 PM
What sort of details are you looking for? I have pics of a Canadian one at the National Aviation Museum.

Chas McHugh
07-16-2013, 05:22 PM
D'Arcy, Thanks for the offer. It is the wartime aircraft fitments that I am interested in. Over the years, the aircraft had been equipped with 2 or 3 bladed props and different antennae. The undercarriage can be with or without elements of the undercarriage fairing. Even the cabin door has two options. The Dutch have a Norseman restored to US colours, but I have seen photographs that suggest the line between green and grey is not as wavy as I have it drawn (based on the Dutch one).

In summary, wartime photos usually bring something with them. It was not often photographed it would appear.

07-19-2013, 10:43 AM



07-30-2013, 10:18 AM
I reviewed my pics, and based on your composition, I don't believe they would add anything for you. That first one of Shadwell's looks like it might though.

08-03-2013, 04:44 AM
I start mine the same way! Oddly enough my wife say's it's like paint by numbers. I thought she was the only one to refer to it that way and was insulting me! Nice start!

me too !! I was working that way about 7 yrs ago and considered it wrong so looked around the web to look for methods other aviation artists used !!

I then came along chases web page and looked at his lightning WIP ( still one of my favourites ) I then decided I couldn't be far off doing something right !!

Chas McHugh
08-16-2013, 04:23 PM
Update after one month. The painting has been a cow, but thats what you get when you drift from ones comfort zone. I have needed every technique I know to get this far, but now feel ready to move forwards.


08-17-2013, 06:47 AM
love the sky you have done.:)

Chas McHugh
08-18-2013, 01:41 PM
The sky has a high oil content that reflects everything much like a varnish. Getting an accurate photograph is difficult, however things should be a little easier now as the hardware gets added. I will use glazes to tie in the key features with a common level of light and shade.

08-19-2013, 07:44 PM
This is the second try at leaving a reply, Chas. Hopefully it stays this time.
I like the way you have the light reflecting from the upper surface. Good looking painting in the works.

Chas McHugh
08-20-2013, 04:51 PM
Some bizarre goings on within the site of late. Thanks for your comments Gray, it is much appreciated.

Mark A Bufton
08-23-2013, 12:52 PM
I'm sure this site has been hacked or something. This looks amazing Chas (as always). Really looking forward to seeing this in all its glory.

08-23-2013, 01:16 PM
Great work Chas, your style of painting is so unique, love it. This is going to be a great painting.



08-26-2013, 01:41 AM
Looking good so far Chas. I like the way you are reflecting the light off the top of the aircraft.

Chas McHugh
08-28-2013, 08:20 AM
An update as the jeep is now well underway.

It is proving very difficult to get an accurate photograph as for example, the framework highlights on the rear fuselage are not as contrasing as they appear on photgraphs in real life. It is all a little bizarre, but you get the drift of how progress is being made. Associated research tells of a pretty unpleasant existence for everyone involved in the Burma campaign with almost no down-time and the best luxery you could hope for was for somewhere to swim/bathe. Tourist attractions, even if away from the fighting were often disease infested, and malaria and dysentry was rife.

08-29-2013, 02:16 AM
Nice! It's great to see the progress!

08-29-2013, 07:17 AM
The light on the top is really nice. A friend of mine had an approach to fuselage skins like this that worked really well on a Hurricane. He painted each as a solid strip of colour, making them darker as he went away from the light. The natural contrast between the colours gave the appearance of highlights and it proved very effective. I haven't actually tried that approach myself though.

08-29-2013, 06:20 PM
That Jeep is starting to pop. It's looking the part.

Chas McHugh
09-22-2013, 10:49 AM
An update is overdue and if I am to be critical of the work of others, it is only fair that I too stand in the firing line. I have been concentrating on achieving foreground detail with foliage using glazes to tie in a mean colour and provide cohesion to the painting. Bringing reflected sky into the 'puddle' facilitates balance across the work. The painting has been a cow to work with if I was honest, and only when varnished will the reflective qualities be balanced. I am happy with where it is at present with some people yet to be included, hence the naked canvas in places.

09-23-2013, 10:03 PM
Really good overall effect on this Chas. My only observation is that the trailing edge of the port wing just doesn't read correctly. I think based on the starboard wing, there is a little up aileron. If that is the correct position, the rounded portion of the wing looks a little large. Admittedly, I no longer have a model of a Norseman to check, so I could very well be incorrect on that. Otherwise, the colour and composition work really well and are quite believable.

