View Full Version : Antarctic Auster

Chas McHugh
12-17-2016, 11:25 AM
One Artist and his subject matter.
Hoping to complete a 30" x 20" oil painting of this little bird for completion before the end of January. We will see.

12-17-2016, 04:28 PM
Ohhh,will we be getting a W I P ---Please :)

12-17-2016, 05:00 PM
Plenty of colour and contrast to work with in that challenge Chas.

Chas McHugh
12-17-2016, 05:14 PM
There are numerous scenario options available to me, not least because the aircraft had wheels and skids and floats at various stages. I do intend to include SnoCat vehicles in the composition and perhaps a tented camp. Having watched plenty of 'Ice pilots' on TV, I think there is scope for a small cloud of condensation from the exhaust to exploit in the name of movement. The sky may well be a deep blue void of any evidence of cloud or pollution / haze.

I will be avoiding raw Titanium white which for an icescape will be interesting. I would like to capture the extreme cold which of course is in itself invisible. Hows that for a challenge - but of course there is a wind that may add to atmosphere.

I have no idea why I am doing this - not to get too deep, I awoke early one morning with a complete composition as a vision, and I hope to complete it quickly rather then the many months my work usually takes. If it ends up as a disaster; then so be it - it was meant to be.

Penguins .... Don't start me 😎

12-17-2016, 07:39 PM
the orange and blue is working for me already , should make a colour vibrant picture with clear air ,,, good to see you doing another WIP in here

12-18-2016, 04:00 AM
Depicting 'cold' without being corny about it with furs and icicles will certainly be a challenge!
I would guess a lack of warm colours would contribute - wow!, its a real thought provoker!

Chas McHugh
12-18-2016, 10:08 AM
I have had sufficient positive feedback from members who appreciate following the creative process to justify running a 'work-in-progress' that takes nothing for granted.

This painting will be on a 30" x 20" pre-stretched canvas. The first task is to select four books that will sit beneath the canvas protecting it when I lean on the canvas. I require this because my work station is a drawing board rather then an easel ~ which I do also use on occasions during the process. Having selected the books, I will now apply an additional layer of gesso undercoat stained with acrylic paint so that I am not painting shades of white onto a white surface, and in order to prevent the weave tooth obstructing a free flow of paint when blending.

Once that is dry - we are prepared and ready to start the next painting.


12-19-2016, 05:28 AM
What about this story for a possible idea behind the painting Chas


I was lucky enough to know Tommy in the last three years of his life..what a wonderful man...there is a section on his work in the Auster

Tommy's first civilian job was as a partner in a London disinfestation business, essentially a rat-catcher, in restaurants and factories. One evening by chance he met James Marr, formerly of Shackleton's Quest expedition, who had lately returned from leading Operation Tabarin, the fore-runner of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey. Marr was recruiting for FIDS. Tommy expressed interest, and some months later he was offered the post of pilot for the survey's work in Graham Land. Tommy accepted, quickly married Nan Metcalf (the sister of a wartime colleague), and managed a brief four-day honeymoon before shipping off to Antarctica late in 1946.

Assigned to Base E, Stonington Island, then the survey's main base, Tommy flew the ski-equipped Auster Autocrat on reconnaissance and depot-laying flights. This lasted only until mid-September. In a joint operation with the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition, the aircraft was forced down by bad weather to crash-land on the sea ice some 60 miles south of base. Tommy, his co-pilot Bernard Stonehouse and observer Reg. Freeman were fortunate to emerge with little damage, but suffered a hazardous week of walking back over shifting sea ice toward base. A fuller account is given in Kevin Walton's Two years in the Antarctic, which properly appreciates the outstanding efforts of both British and US colleagues to find the lost fliers during a week of foul weather. These efforts culminated in their rescue and safe return.

Chas McHugh
12-19-2016, 01:08 PM
Having prepared the canvas with stained gesso; I now create a montage with photographs sized and resized until they work together. At that stage I will have created a new image, and I can then focus on ensuring that light and shade is consistent across the board. I usually use my own photographs but on this occasion the expedition was before I was born; therefore I am reliant on official photographs taken at the time. The collective image will be a new image in its own right.

12-19-2016, 01:39 PM
We really do need a like button. :)

12-19-2016, 03:26 PM
The plane at the top and the one in the montage are different which one do we expect? Love the idea!

