View Full Version : C130 Hercules in oils on canvas

Chas McHugh
06-05-2017, 09:24 AM

I have spent nearly a week using Photoshop to plan potential compositions - a week of much frustration I can tell you. But now I am good to go on a prepped 36" x 24" canvas upon which a C130 Hercules is soon to fly at low level past the three sisters of Glen Coe Scotland. My intent is to import the same glazing techniques that I used on the Sea King and combat effective camouflage with a combination of variable seasons and aircraft colours schemes.


06-05-2017, 09:56 AM
Looks a good set up Chas .

06-05-2017, 03:05 PM
Should be a cracker :)

Chas McHugh
06-05-2017, 03:34 PM
Let's hope so; I am off the starting blocks:-http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Jun-2017/984204-image.jpeg

06-05-2017, 03:56 PM
I don't like this :eek: .... it's not in the twin brown camo of RAF transport Command

Ha Ha :evil:

06-05-2017, 04:17 PM
I know the quality of your work here Chas. The Herc is really really close to dead centre canvas. Is that one your intent here? I know you could pull that off much better than I could, but it may be a little concerning.

Anyhow, looking forward to it!

Chas McHugh
06-06-2017, 01:25 AM
Len:- If I do not paint it in a seventies scheme it will only be because of commercial considerations of potential print sales. One of the few occasions when personal and corporate considerations conflict.

Shamrock:- You observe well my friend and the aircraft positioning and scale has been dictated by the landscape. I want the aircraft to be within the composition as opposed to appearing stuck on as an afterthought. There is slightly more airspace ahead of the aircraft than behind but not as much as I would have if it were a solitary aircraft - within which is a strong clue. The RAF often (if not usually) fly Hercules low level sorties in threes approx ten seconds trail.

The obstacles that I hope prove dealt with are:-

1) Risk of tangents from key aircraft points.
2) Verticals in the landscape killing forward movement.
3) Camouflage being 'over effective' destroying the painting.

If you study the background, you may observe a wide range of light and shade, and this is what I will use to ensure that the camouflage is not over effective. An average European day with moderate visibility degraded by precipitation or haze and this aircraft becomes invisible.

So yes the aircraft is positioned in a 'portrait' way, but there will be much more to the composition than the aircraft and you need to consider the painting as a whole. Rules as they say are for the guidance of wise men and obedience of none. I could be playing with fire, but if I am, it has been a considered decision.

Chas McHugh
06-06-2017, 01:37 AM
Here is a tonal study of the reference photograph which itself is a Photoshop montage of two photographs. Also seen is a grid overlay showing the points of 'Thirds'.
You can observe that the centre point is still in the front half of the aircraft.

06-06-2017, 05:52 AM
loving this one already ,, here's the commemorative one I talked about earlier but don't know how that would sit with the tail arts creator.. but it'd certainly add colour


Chas McHugh
06-06-2017, 06:52 AM
I was PM'd by the designer of that scheme yesterday. He was asking if I intended to replicate it on the painting - but that is not my intention.

Chas McHugh
06-06-2017, 08:37 AM
Time spent in preparation is rarely time wasted and after 24 hours the first phase of my oil painting is complete. I am now able to apply paint without risk of losing the composition based upon the Photoshop image presented yesterday. It may look like 'paint by numbers' and I often refer to this phase as such, but in all seriousness, the completed painting is months away working on it most days. 36" x 24".

06-06-2017, 08:49 AM
I was PM'd by the designer of that scheme yesterday. He was asking if I intended to replicate it on the painting - but that is not my intention.

after their cut eh !! :lol:

Chas McHugh
06-07-2017, 02:13 AM
As the paint started to cure late last night; I revisited the sky with a small fan brush to feather the edges in the clouds. The 'skyscape' will now be set-aside until the 'landscape' is complete, and the background as a whole treated with glaze to optimise the effect of light and shadow across the board.