Chas McHugh
09-24-2013, 03:32 AM
This is where having the ear (&eyes) of a Norseman operator would be most useful. My photographic reference suggests it is correct, but I understand exactly where you are coming from. Some aircraft are equipped for the ailerons to collectively droop which effectively extends the 'flap' full length of the wing whilst maintaining control in role. The Buccaneer can do this for example, and it increases slow speed flight control. This aircraft clearly has short take off characteristics, and may also use this type of control to achieve that. The honest answer is that I do not know, but photographic references suggest that this may be the case.

Chas McHugh
09-26-2013, 01:25 PM
Another layer of glaze and hopefully the foreground takes on a 3D effect. It is one of those paintings that is so much better when viewed in person as the many tiny variations in tone give it a classical aura.

That will do me for glazing at this stage as I want to see the jeep finished and the people started.

09-27-2013, 06:07 AM
It all hangs together nicely tone wise Chas .

Chas McHugh
09-28-2013, 08:52 AM
It is always nice when it starts to look like the home straight is coming into view and this painting is no exception.
The Jeep has been painted in the knowledge that colours will change when a glaze is applied meaning that some light areas are too light and dark areas too dark but all will balance out at a later date.

Chas McHugh
09-29-2013, 07:16 AM
The Norseman painting now has wet paint across a wide area of canvas which is normally time to set it aside for a week to dry. I am very happy with progress and need to pay attention to exactly how I am going to incorporate people with several options available.

Mark A Bufton
09-29-2013, 06:46 PM
This is looking absolutely fantastic :)

Chas McHugh
10-19-2013, 08:32 AM
I painted the pilot.....
...and wasnt happy with it on too many levels. People always need to be built up over time, but this one was not to be...
....so I repainted him by which time he had got his hands off his hips and into his pocket: Just like the real thing!! The face is but a gesture at this stage and some key-hole artistry awaits in the near future to get a likeness of a specific person.

10-19-2013, 01:43 PM
That is superb :thumbsup:
It's nice to see this again.I did try logging in on e hangar yesterday but it seems to have gone for me.

10-20-2013, 12:13 PM
Adding people always introduces a new dimension to the painting. Will the pilot be the only one?

Chas McHugh
10-21-2013, 05:04 PM
No Gray, there will be at least one more to come. The aircraft was used in the aeromedical role so somebody who contributes to that story.

10-21-2013, 09:18 PM
The addition of the pilot really ties it together nicely. I look forward to seeing more of the story.

10-22-2013, 04:17 AM
one thing I notice is that the jeep looks very static , would the addition of a driver make it look more like it had a sense of urgency either dropping off or picking up a victim errr sorry patient (trade joke ):lol:

11-14-2013, 03:09 PM
Great job

11-23-2013, 12:05 AM
Absolutely fantastic work!

Chas McHugh
11-28-2013, 11:59 AM
I appreciate the words of support guys; thank you.

Hours of work on a square centimetre, that being the pilots face. An actual likeness of a particular person was required which required a little bit more attention then would normally be given.


11-28-2013, 12:08 PM
There's quite a colour difference between the last 2 photos,which one is the truest one,i like the last one best :)

Chas McHugh
11-28-2013, 03:15 PM
All of the photographs have been taken outdoors. Getting an accurate reproduction has been problematic which I believe I have mentioned previously. There has been no photoshopping and post photo interference has been limited to sharpening the image slightly. So what is different this time?

A lack of sunlight because it is now winter should reduce the blue a little. Other than that, I think the last photo is the most accurate of all of them. The other thing I have done is select full frame for exposure metering rather than a spot meter. Wonder how the next one will look!

11-29-2013, 12:01 PM
All of the photographs have been taken outdoors. Getting an accurate reproduction has been problematic which I believe I have mentioned previously. There has been no photoshopping and post photo interference has been limited to sharpening the image slightly. So what is different this time?

A lack of sunlight because it is now winter should reduce the blue a little. Other than that, I think the last photo is the most accurate of all of them. The other thing I have done is select full frame for exposure metering rather than a spot meter. Wonder how the next one will look!

lack of sunlight increases the blue tint if white balance isn't altered

but that depends on time of day also as in the morning/evening when the sun is in a lower position it increases the warm amber tint

I usualy shoot fully manual so adjust white balance and exposure to suit

best conditions to shoot are in good sunlight but with cloud cover to defuse the harshness

metering mode shouldn't make any difference to colour just the exposure only difference metering would make is to make it under/over exposed wich in the case of spot metering is more likely as to make it work for a painting you would need to spot meter on a mid tone by pressing the shutter half way ,hold re frame then shoot even overall metering isn't the most reliable

I prefer using a grey card or something of a known value such as grass , concrete or tarmac then use those settings to shoot your subject ( there is a distinct probability results will be better than what the cameras auto functions give you !)