Chas McHugh
12-19-2016, 04:48 PM
There were three types of aircraft used on the 1955 expedition:
* Auster T7
* DHC Beaver
* DHC Otter
I will include both Otter and Auster in this composition. The engines were often kept running when away from base to prevent them freezing. Thus the Otter on the ground will be engine running and an Auster will be seen in the overhead.
Both aircraft and SnoCat share common paint schemes with little tonal variation, and there is a danger of too much colour clash. I will include to bare rock in the background landscape to remind everyone that the Antarctic is a land mass unlike the Arctic which is just ice. The Otter was a UK military aircraft and I believe the only example of the type to ever wear a British serial be it military or civil. My only worry is achieving a satisfactory effect to the snow as there is a danger of a flat representation.

12-20-2016, 05:26 AM
We still get the Dash 7 visiting Duxford quite a lot. https://www.bas.ac.uk/polar-operations/sites-and-facilities/facility/dash-7-aircraft/

I must visit the Scott polar museum as well . http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/museum/

Chas McHugh
12-21-2016, 02:41 PM

The De Havilland (Canada) Otter aircraft will be in the centre of the canvas and therefore is the Master element of the ground activities. The perspective lines will in turn dictate a horizon line and a vanishing point that the other ground elements must adhere to for the whole composition to work. On this painting the Otter vanishing point is off the canvas but there are ways that this can be managed such as a line of string. The outline has been done with a fine black drawing pen.

12-21-2016, 03:05 PM
it's a bit round for an auster that buddy it might be me but I think the problems in the cowl !! :lol: gonna be great tho ..

Chas McHugh
12-22-2016, 10:32 AM
Antarctic Survey oil painting 30"x20".
I have added another element of the ground scene with one of two SnoCats. You will see that I have added a (sun/moon) circle. I have to decide whether I want to back light the group or have the sun from behind the viewer. The difference in effect is huge, but neither is necessarily 'better'. A backlight scene makes the snow easier to manage and provides atmosphere - whereas a frontal attack provides vivid colours and high contrast of blue sky against orange machinery. Decisions decisions...


The 'pink' is from an additional gesso layer stained with acrylic red.

12-23-2016, 08:52 AM
Thanks for posting this WIP. It's very informative to see your process and I'm enjoying keeping up with it.

12-23-2016, 12:21 PM
Looking forward to seeing this as it goes along. Great idea for a painting.

Chas McHugh
12-28-2016, 12:02 PM
Trans Antarctic Expedition oil painting: 30"x20".
I have added the Auster today that is the prime subject. It is scaled to be just this side of the SnoCat which places it within the composition as opposed to flying 'out of the frame' i.e. if it stopped and dropped vertically it would land on the snow within the composition. The challenge for me as an artist is to paint the machinery all pretty much the same colour whilst establishing depth. (or distance). There is a way to achieve this that I will mention as I go along.
The question now given that it is a very 'busy' composition: How much is TOO much?

12-28-2016, 01:48 PM
I agree it might be too busy. At the moment with the three objects all more or less the same size there may be ' competition' for the 'star'. I don't think the wing over the snowcat helps, but it is difficult to tell at this stage.

Chas McHugh
12-28-2016, 02:08 PM
Whilst it could end up a drama (& I am overdue one) - it will be a good challenge to get tonally correct. At this time, it is an even playing surface and does look crowded - once tone influences the composition, and deliberately reducing detail with distance, it may work out. We shall see - nobody ever improved by sitting in the comfort zone.

Chas McHugh
01-02-2017, 11:12 AM
Today I created my foundation layer for the skyscape. Initially blocking in the different colours and then spending three hours blending and manipulating into something resembling a skyscape. Usually skies take me many days before I am happy with them, but on this occasion, I am already happy that changes can be made later in the process with glaze alone.
The light source will be close to the horizon off the left side of the canvas creating long but weak shadows and sparing me a titanium white canvas in the name of snow.

01-02-2017, 11:24 AM
Sky's looking good Chas.

01-02-2017, 12:09 PM
Interesting to see what looks a bit like 'Naples Yellow' or such like in the sky. I am Interested to see how you blend that in with the bright colours of the various man made artifacts present.

01-02-2017, 01:02 PM
You may be interested in this site Chas. http://www.golden-hour.com/
It gives you the time the sun sets for the golden hour anywhere in the world. I note that the 'golden hour' is apparently when the sun is roughly 6 degrees above the horizon so that should give you the length of the shadows from wing tips etc given you wish to do it mathematically. Sorry for detail, my maths degree kicks in at times..