Chas McHugh
06-07-2017, 02:23 PM
In the knowledge that landscaping changes so much as it evolves; I was a little reticent to post this image. However it is important for anyone here who paints themselves to be aware that if intent on using glazing later on; you have to think carefully now how the glaze will effect colour and tone and adjust the base layer accordingly. It is not only Chess players who must think of the consequence of many moves in advance.


Chas McHugh
06-08-2017, 07:21 AM
The ingredients for my work today. The tiny little blob of Quinacridone Majenta at the top is so powerful that if mixed in any amount, it will override all and every colour on the palette. This 'mess' will now become a mountain...

Chas McHugh
06-08-2017, 01:46 PM
If the painting appears a bit too blue on the landscape - I will be glazing it with a glaze based upon Raw Umber - a colder 'brown' than Burnt Umber, which will provide cohesion between all the landscape colours and reduce the blue whilst achieving the effect I desire. Clearly the 'blue' will remain for quite some time yet. I think tomorrow I will do the 'distance' in the bottom right corner whilst giving some serious thought as to what colour scheme I want for the aircraft.


Chas McHugh
06-09-2017, 12:23 PM
A very busy day today going around in circles! Consolidating the left side of the mountain whilst ensuring an even spread of common colours. Also using light and shade to create form (3D effect) - a process that will continue until all the landscaping is completed. Over the weekend I will continue to envelop the aircraft. If I opt for a certain era; the aircraft will need an in flight refuelling probe above the cockpit - a strong horizontal which could assist in combating the landscape verticals which have a habit of killing apparent movement.


06-09-2017, 03:10 PM
I have been waiting ages for the strait line of paint :lol:

06-10-2017, 02:32 PM
I have been waiting ages for the strait line of paint :lol:

he tries not to disappoint !

06-10-2017, 02:33 PM
coming along fast .. ironicly my last couple have gone fast with no real issues either

06-11-2017, 09:57 AM
I am most impressed that you were able to find a photo of an aircraft in flight and a landscape where the light source appears to be in the same place.

Another great painting in the making from the master i suspect :)

Chas McHugh
06-12-2017, 02:15 PM
The ONLY difference between this photograph and the last is a glaze of Raw Umber liberally painted across the landscape and then adjusted in levels by brush with only light and dark as a consideration. Having had a weekend with no painting I used this process to rekindle the mission bubble today.

Chas McHugh
06-13-2017, 07:30 AM

I thought that this stage of the painting maybe of interest because of the different stages visible in one image. The original drawing maybe seen below and right, followed by 'blocking in' colour below the aircraft. The area on the left side has all undergone these stages and is now glazed close to completion. The only possible elements remaining on the left side is if highlights of light or shade require emphasis later in the process.

Chas McHugh
06-13-2017, 12:03 PM

Five hours and one destroyed 00 paintbrush later. Painting in this fashion without using a palette knife is brutal on brushes.

Chas McHugh
06-14-2017, 04:33 PM
I didn't get too much painting done today as publishing took precedence. I am very pleased to see how much progress has been made in just 9 days. The base layer on the right side required no sharp edges and will eventually be lightened with a blue-grey glaze that will create depth of distance.

06-14-2017, 07:50 PM
The land detail from the undercarriage housing back is way too clear and will be distracting .... that part of the second ridge is at least 1000ft > 2000ft farther back into the distance

A bit of ghosting of the second ridge top would be order of the day as well

Chas McHugh
06-15-2017, 01:03 PM
Options time: If deciding which C130 colour scheme is best for the painting wasnt enough; I now have to decide whether to keep the faith with the planned small triangle of foreground, or instead depict the winding river that could be seen if you peeped over the edge and which could well provide depth as it winds on the same mean heading as the aircraft towards the bottom left corner.


Len: Your comments are noted; with thanks. However I am certain that once a dark glaze has been applied and the strong contrasts lost, that the issue you mention will disappear. The advantage of doing the painting this way is that when viewed from an appropriate distance, it will achieve the desired appearance - but when the inevitable viewer views the painting with his/her nose pressed against the canvas - it will still appeal. The contrasts of colour and tone will eventually be much less than that seen at this time.

Chas McHugh
06-15-2017, 02:00 PM

Two tone desert 1969 - 1977 - or..


Euro Green over Grey.

That is the question - if only I knew the answer!!

06-15-2017, 05:10 PM
Me - I'm for the green /grey . To me the desert scheme is too alien to the backdrop .

Chas McHugh
06-16-2017, 01:49 AM
My intuition says that grey over green will be more commercially viable as a print than the two tone desert. Practically the desert scheme being 'alien' to the background makes the necessary contrast with the background so much easier. I wanted to do the desert scheme which is why the flight refuelling probe was not drawn in from the onset. The said probe is a powerful 'horizontal' on a composition with many verticals - that stop motion. The public want green over grey.

I think the green over grey will get it and having considered it; it will bring some of the sky colour down into the canvas contrasted by the shadow of the mountain and so should provide balance of colour across the canvas.

The overcast skyscape means that I can minimise the strength of shadow beneath the light grey wings.
I do like how grubby the fleet looked in its latter days of service. I myself flew from Stornoway to Marham in one (XV187) in 1979, and so I may have a volunteer.

Chas McHugh
06-16-2017, 03:35 AM

The landscaping has not exactly been a 'limited palette' - all of which will be stored away before the aircraft is started as that will have its own palette to encourage tones different to the background. Like all of us (I think) I do have some 'favourites' that end up in all works by default. It is very rare nowadays that I resort to a tube of black paint and pretty much never have pure black on the canvas.

06-16-2017, 06:49 AM
Chas I like the desert version as it adds contrast against the mountains, just my view.

Chas McHugh
06-16-2017, 01:04 PM
Me too Don; but the purchasing public want a green one and I have already sold a print.


Ten days of painting and the end is in sight for the background layer. The painting will then be set-aside for a few days to dry before commencement of the C130 aircraft. 'Street view' on Google Earth provides a useful cross reference regarding the features of the mountain, as you are able to view the scene from many angles. There is a road out of sight but beneath the aircraft. Enter 'Glen Coe' in the Google Earth search engine and then move 4.5 miles east (103`) and you are there.

Chas McHugh
06-17-2017, 12:54 PM
Today the right of the two mountains was glazed and the left side received its base layer - eventually the two will look very similar. The river was added at the base of the mountains - but unfortunately most of it is in a gorge and so not all of it can be seen. The background is not as complete as it appears at face value - but progress is good and well ahead of schedule. RAF C130 oils on canvas 36"x24".

Chas McHugh
06-21-2017, 07:20 AM

RAF C130 Hercules at Glen Coe ~ Scotland.
36" x 24" oil paint on canvas.

Glazing completed, and for now the background layer is completed; and it will not be touched again until the final weeks work if at all. I am delighted with it as upon studying the work you can easily imagine the young and old ferns, heathers, long grass and short, and the ruggedness of the rocks.

I have already had the not unknown: "Paint the aircraft out and its a deal", which is a thinly veiled compliment - I think!

Chas McHugh
06-21-2017, 11:18 AM
Tonal study for reference. The gorge running between the two mountains appears a little too dark - looks OK in colour though, so I will sit on it for the time being.

06-22-2017, 12:41 PM
You have some lines running inline with the bottom of the fuselage

I would change this (break them up) maybe with some rocks/boulders


Chas McHugh
06-22-2017, 04:06 PM
I will revisit the landscape in the final week. Thanks for the observation Len.


Proof that placing a camouflaged aircraft against the very landscape it has been designed to hide against is not always impossible in aviation art. The darker wrap around camouflage that was added in later years would have been a different matter altogether.

06-22-2017, 04:39 PM
Now that takes on a new lease of life

Picking at it again .... take a look at the White Highlighting you have on the Black nose cone ... It looks slightly wrong, probably just a slight adjustment needed but right now it looks way off ... it might be that downward droop of white at the front

BTW ... (Chas knows this) .... when I pick up on something like this & the lines ... it is done in probably the first three seconds of viewing the new image ... anything wrong grabs your attention immediately, the reason why Chas doesn't see things like this is because He has been looking at it for too long and has become accustomed to the image, it's a bit like "not seeing the wood for the trees"

Fresh eye's are hopefully a god send :)

Chas McHugh
06-23-2017, 01:43 PM

A busy day today with a few hours in the studio followed by several hours at the RAF Museum Cosford to collect detailed photographs of an RAF C130 Hercules. The aircraft is presently receiving its base layer which will be built up in exactly the same way that the landscape was. If you look closely, you may be able to see that the planning lines have been retained - not painted over.


06-23-2017, 01:57 PM
Yeh, OK. This is a cardboard cut out of you, I can see the prop behind!. But never mind the painting is looking good and your keeping us entertained and informed , so nobody can blame you for sloping of for a pint!.

Chas McHugh
06-23-2017, 03:19 PM
It is a Friday; and in the finest traditions of the Royal Air Force:

Fish, Chips & mushy peas😉

...... He says whilst downing a glass of Warsteiner. a.k.a. 'wobbly'

Chas McHugh
06-25-2017, 12:39 PM
The working week starts with the base layer of the aircraft fuselage completed. The aircraft will now be weathered, and detail added in the coming days, before glazing later on. The unusual order of painting was dictated by the green being a cocktail of many colours – so many that I could struggle to recreate it – and therefore needed all green parts to receive a base layer before the paint on my palette cured. As the foundation layer of gesso disappears beneath oil paint so does the aircraft camouflage start to become effective; however with the aircraft being backlight from the top left corner, I am happy that I can promote sufficient contrast with the landscaping for it not to be a problem.


Chas McHugh
06-26-2017, 12:45 PM

RAF C130 at Glen Coe Scotland – 36”x24” oil on canvas. The starboard wing (lowest painted one in the composition) is the darkest area of the aircraft, and could have been a little darker than I painted it today. This is not an issue as a dark glaze will collectively darken the area later in the process and reduce the contrast in detail making it less like a photograph but more in keeping with human eyesight, and therefore ‘art’. I have the references available to me to highly detail all of the aircraft; but my objective is to paint what it necessary for a depiction commensurate with the distance from the viewer that the composition demands.

06-26-2017, 04:31 PM
The underside of the STB wing aerofoil section looks more like the underside of a WW1 aircraft where it is curved upwards on the bottom instead of downwards .... it might need tweaking, especially the wing tip

Chas McHugh
06-26-2017, 05:41 PM
The wing tip is not squared off on a C130 and the teardrop tip does give the impression of an exagerated aerofoil section.

Chas McHugh
06-27-2017, 07:45 AM
Today a rather dramatic photograph as the cockpit area receives its second layer, in which can be seen my iPad and a reference photograph in addition to yesterdays working area protected today by taped on kitchen roll. I paint so thinly that the paint is touch dry quite quickly but oil paint is susceptible to smudging for many days. The 'scale' ruler is what I use as a guide for my paintbrush to achieve straight edges, with the brush in physical contact with the vertical element of the ruler.


Chas McHugh
06-28-2017, 12:32 AM

A close-up of the focal area yesterday. It surprises me just how much detail is required beneath the fuselage which will receive my attention today.

Chas McHugh
06-28-2017, 01:39 PM

Now is a good time to consolidate the painting. There is a lot of detail to come in the next few days.

Prop discs! I have tried two different methods now; the first being to paint the background first and then glaze on the disc - the second to paint it from scratch as a fete-de-complete. The first (glazing) method is head and shoulders the better method.

Chas McHugh
06-29-2017, 02:03 PM
Today I was unable to set aside the time required for hours of concentrated detail work, and so instead opted to block in the Port wing. In doing so, I am informed as to just how much work will be required to prevent the (camouflaged) aircraft disappearing into the background. Highlights and contrast will be my friend as I enter the final phase of the painting - the fastest oil painting that I have ever done.


Chas McHugh
07-01-2017, 01:33 PM
Symmetry returns to the painting today as the No1 engine nacelle has been painted. The No1 prop remains outstanding as I am not convinced that it was drawn correctly and so will recheck the draughtsman element before committing to paint.


The next few days will see additional detail and highlights as the point of focus before the addition of a second aircraft approaching from down the valley. The RAF C130 force have a habit of flying at low level with three aircraft in trail a few seconds apart. It is time to start thinking of a title for this painting and the subject matter for the next one.

07-01-2017, 06:49 PM
I have been looking at this for a few days now and something still seems to be missing

I just realised what it is

Flak :evil:

Chas McHugh
07-02-2017, 03:15 PM

Checking the ellipse of the No1 propeller before committing to paint.
This is how I check it; and proof that my intuition was correct. There should be a tiny bit of naked canvas all around the paper ellipse and the error in the central area is clear to see.

07-03-2017, 06:18 AM
Blimey - small details

07-03-2017, 07:54 AM
This painting does seem to be going at a rate of knots, Chas. Are you using any additives with your paint to help the drying times?

Chas McHugh
07-03-2017, 01:26 PM
The rapid progress of this painting is due to several factors: Firstly I must state that the 'hours' of work are no less than at any other time; but the long days of summer and the good fortune to have a very good studio all play their part. I can finish my days work late into the evening and pick it up the following morning as if I had never left. I will not be able to achieve this work-rate in winter even with very good artificial 'daylight' lighting. The factor that really is key; is preparation. I knew exactly where the composition was going even if I had a choice of aircraft colour schemes available until late in the process.


..... and then there were 2! The inclusion of a second aircraft does much to spell out exactly what these aircraft crews are up to as they fly the Glens of Scotland. Low flying is an essential military skill - that it is fantastic fun is a bonus; and most of my own flying has been at low level both day and night (using NVG). The No1 prop has been prepared for attention tomorrow.

07-03-2017, 04:50 PM
The only thing I am not fond of is the loudness of the green in the landscape

But it's well painted :)

Chas McHugh
07-04-2017, 01:28 PM

I am not too keen on the green either if I was honest; but every time I drive into Wales the fields of the hills are this same colour. I think we maybe suffering from the classic childhood indoctrination of the sky is blue and the grass is green - the same one that makes us paint tarmac black when quite often it is a light Teal.

I think that this will be the penultimate full frame photograph of this WIP oil painting as the composition is now complete, and all remaining work involves attention to fine detail. Once that is touch dry; the aircraft will be glazed to unify the aircraft and enhance form (3D shape). It has been a pleasure to paint and in depicting a camouflaged aircraft against a landscape, it is quite ambitious. 36" x 24" oil on canvas. ~ #needatitle

Chas McHugh
07-05-2017, 04:09 AM

To embrace a process of 'continual improvement' is to willingly take (calculated) risks. This morning I have taken a sharp knife to my C130 painting and skimmed the texture that was created when using a palette knife in production of the landscape. The effect of revealing the paint underneath the top glaze in completely random shapes and direction is exquisite, and in a bizarre twist, erasing texture has actually added more texture to the composition. This is one of those moments when I wish you could all come and smell, touch, and peruse the painting from as close as you would wish to.

07-05-2017, 04:41 AM
On other forums on WC this would stand as a finished painting, excellent Chas. I can even imagine a small herd of stampeding Deer!

07-05-2017, 06:41 AM
That (tone & colour) in that little cropped out bit is the colour that I would have chosen for the green

More like a dried out (drought) sun burned grass ....

This one and the Sea King are really good :thumbsup:

Chas McHugh
07-08-2017, 06:01 PM
I am having a few days catching up on life outside the studio and will be ready on Monday to revisit the C130 with fresh eyes. ..... and then out of the blue, this photographs appears:


I can feel some glazing comng on!

07-08-2017, 08:29 PM
Yep ....all the Herkybirds I ever saw were really Grubby

Chas McHugh
07-10-2017, 02:06 PM

'Albert ~ Monarch of the Glen'
RAF C130 at Glen Coe Scotland in oils on canvas 36" x 24".
Good news - It is now signed :thumbsup:
Bad news: It is not yet finished - So near yet so far, and I have to wait until the detail beneath the aircraft is dry before applying the final layers of glaze.

It also needs 'Royal Air Force' writing in tiny letters on the forward fuselage - that will be a joy! I am in two minds whether to add a few birds. It is close enough to the coast to facilitate seabirds or a few buzzards high in the composition. I like to include wildlife if I can in a painting.

Photograph taken outdoors with northern light influence in the hope of accurate tonal reproduction. I have removed some of the glaze on the left slope to exaggerate landscape form.

07-10-2017, 02:22 PM
Looking good :)

07-10-2017, 05:48 PM
How about a couple of Rutting Lesser Spotted Haggi,? Be carefull though, they only inhabit the southern slopes.

Chas McHugh
07-12-2017, 11:15 AM
'Albert ~ Monarch of the Glen'
Oil on canvas 36" x 24".
RAF C130 at low level in Glen Coe - Scotland.
Started 5 Jun finished 12 July 2017.
Limited Edition Print in about a months time.


07-13-2017, 07:39 AM
:thumbsup: Very nice and thanks for all the info and WIP , i really enjoy seeing how a work of art comes from a start and thought /idea right through to fruition. :clap:

07-13-2017, 10:19 AM
Nice end result, good luck with the prints.

Chas McHugh
07-28-2017, 01:38 PM

My artwork and I - the finalé.
'Albert ~ Monarch of the Glen'
Oil paint on stretched canvas.
36" x 24"

07-28-2017, 01:52 PM
Both looking extremely well!

07-28-2017, 02:23 PM
Good looking frame . Sets it off nicely . Good job Chas

07-29-2017, 05:33 AM
Well done ,someone will be very happy with that.

Chas McHugh
09-06-2017, 01:01 PM

It is a rare day when you see me working on an easel in the traditional artistic way; but today the C130 oil painting is dry enough to take a layer of Raw Umber glaze over all of the aircraft. This unifys the colour across the aircraft and makes it much more palatable with the appearance of gallery standard artwork. Glazing is a very important part of my creative process. Just the load ramp lock to add now and the C130 will be ready to go the publisher.

09-07-2017, 12:31 PM
[IMG] Just the load ramp lock to add now and the C130 will be ready to go the publisher.

I thought the one's you sold as prints were printed off by you .... you said you did printing ages ago :confused:

Chas McHugh
09-08-2017, 07:05 AM
I exclusively complete the original oil paintings and Remarque pencil drawings.

Global Aviation Art Ltd is the publisher of which I nowadays share Directorship. I am no longer a one man band but part of a team; that also includes sub-contracted work for tasks outside the creative process. The system works well and means that many domestic tasks that I had to do myself before are now completed by myself and others. The driver is that there are not enough hours in the day for me to be Artist; Publisher, Secretary, Promoter/PR, Salesman, Accountant, Book Keeper, Storeman, and so these tasks are now shared internally or contracted out.

I am still behind the drag curve though as I had previously announced that the reserved C130 prints would be available to customers early in September - and they are not. This is a concertina effect due to the public demand for Sea King prints with Remarque drawings, each of which is at least a days work. I aspire for future growth in Landscape prints born of artwork completed plein air, and I need to be certain that business in the studio does not suffer because I am out on location.

09-11-2017, 09:10 PM
That is a real beauty Chas. Well done!

09-15-2017, 12:29 PM
Don't get around to the sites much now, but do pop in sometimes. Enjoyable WIP Chas and a good finished painting.

Chas McHugh
09-16-2017, 08:51 AM

Cheers guys. Getting the painting accurately reproduced in a print was a mammoth task, but we are there now and the print is published.

09-16-2017, 12:27 PM
I think it looks pretty good

But what twit did the info at the bottom, the formatting is unsightly ... it should have been evenly centralised :(

can you get it changed ?

It should
have looked
like this

09-16-2017, 12:46 PM
Congrats on the print, Chas.
That left justify print does catch the eye.

Chas McHugh
09-16-2017, 02:06 PM
Thank you for those observations. I will look into change. The Title is centred on the image and the text box in turn on the title, but I am sure that given that the text lines are of similar lengths, that to format them on the centre would work.