View Full Version : Supermarine Swift

12-19-2016, 10:18 AM

This is a pencil rough of a composition I think may work. It is inspired by a Korean War picture in Aeroplane of two Sabres on the hard standing with their flaps down seen from the rear. I originally thought of two Swifts in pretty much the same pose but then it left a lot of space above the aircraft to fill with ..something! So I opted for one Swift (image based on a recently completed Airfix kit of a Mk V photographic reconnaissance aircraft) and added a hanger for background (the hanger is a complete fiction from my head - I do intend to bone up on what real ones look like for a more complete picture).

Comments welcome :)

Chas McHugh
12-19-2016, 10:40 AM
It is a pleasing viewpoint of the aircraft. If it were mine, and I had an accurate model to work with, I would jack up the nose wheel slightly and depict it landing. This enables the white 'piano key' markings to be used as a lead in feature and smoke from the main tyres to aid movement and action. The hangar as it stands will wrestle for attention with the aircraft and would be better pushed back if you keep this composition.

You haven't said what medium you intend to use, but if pencil, I would recommend that you accept that panels illuminated by sunlight will be barely visible. Allowing for very light upper surfaces promotes shape or form - 3D if you like. Even markings known to be black are quite light when affected by shape or light.

You mind will tell you that camouflage is consistent in tone, but your eyes will see different. 'Tone' is a greyscale colour between pure white and pure black in increments of usually ten. 3D is achieved by using a full range of tone, and also avoid an outline pencil line.

The positioning of your aircraft within the composition is good. Keep the tail fin one third in from the right and the horizon one third up from the bottom.

12-19-2016, 12:16 PM
Thank you for the advice Chas. Putting the nose up and a runway would obviate the need for the foreground figures which I added for interest - though figures are not my strong point.

I usually start with pencil drawings of the models, which due to eyesight challenges I now tend to photograph first and then print out at a size I can visually comprehend :)

My intention is to eventually produce an oil painting probably about A2 or A3 size. As the drawings develop I get a better idea of what size painting 'fires me up' My range varies from A4 to A1 size canvas or close equivalents.


12-20-2016, 06:56 AM
Will be good to see a Swift painting . Not many of them to be found .
A 2 Sqn ground scene like this would reflect RAFG days . when the Swift found it's niche in Recon.

12-23-2016, 04:55 AM
Here are a few more ideas that take into account some of the comments above. For the two versions of the aircraft landing I thought a wet runway with spray would be quite interesting imagery.

First the background hanger has been removed but the scene remains static


Here I went for a low angle view of a touchdown - but the piano keys idea would not be particularly prominent.


To introduce the runway markings I raised the viewpoint slightly above the aircraft but kept the viewer to the side of the runway. I also put some action in the rudder taking off the aircraft centreline - I presume that pilots would use the rudder during a landing on a wet windy day? (I made a bit of a hash of the LHS wing here but it gives the general idea)


Chas McHugh
12-23-2016, 06:55 AM
Forgive me if I have overstepped the mark; but a picture tells a thousand words. You will see that I have played with your drawing and I would like to explain what I have done and why:
I have resized the page to something more akin to the golden ratio. This is the same X x Y sizing that most TVs use, playing cards, photographs etc etc and is considered to be more compatible with human vision and therefore more pleasing.

I have placed the aircraft with some space to fly into, ie more spaced ahead then behind the aircraft. This facilitates speed and movement and is not required if the aircraft is depicted stationary.

The white runway markings are much larger in size than you had them. By running them off the canvas, they become lead in features that will take the eye to the target (the aircraft).

I have exaggerated light and dark. You will need a set of soft pencils to do this. Outline with HB and also use 2B - 4B - 6B etc to get the darks that you need. Obviously 'light' is the colour of the paper unless a white coloured pencil is used.

I would advise paying due regard to achieving depth of distance and an interesting skyscape; for both can make your drawing.

Use a cotton bud to blend - in turn get yourself a bottle of liquid fixative and with a small (00/0/1) brush, paint the graphite of the pencil. Fantastic results can be achieved with this technique.

Do not be a prisoner to what you know 'should' be present, instead think like an artist about shape (form) light and shadow.