Chas McHugh
01-02-2017, 04:39 PM
Appreciate the comment Neil - Thank you.

Ian:- very observant - W&N Naples Yellow (Deep) to be exact. Cadmium Orange will be the primary colour for the machinery. The scene will be backlight - so no pure colour beaming out.

I am a big fan of glazing - and this painting, including the skyscape will be no exception.

Faminz:- Thank you - I will check out the link provided. Should be interesting.

01-02-2017, 05:54 PM
I'm a fan of these types of aircraft, so I'm enjoying where you're going to take this one Chas.

Chas McHugh
01-04-2017, 04:50 AM
Ten hours of studio work and I am ready to start on the machinery. I spent several more hours on the sky despite my earlier comments of leaving the foundation be until much later on.

01-04-2017, 08:58 AM
Looks lovely :)

Chas McHugh
01-04-2017, 11:14 AM
Cadmium Orange is an awesome colour paint to work with - as indeed is any Cadmium colour. Distant snow influenced by low sunlight is a bit trial and error at this stage as the compromise between cool distance and warm sunlight is explored.

Chas McHugh
01-06-2017, 10:28 AM
Antarctic Auster after 18 hours work:

I had a play with various whites to portray snow and decided that I will need the background snow 'whiter' than it presently is. On the SnoCat vehicle I am happy with the dirty snow. The stained area is where I had started the tracks and then then decided that I needed the lettering present; so wiped the paint off.

The composition is not looking as busy as I had once feared and so I think my initial planning will come back into play. This will involve drumstock fuel in the foreground and a second SnoCat in the distance. The fuel drums were painted black with a 'BP' shield on a white square, and so should fit in well with the composition.

Chas McHugh
01-08-2017, 07:49 AM
After 21 hours studio work, the SnoCat is making good progress. The traction bogies are painted naked at this stage without their wheels, tracks or snow; and the reason why is a very simple one: A clash of colours like this will muddy, and an oil painter could very easily lose control of the painting. Acrylic paint dries almost immediately and therefore acrylic painters do not have this problem. This is working around one of the very few negative aspects of oil paint; but in the big scheme of things is deemed a minor irritant rather then a problem.

01-09-2017, 01:01 AM
Dude I get cold just looking at this!

Chas McHugh
01-10-2017, 10:59 AM

After 27 hours work; a little muddying occurred on the tracks - look for the 'ER' of 'TUCKER'. So I moved onto the star of the painting; that being the Auster Antarctic. Any variation of yellow is the most difficult colour for an artist to work with; and so I am working with all Cadmium colours (& Naples yellow dark) which are robust opaque colours that are easy to manipulate. As is always the case; to get the best results takes several layers, but the better the foundation layer, the easier it will be in the long run.

Chas McHugh
01-16-2017, 11:46 AM
34 hours in the studio, and the Auster starts to look like an aeroplane at last. Apologies for the flash bounce at the top of the canvas.

I am using both colour and detail to promote a 3D effect - meanwhile I have to decide whether to wrap up the Otter as if parked for the night, or have it engine running and ready for departure. Either way would work; but having it fitted with its bad weather covers would relegate it to the background and in turn promote the Auster, which may be the better option for the overall composition. Flexibility:- the key to airpower.

01-16-2017, 04:36 PM
That really is becoming a 3d piece of art now ,just coming on a treat.Maybe a small figure actually putting a cover on the Otter,not too detailed but enough to suggest life.

Chas McHugh
01-17-2017, 07:32 AM
A dilemma! How much light will be reflected from the ground? I have decided at this stage to include some degree of shadow based upon indirect sunlight, but depicted with colour change rather then strong contrasting shadows. This can be seen in the fuselage side which is 'light' at both top and bottom yet retains some degree of shadows on the undersides.


Chas McHugh
01-18-2017, 11:41 AM
A satisfying day in the studio today listening to loud music whilst concluding the foundation layer of the Auster aircraft. There are a few frustrating elements that can be improved upon; but not until this layer is dry. Time for the Otter tomorrow, which I will have covered with bad weather protective covers. 41 hours in the studio thus far with this one, and it would be nice if I can finish it before the end of the month.

