View Full Version : New painting - "Vieux Charles"

Russell Smith
10-05-2015, 03:28 PM
Vieux Charles
18" x 14"
oil on linen panel

Although technically ranking second to Rene Fonck among the French aces of World War I, Georges Guynemer was first in the hearts of his countrymen during the war due to his humility, skill and devotion to his country. Born in Paris in 1894, he was a frail, sickly child and was home schooled until age 14. Though lacking in physical skills, Georges showed an aptitude for both target shooting and mechanics - two skills which would serve him well as a military aviator. Although he was originally rejected from military service due to his poor physical condition, he finally passed the medical examination on the fourth attempt after his father intervened on his behalf. He succeeded as an aviator through his enormous drive and self-confidence.
Guynemer joined Escadrille MS.3 in June of 1915 and served in the same unit for his entire service. Over the course of his service the unit transitioned from Moraine Saulniers to Nieuports to SPAD VIIs and XIIIs, thus changing designations from MS.3 to N.3 and the SPA.3. The aircraft of SPA.3 were famous for the red storks which emblazoned their fuselages. The stork was known to nest annually in the chimneys of Alsace-Lorraine, and the squadron’s logo symbolized France’s determination to return and retake that region. Guymener’s personal aircraft often bore the marking “Vieux Charles” (Old Charles), and this particular SPAD VII, S'254, now hangs on display at the Musée de l'air et de l’Espace at Le Bourget Airport in Paris.
In February 1917 Guynemer became the first Allied pilot to shoot down a German heavy bomber, and in March, 1917, he became the first Frenchman to shoot down three enemy planes in one day. In May, 1917,he downed seven German aircraft. Perhaps the greatest story from his career was one told by German Ace Ernst Udet (A Lesson From the Master). His success earned him enough influence to affect French fighter aircraft development. In December 1916, he wrote a letter to the chief designer at SPAD criticizing the SPAD VII as inferior to the German Halberstadt. As a result, SPAD developed two new but very similar models, the SPAD XII and SPAD XIII. On Sept. 11, 1917 he failed to return from a combat mission. He was confirmed missing in action by his squadron commander Major Brocard. His death was finally confirmed by the Germans who stated that a sergeant in the 413th Regiment found and identified the pilot's body, and news of his death was officially announced in Paris two weeks later.


10-05-2015, 08:37 PM
That is really nice to look at :cool:

And the lighting underneath the top wing http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2015/1526886-wow.gif

10-06-2015, 06:43 AM
Russell , you always hit that balance between accuracy and artistic portrayal that gives your paintings life. Another beauty.

10-06-2015, 09:50 AM
The lighting ,superb ,those little blue patches ,the shadows on the airframe and the lighting on the ground.Another lovely piece of work.:)
Any chance of showing us the W I P 's sometime please :)

10-06-2015, 10:51 AM
First class as always

Russell Smith
10-06-2015, 04:02 PM
Thanks so much everyone. Trumper, even though I don't have a full WIP to show, here is the plein air color study which I painted for this piece:


10-06-2015, 05:00 PM
Russell ,i love the Plein air version,i bet being able to be loose ,quick and instinctive is so much fun.:)

10-14-2015, 08:26 AM
Such a gorgeous piece of art. The style reminds me of Terence Cuneo, one of my heroes.

10-14-2015, 10:44 AM
^ Nah ......not like Cuneo but both are unique .... I can spot one of Russells paintings in a magazine or on the web strait away without looking at the signature

When an artists work can be recognised on the spot He (or) She is at the top