Use spray fixative to finish the job, and keep it forever as reference for where you are in the artworld right now. Sign and date it.
The dark spots are for you to be aware of the Rule of Thirds in which imaginary horizontal and vertical lines from those spots exist. where the lines cross is a focal point of interest. The same lines are good to have as you horizontal horizon and / or where to place verticals such as the tail or glint on the cockpit.

12-23-2016, 12:17 PM
Yow - that is amazing!

The eye of the artist certainly makes a difference.

Many thanks for the feedback, I guess in time my work will rise to these heights - I shall continue to practice practice practice.

I think I will proceed with this image - next step is to work up a colour rough. I usually do that step with watercolour but I now have a set of Graphitint water soluble coloured pencils which I am trying to get the hang of.

12-23-2016, 12:20 PM

You and your help is why many of us are here. Thank you so much for being here and offering advise!

Chas McHugh
12-23-2016, 12:36 PM
I appreciate the comment thank you.
Throughout history Artists have relied on a mentoring program or even a formal apprenticeship, and I don't see that anything has changed. Few Artists look at their own work and seriously think that they could not have done it better. As long as ego is kept in check and the recipient receive in the positive manner in which advice is delivered, we can all help one another.
Many will say that there are no rules in art - which I would not agree with. But I would say that rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of none. In the internet age there is nothing that cannot be researched; but reading is one thing; understanding is quite another. Many years ago some sage advice came my way that a plein air Red Arrows Gnat painting did not have enough green in it: Decades past before I understood what he meant. Mindful of this; if anybody requires clarification on any bullet points, then please ask, for there really is no such thing as a stupid question, and someone will answer.

12-23-2016, 07:53 PM
Chas, thanks for the great breakdown and analysis! I've read it three times already and I'll probably, re-read it again.

"Few Artists look at their own work and seriously think that they could not have done it better."

One thing that helps me, is I envision that a fellow artist or somebody is going to carefully evaluate what I've done. They will spot bad lines, poor perspective or something strange, very quickly!

I'm glad we could share advice, especially from artists, here that are much more skilled than I am.

Thanks and Merry Christmas to all of you!

12-24-2016, 05:34 AM
Gentlemen artists - I think what you have here is a working 'community of practice'. A term much misused and poorly understood.

Such a community evolves from the interaction of the individuals who are part of it. For this reason it cannot easily be transferred elsewhere, or replicated. In effect you have between you developed a culture of sharing and learning through exchange of views, knowledge and experience. It appears restricted to this particular forum on 'wet canvas' from what I have seen. It is not something I have come across elsewhere.

Over the years I have tried a variety of art teachers, and regularly attend an 'art space' as well as being a member of a local art society. In all of these people are nervous of giving offence leading to comments verging at times to being meaningless in their views on a work of art. I suspect the main reason for this is that each person in these groups is working to such a different artistic goal that there is not enough commonality between us to really engage at a meaningful level. My own goal is to become accomplished in what is termed 'representational art', something that was lost in the 'English' art movement during the 'anything goes' period twenty odd years ago. I have yet to meet another person who paints aircraft, or ships etc. for that matter, so most of my art is shared with model builders and r/c fliers.

I have collected by now over 100 books on art ranging from 'how to' through to books on the 'great masters' in my attempts to improve my work. The 'how to' authors such as Gurney and Elliott have made a great impression on my approach. I had hoped that reading and understanding 'great masters' would assist in getting the artists view. That is proving harder, but the kinds of commentary provided in this forum certainly drives my thinking in that direction - and for that reason I really appreciate the support a number of individuals have provided here.

Long may it continue - all the best for Christmas and 2017 to all of you.

12-24-2016, 08:06 AM
^^^^ Agreed 100% Good CONSTRUCTIVE Criticism is the best especially if it can be shown and explained -the best.

I sometimes post on the wetcanvas WIP forum and some of the people who comment on their are simply brilliant at explaining but sometimes you do get those who get "offended" and really only wanted to hear the "how wonderful " type comments even when it isn't.
I love learning and to do from those who are willing to teach THANK YOU.