Chas McHugh
01-19-2017, 11:07 AM
Taking a sharp knife to a canvas IS as risky as it appears at face value. I do this to remove the dried oil paint that has covered my lines to expose the original drawing. This is why the original drawing is done in ink rather then pencil or charcoal as lines in those mediums would have been lost. The reference books beneath the canvas provide resistance and some degree of protection to the canvas. No direct pressure is applied; more a scraping action.
Children:- DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME without parental supervision.

01-19-2017, 01:14 PM
Seeing that photo gives you an idea of the size of the painting.I have found canvases and paint surprisingly durable at times,even a cold cup of tea knocked over on one and it wiped off .
Looks good :)

01-19-2017, 02:14 PM
Brave man. I saw the picture and couldn't fathom how you were using a sharp knife to paint with. Then I read the text and it was all made clear. Love the way this is progressing so far :clap:

Chas McHugh
01-19-2017, 07:02 PM
This canvas is 30"x20" which is smaller than I tend to use these days, and not a 'Golden ratio' size, which I do normally use these days. There is no specific reason why I chose this composition other than my own development. I have never painted a snowscape before and wanted to experiment with light. My wife is calling this my 'Orange phase' as the recent Lancaster also had similar colours in its production albeit at night.

The Otter will be slightly redder in tone than either SnoCat or Auster. The achieve recession, I will be mixing a lot of green into the red which should neutralise the vibrancy. Green being the opposing colour to red on the colour wheel. I will then add tone with perhaps a little cool blue to see if I can get a red shade conducive to distance without losing the 'red'.

On the right side, I will be adding a second SnoCat and encampment. I am considering a low level (middle distance) mountain range in this area, as the difference between the earths poles is rock.

The rear bogie on the left SnoCat was not completed due to paint muddying on the front bogie and an intention to place oil barrels in this area.

If I need foreground detail; I have up my sleeve evidence of a recent smoke grenade (wind indicator) that would have left a stain on the snow, and lingering smoke downwind.

I do not see this painting as having much in the way of corporate value regardless of how well it comes out, but it will have served its job of broadening my artistic horizons and could well be a company Christmas card next Christmas.

01-20-2017, 07:44 AM
just a quick question , why risk the dangers of scraping ? I hold up to strong back light and draw over again or use a Qtip in thinner to remove paint to the lines , but then I paint early layers fairly thin , just looks a risky method . I'd deffinately cut the canvas

Chas McHugh
01-20-2017, 10:17 AM
The knife has a precision tip to it whereas the Qtip would effect a much larger area. To be quite honest; the risk is minimal especially when the canvas is pressed against a background book. Were it to be naked unprotected canvas - there would be a risk of stretching or piercing the canvas:crying: , but I do not consider that to be a showstopper and have done it this way for many years. The other obvious way is to not overpaint in the first place, but then you get 'halo' around the obstacle. Horses for courses.

01-20-2017, 01:10 PM
there is the option of masking with liquid masking which I have used at times or frisket masking ,,, your method certainly works for you though your results speak for themselves when you view them in person

Chas McHugh
01-20-2017, 06:24 PM

Newly armed with my refreshed 'painting by numbers', I can now proceed with the Otter. A much deeper orange than the others that can look red in certain light conditions. The colour that I want can only be achieved with glaze after a base coat has dried - so the Otter will take a while. IPad photo.

Chas McHugh
01-22-2017, 12:08 PM
Occasionally, things do not turn out well. I did not want the Otter competing for primacy with the Auster, and so planned on covering the engine up with bad weather protection to reduce the dynamic impact of this aircraft. The engine cover comes in two parts, an upper and a lower cover - in addition to the props and hub also getting covers. I am not happy with it at all and so have already removed the lower cover exposing the inked drawing beneath. Tomorrow I will paint the lower cowlings and then reassess both prop cover and engine cowling cover. It is a rare day that this sort of thing happens - but happen it does - and tomorrow I will fix it.


01-22-2017, 12:18 PM
How come your painting is so shiny ?

Mine are all matte finish till varnished ... even when I glaze

Chas McHugh
01-22-2017, 12:29 PM
the shiny paint is due to several reasons:

1. The proximity of an artificial 'daylight' light source. (Photo taken after dark)
2. The oil content of the paint.
3. The effectiveness (or not) of the Gesso beneath it.