but for white balance chas think of the colour wheel and it is the same principle for an orange cast you need to use the colour opposite to return it to normal colours in this case it would be blue

so for your blue cast it will be the opposite , orange to kill the cast and return colours to normal if you go into your white balance options there should be many options on mine for each option say cloudy , sunny etc I not only have the lighting option but five stops each way - and + to fine tune results as it is surprising how much difference even small cloud cover changes can make to the k value of your light source

11-29-2013, 12:29 PM
in short the camera is doing what it does best , it gives a roughish fair approximation if used on auto programes

fine for 95% of photography as you rarely notice for every day use

but as artists we are asking it to faithfully reproduce our keen eye for colour and tones that we have carefully painted

that is where you have to start telling the camera that you know best about how you wish your finished shot to look !

11-30-2013, 02:21 PM
It's too bad we can't get a little closer to your painting. It's coming along well. I like the colour tones in the Jeep and plane. I take it the blank spot is for the other person.

Chas McHugh
11-30-2013, 03:37 PM
Gray539 I take it the blank spot is for the other person.

It was.... The space is now occupied and 100% of the canvas has paint on it. Update photograph tomorrow.

Chas McHugh
12-01-2013, 04:21 PM
The promised update:
I now know that the door has long arm hinges and will therefore require moving forward in order to be accurate.

Chas McHugh
12-10-2013, 11:40 AM
Lots of little niggly things being squared away now. Highlights on the tyres, insert a dog, move the door forward. Time to insert a Spitfire and call it a day very soon.

12-11-2013, 07:58 AM
Superb work Chas. It has come a very long way since the beginning. All your hard work has paid off.

12-12-2013, 01:04 AM
Magnificent work....loved every bit of it.. :)

12-12-2013, 04:39 AM
Excellent Painting as ever, although I feel the figures and dog are posing as if for a photograph.
Looking forward to the Spitfire.
Regards Jim

12-12-2013, 04:52 AM
Lovely work,where on earth are you going to put a Spitfire?

Chas McHugh
12-12-2013, 05:17 PM
When I have worked that one out, I will be sure to let you know. Thanks for the comments guys - in response, all I can say is that it is a commission. The Spitfire need only be a gesture landing before sunset, but if I can size it to reveal markings without it over dominating the image, I will. The airstrip in 2013 has a north - south runway, and one can reasonably assume that +_ a few degrees, that was also the case in wartime. Therefore we are looking roughly west with the aircraft dispersed. This too is logical as such airfields often suffered Japanese bombardment from howitzers. Painting people is a challenge not many artists tackle, and these are specific people!

12-12-2013, 06:06 PM
A good looking piece of work, Chas.

Chas McHugh
12-13-2013, 01:30 PM
One for the album :)


12-13-2013, 05:00 PM
Looks like you've nailed the tonal values in this tricky lighting Chas .

Chas McHugh
12-15-2013, 09:26 AM
where on earth are you going to put a Spitfire?

This is where I placed the Spitfire:


..... which makes the composition complete. There remains a few elements that I wish to go over to improve, so this is not the final image, but I will not be adding any extra items to the composition.

12-15-2013, 11:32 AM
Ahhh now i see where the Spitfire is .The only problem for me is that if i was on the ground as the two characters are i would be looking at the Spitfire landing unless of course there is something going on behind the viewer..
Very nice :)

Chas McHugh
12-15-2013, 12:46 PM
Argh yes; the difference between war & peace. People, particulary servicemen, take much for granted, and a resident Spitfire would be an everyday part of the scenery. Providing there was no smoke, coughing or spluttering, a Spitfire wouldn't get a second glance.

Chas McHugh
12-24-2013, 11:48 AM
Repainted the faces, and now....

"Its Finished"!!
I can tell you... that was on occasions hard work. In person it is a very nice work of art, and can only improve with varnish and a nice frame.

12-24-2013, 12:12 PM
A piece well worth all the work, Chas.

12-24-2013, 05:20 PM
:) Well done ,a long journey but well worth it :).

12-26-2013, 10:24 PM
Beautifully done Charles, great work on the overall lighting, nice feel to this one!

Chas McHugh
04-26-2014, 04:34 AM
USAAF Noorduyn Norseman & RAF Supermarine Spitfire ~ Burma WWII

Finally hanging in its new Canadian home demonstrating how important a nice frame that is complimentary to the colours of the painting can be.

Oil on canvas 24" x 20" / 60 x 51 cm


04-26-2014, 06:17 AM
What a lovely W I P - Finished product ,well done.