On this canvas (A W&N 30"x20") that did have an additional gesso layer applied; most of the skyscape has dried shiny. Unusual - and the only difference that I recall was that I used W&N white paint in the mix and W&N tend to have a higher oil content than Rowney do. The exact answer does not lay in any medium employed which would be the logical answer, as I cannot even remember using Liquin which I usually would on a sky.

Chas McHugh
01-23-2017, 10:47 AM

After 51 hours studio time, the major elements of the Antarctic Expedition oil painting are in place. Subsequent to this, further additions are designed to support these three and produce both interest and 3D. The Otter (aircraft on the ground) now needs to be left to cure (oil paint dries by oxidisation) and so I will be returning to the SnoCat and the bottom left of the canvas in the days ahead.

01-23-2017, 07:18 PM
wish I'd timed mine now .. it shows just how many hours go in you're already on 1 and a half working weeks and about half way there

Chas McHugh
01-27-2017, 11:13 AM
Proof:- if proof were needed, that I am not immune from making a right Royal F*^" Up!


When Chris French and Mark Postlethwaite tell you that the perspective is all wrong on the Otter; drastic action is required. Thankfully fresh oil paint on canvas is not so robust that it cannot be removed. Standby for Otter vII.
Note that they share the same starboard wing dimensions; from which you can judge the scale of the issue.

I have had better days :(

01-27-2017, 11:22 AM
Proof:- if proof were needed, that I am not immune from making a right Royal F*^" Up!

When Chris French and Mark Postlethwaite tell you that the perspective is all wrong on the Otter; drastic action is required.
I have had better days :(

not seen Chris's work AFAIK but marks is amazing to watch , he works in acrylics and alters as he goes along , his videos make great watching

01-27-2017, 10:20 PM
Must admit I never liked that otter just there Chas.
The wing over the top of the snowcat bonnet annoyed me somehow.

The rest is looked very good though.

Chas McHugh
01-28-2017, 11:52 AM
............... & recover :) If tomorrow goes as well as today; I will be back on track on Monday.

Chas McHugh
01-29-2017, 09:24 AM

An unexpected very busy 'working weekend'; but now the painting is back on track.

Chas McHugh
01-30-2017, 02:54 AM
Tonal study for reference. The saturated colour of the Otter is a little concern, but I intend to use glaze extensively on this painting, which I think will balance the tone out nicely. The painting from its inception is a tool for learning, and so boundaries need to be pushed.

01-30-2017, 10:16 AM
The Auster is very good, you could easily paint the rest out and just have the Auster on it's own, it's in the right place - position to make a good painting on that canvas :)

But the Otter ..... why did you use a different yellow ?

Surely RAF yellow is the same the world over

Chas McHugh
01-30-2017, 01:04 PM
The Otter is unique as it is the only Otter ever to adorn an RAF 'uniform'. The colour is much redder than RAFTAE orange which in turn is not as 'yellow' as the SnoCats. The De Havilland orange is a factory colour common amongst Alaska/Canadian bush planes in the day. The DHC Beaver that also participated in the Exped was the same reddish orange as the Otter. I don't think that the single engine Otter ever came to the UK.

The Belgian sponsored Otter in the Antarctic was all-over scarlet red.

Publishing a close up photograph of the Otter is very much a déjà vu moment! Only 2 hours studio time today which was spent on the Otter alone. It is proving quite an enjoyable subject t work on - I say before applying the RAF Roundels that need to go beneath both wings. But I will cross that particular bridge when I get to it.

Chas McHugh
02-01-2017, 11:58 AM
I set out with a very optimistic aspiration to have this painting concluded before the end of January; and clearly that was not meant to be. I have to set it aside for a few days as other elements of my artistic career take precedent; but I did manage to spend several hours today on the second layer of the fuel/oil drums and managed to get the first of three RAF roundels on the Otter. The snow in the foreground will eventually get detail in the form of vehicle/aircraft tracks and footprints. To prepare for experimenting with the best way to achieve this, I have laid down a base layer of snow. With another SnoCat yet to come, I think it will be a very busy, but quite interesting work of art at completion. (75hrs)

Chas McHugh
02-07-2017, 03:21 PM

I am sort of on the home straight although battling with 'depth' on a composition void of any of the usual ace cards available to create depth of field.
Not helped by the two aircraft and SnoCat being very close to each other. Hey hoh; it would be boring if not challenging.

Chas McHugh
02-17-2017, 02:38 PM

I had to set aside my Antarctic painting whilst I caught up on a few print shop matters; but after a few hours today, I now have oil paint on 100% of the canvas. I still have much work to do, but composition wise, it needs people.

Chas McHugh
02-19-2017, 05:38 PM
This oil painting now has 88 hours invested in it and it is still far from finished. There were a few ellipses mainly underwing roundels and the Austers prop to overcome; and now only the prop remains. The Otter was given the 'highlight' treatment today, and so the nearest SnoCat much get the same to keep its presence this side of the Otter. A few people remain a necessity.

Chas McHugh
02-22-2017, 11:58 AM

The clothing required for Antarctic conditions does nothing for fashion! .. but at least the painting now includes some human element to it. I am minded to add another person next to the SnoCat; but first the SnoCat itself needs highlights and detail.
30"x20" - 1955 Trans Antarctic Expedition - oil on canvas. [ 94 hrs ]

02-23-2017, 07:15 AM
Just adding those people has bought it to life .

02-24-2017, 06:00 AM
The Auster stands out nicely Chas .

Chas McHugh
02-24-2017, 11:32 AM
Thanks for the comments guys; it was getting a bit lonely on the thread :angel:


The people were a little anaemic; so I darkened their tone with glaze and highlights. I have placed tracks ahead of the Snocat; nominally to show the vehicle sticking to a previously established safe route void of crevices, but the subtle white tracks should prevent a gazing eye departing off the canvas and bring said gaze back into the middle.

03-03-2017, 09:04 AM
Just an idea - if the Auster were to cast a shadow below it - between the viewer and the sno-cat would it help the depth of field effect?

03-03-2017, 11:41 AM
The sun is never overhead down there

With all that snow around reflecting light there are hardly any distinct shadows

Chas McHugh
03-04-2017, 02:54 AM
From the skyscape you can deduce that the sun is low and off canvas to the left. I have opted for long but almost N significant shadows void of any strength. I am presently adjusting the detail levels to exploit 'depth by detail' ie the nearer to the viewer, the more micro detail will be seen. It is a white desert in which (as Gollum has stated) the physics of light plays havoc with convention. In reality it looks more like ice than snow when viewed in person, and water ice rather than aged compact white ice. But the wind is strong enough to blow snow and I am not finished yet 😉

03-05-2017, 12:48 AM
I have to say Chas you always give yourself a challenge. Love the subject in this one. It's coming along very well indeed.

03-05-2017, 06:51 AM
Here is a pic of the sno-cat. I found it on the web, might be useful for reference purposes!

Best of luck with a difficult subject.


Chas McHugh
03-06-2017, 03:26 PM
Oil painting W.I.P. 30" x 20" 1955 Trans Antarctic Expedition.
Now firmly established on the final straight this painting has 110 studio hours invested in it. The purpose of its production was to work off-piste (pardon the pun) outside my comfort zone and challenged by a lack of the usual methods for depicting depth in the white desert that is the South Pole. I am happy that much learning has taken place and therefore no time has been wasted. To that end; I invite any constructive criticism or points of debate. Thanks in advance.

03-06-2017, 03:58 PM
Nothing untoward strikes me Chas . A good result for all your attention to detail I would say.

03-06-2017, 05:11 PM
Can't fault the a/c and Snowcat, the detail is amazing, the lighting works as does the snow. Some how I don't feel comfortable. I dont get a sense of the desolate wide open Antarctic.
Reminds me a bit like the adverts you used to get in 'Flight' and other Mags. at around that time , sponsoring products for the expedition.
I'm certainly not trying to 'knock'it in any way, I couldn't come near as good as this. I just don't think there is enough 'white space'

Chas McHugh
03-06-2017, 06:39 PM
Appreciate the comment Neil - Thanks.

A valid point Jim thank you. Perhaps worth explaining why I did not opt for the usual 'area to facilitate a pause' when viewing or exploring visually the canvas. I did not have the luxury of distant mountains with which to use the typical blue/grey associated with distant landscape, even if I did; a lack of atmospheric polution makes hidden horizons commonplace ( where an internediate area of high ground is lost against a background due to merged colour.

I instead deliberately planned a triangle of ground machinery tapered to a vanishing point about 2" off canvas right on the horizon line. The reduction in size and associated level of detail is all I had to create depth. To this day, the addition of another person in the vicinity of the primary SnoCat may prove essential for a sucessful composition. If you reread this this, you may recall that early on a concern was overcrowding the composition, but I was already caught between devil and deep blue sea.

An interesting side note that you may not have noticed concerns what little shadow is to be seen on the SnoCat in particular. I had initially used tone (or shades of grey) added to orange for the shadow area - I have changed that to the opposite colour on the colour wheel (purples) and I think it looks better. The purple leans towards red. I have not yet checked this tonally to see how sucessful it has worked when using academic considerations.

I may glaze in recirculating snow. The reason is because at the moment the foreground appears more akin to ice than snow and it could do with firming up as snow.

Chas McHugh
03-07-2017, 09:31 AM

Tonal study. I find that when reviewing B&W images it is easier to see if there is anything wrong rather than anything right. This looks ok to me.

Chas McHugh
03-16-2017, 01:30 PM
Still not finished - but getting there. Just some lettering on the Auster to go and the odd touch up here and there.

New canvas awaits :-)

Chas McHugh
03-17-2017, 01:04 PM
123 hours over 3 months and my oil painting of the British 1955 Trans Antarctic Expedition is finished 😀. I was not happy with the propeller yesterday, so changed it today. I will now set it aside for the weekend before (hopefully) giving it the final thumbs up on Monday.

03-17-2017, 04:28 PM
There a huge amount of work in that Chas. It really Is superb.
My eye keeps being drawn along the foreground snowcat roof, along the wings and then along the far snowcat smoke! And that fights with wanting to look at the flying plane. It's like a second horizon. But it's a beauty painting nonetheless. I wish I could do as well. The lighting and colours are wonderful.
Is it for someone?

Chas McHugh
03-17-2017, 08:33 PM
is it for someone?

No; and I reckon it probably has no commercial value either. It was from the onset a series of challenges for me to work with to extend the scope of my own artistic expertise. With virtually no ground based features beyond machinery and snow as far as the eye can see presented challenges with depicting distance. The colour yellow is the most problematic colour in anyone's palette and although the machinery is various tones of orange, similar problems t yellow were present. There were other issues also, and it has been a learning curve with a few blips en-route. I feel it important that we all drift from our comfort zone in medium used, genre, or even subject matter within or 'usual' subjects to enhance our own skills. I have learnt about the Antarctic, and UK Aviation Heritage. I would have liked to have included following circles of condensation behind the Austers prop - but the Antarctic is ridiculously dry ( Relative Humidity of less than .5% ) that such a depiction would be unrealistic. The sun barely gets above the horizon and the snow is only present because there is insufficient heat to melt the little accumulations that fall annually. So it snows lightly and never melts. The temperatures as one would expect are hostile to humans, but I wanted to portray the invisible: Cold and Wind. The 123 hours studio time has been hard work - and not always enjoyable - but I am very glad that I have done it and seen it through.

03-18-2017, 07:12 AM
A good exercise Chas and a good result. The painting could well appeal to someone with an interest in that area /era so don't write it of commercially .

03-18-2017, 12:07 PM
It's still an excellent painting Chas, I don't think you will have much trouble selling it. Have you built up a following at all?

03-18-2017, 03:54 PM
A good exercise Chas and a good result. The painting could well appeal to someone with an interest in that area /era so don't write it off commercially .

03-19-2017, 08:42 AM
Somebody will always be interested in it and even if it doesn't have a huge wide area of interest it may open doors for other commissions.

03-19-2017, 01:05 PM
Been awhile, since I checked in on this thread. I agree, it would've looked extra-spectacular, on a really wide canvas, showing the breadth and width of the Antarctic, but you would've had to add at least another foot or 1/2 meter on either side, to get that effect.

The experienced and knowledgeable viewer, I believe will take that into effect and as a close-up action scene, it is really, an excellent piece!

Chas McHugh
03-20-2017, 03:37 AM
Thank you for the comments, and some valid points raised. Of course Art is a journey in which learning never ends and at a future date I propose to complete a WWII desert scene. Applying learning points from this painting, particulary with regard to giving due regard to the expanse of 'nothing' in the desert is likely to enhance future works, and with any luck, others on this forum can take away some points as well.

05-25-2017, 04:28 PM
This is a really great painting and I would imagine that a yellow aircraft must be the most difficult thing to paint, and get a real sense of weight to it the way you have. This was the first 'Airfix' model I ever built and has a special place in my heart because of it, but it's such a lovely aircraft anyway.

As a newbie, I think this is the best thing I've seen on the forum so far :thumbsup: