View Full Version : Scottish RAF Buccaneer in oils on canvas 97cm x 60cm

Chas McHugh
07-19-2017, 03:02 PM

I have a plan that will see an RAF Buccaneer at low level in a dynamic right hand turn with airbrakes deployed overhead a well known landmark. If I pull it off; it will be an awesome painting. I have just discovered that the Mona Lisa had between 25-40 thin layers of paint akin to glazing. I will be in no rush to finish this work as I too will be working in layers experimenting with cocktails of colour and tone. The sun will be out of picture left and the Loch will present depth of distance of to the right. The aircraft topside will be illuminated by sunlight. As is usually the case; I will invest as much time as it takes to prepare for the painting phase before committing to paint.

07-19-2017, 04:16 PM
Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle. Or Eilean Donan, are a couple of sites I had in mind for the same kind of painting, however, I settled for 'The Old Man of Hoy' but the main theme was the scenery the Bucs just happened to be passing . A friend of mine Mike, ( no names no pack drill) reckoned he did exactly the same in an AEW Gannet. When he saw the painting.
Looking forward to the progression.

Chas McHugh
07-20-2017, 01:47 PM
Eilean Donan Castle by Kyle of Lochalsh - Scotland

I have spent all of today in the Publishing studio today refining the imagery for the upcoming Sea King print; but did manage a little time to position the castle and draw the aircraft camouflage on the Buccaneer painting. The castle - or rather fortified house - is built on a small island linked nowadays to the mainland by a footbridge. The property is not actually as old as it will appear having been rebuilt from ruins in the early twentieth century; so what you will see will be less than a century old.
97cm x 60cm (to be*) oil paint* on canvas.


07-20-2017, 03:04 PM
Look forward to seeing this progress :)

07-21-2017, 04:52 PM
Likewise :)

Chas McHugh
08-01-2017, 03:53 AM
We win together ~ We lose together:
…and we learn more from mistakes than success. I had painted a base layer for the skyscape using Liquin as a painting medium. The result was akin to a layer of highly polished plastic that was very reflective; and as such, no good to me. The solution was to use medium grade sand paper to prepare the surface for another coat of paint and effectively write-off the base layer. Liquin is excellent in expediting the drying process; but I have discovered one of its foibles and therefore will continue to use it cautiously. The 'cloud' in the middle is paint dust.


08-01-2017, 06:26 AM
Using Liquin for the first coat is a No No

It is opposite to Fat over Lean & the last thing you want as a base coat is a Gloss coat

Chas McHugh
08-02-2017, 09:35 AM
There is nothing wrong with using Liquin as a medium if used in moderation. I believe that the mistake I made was in using too much when perhaps a combination of Liquin and/or Turpentine/Linseed oil would have been a wiser decision. I have used Liquin before without resulting in a high gloss finish; but for sure on this occasion the (overnight) dried paint was mirror-like.

Now that I am working in the studio every day; and pretty much all day - every day; I have concerns about air quality and toxins. Liquin; whilst potentially the cause of an allergic reaction is the least toxic medium that I have presently come across. Gamblin seem to be the fleet leaders in producing non-toxic mediums, yet I have never purchased a single Gamblin product.

I would whole heartedly agree that a glossy base coat is a drama.

08-06-2017, 10:07 AM
Gamblin has one that I recommend Charles - Neo Meglip. Fast drying for oils, generally in a 12-36 hour range for my experience and it is good for glazing approaches. Give it a try sometime. I think it would work well for you.

Chas McHugh
08-08-2017, 01:05 PM
I have applied a replacement layer to the sky obeying 'fat over lean' by using linseed oil only. I am happy with this as a base layer but must wait now to see if the oil paint dries in a robust manner. I have had experience many years ago of recycling a canvas and the new layer had little adhesion to the canvas and could be rubbed off. If in a few days I am happy that this layer is here to stay, I will continue with the painting. In the meantime I have a lot of commissioned pencil work to be getting on with.


Chas McHugh
08-09-2017, 12:22 PM
The good news today is that the sky has good adhesion with the surface below; and so the painting is a 'go', which is very pleasing. After a morning of corporate administration, there was insufficient time to complete another Remarque drawing, so instead I applied some middle ground to the Buccaneer oil painting. This layer is over saturated deliberately as it will be collectively glazed over later in the process and contrast will be lost in the process. The advantage of this process is that regardless of how far away from the finished painting a viewer is, the level of detail is sufficient to captivate interest. The island castle will be painted with a 'warm' palette that will ensure a good 3D effect with depth of field. As military aircraft are rarely* warm in colour, I instead rely upon size creating impact. (* They are effected, stained if you like, by low in the sky sunshine that is very 'yellow' .)


08-09-2017, 12:32 PM
I would have put the castle or whatever it is 6>8" more to the right so you have a bit more weight on the right hand side of the painting :smug:

Chas McHugh
08-09-2017, 04:31 PM
The composition is in keeping with the Rule of thirds. If I moved the castle right it would sit centrally within the composition and incur two negative attributes. It would make the aeroplane appear to be stuck on a stick and also the format of an 'L' shape made from aircraft and castle would stop dead any impression of movement. This is why on my dambuster painting; I had to move the dam down and left from the aircraft nose.

I have plans or the space on the right side that involves a wingman. I have not yet drawn it in because I want to optimise effect based upon how near or far the second aircraft needs to be. This judgement call will be made much later in the creative process.

The real challenge wil be to retain focal primacy on the primary aircraft when many viewers will be attracted to the castle.

I also want to have some blue in the sky in order to have a patchwork of light on the landscaping and the water.

Chas McHugh
08-18-2017, 05:15 PM

As children, we are told that the sky and sea are blue, the sun yellow, and the grass green. As an Artist, I need to see far deeper into the landscape than that, and understand the effect of variable light and the four seasons. So today I journeyed into North Wales and the Snowdonia National Park, where the heather is in flower casting swathes of magenta, purples, even reds into the vista depending upon sunlight and distance. The information gathered will be incorporated into my Buccaneer painting with its Scottish landscape. I could have resorted to my photographic archives - but the camera can and does lie, if we assume that the human eye has primacy over accurate vision. One thing that I did observe today was that at this time of year, nothing I saw was available directly out of any one paint tube - everything needed to be a cocktail of colours. Very little of what I saw could be categorised as a shade (+black) or tint (+white) of a colour straight out of a tube, meaning that everything required tone (greyscale) adding to it in a lessor or greater degree. I guess my rare day out of the studio could be classed as homework, and certainly essential homework at that.

08-19-2017, 05:30 AM
Yep - we never stop observing , learning , developing .

Chas McHugh
08-31-2017, 12:12 PM

Back to the Buccaneer oil painting after an extended period of pencil works. Lots of palette knife work on the middle landscape yet void of any real detail despite first appearances. The landscape on the centre of the canvas is too dark tonally and so in the process of change I will add some detail before finally glazing to recapture distance.

Chas McHugh
09-01-2017, 11:08 AM

Working left to right across the canvas so that I do not accidently smudge wet paint. The sky and centre landscape is dry. Concentrating at this time on aircraft form (or shape in English!).

09-01-2017, 11:39 AM
Looking really nice ,it's great to see how people work and in a photo like this it shows the scale of it as well :)

Chas McHugh
09-01-2017, 02:17 PM
A marathon day painting in the studio today getting the base layer for the aircraft completed. I had to do it all as the paint used was a complicated cocktail of colours that I could not guarantee replicating tomorrow. Eagle eyed observers may note that many of the reference ink lines remain visible - this is because the second layer will be highly detailed and frankly, I need those lines. The aircraft has stainless steel leading edges on the wings that I will paint at a later date - these and also a condensation that I propose to employ will guarantee separation from the background. This is essential as camouflage works against an artist in a composition such as this, but the solution was made before I began,

Chas McHugh
09-04-2017, 11:41 AM
One of the differences between amateur works and professional works, is the Artist knowing when to use 'Lost edges' or blending colours to erase hard edges. As can be seen here; for me this involves colour matching both sky and aircraft to soften the edges. The mountain edge at the bottom will in turn be repainted much lighter in tone and receive the same 'Lost edge' treatment. If you visit an Art Gallery and study the artworks, you may notice that 'hard edges' are actually quite rare. This technique is much easier when painting 'wet-on-wet' (paint), but that was not feasable for me when painting the vastness of the skyscape. - Remembering that this canvas is 97cm wide.

Chas McHugh
09-05-2017, 12:05 PM

Awful daylight conditions today in Shropshire; but that did not stop me painting the interior detail of the cockpit. The canopy being transparent in reality, will be glazed reflecting the sky - but to make it really effective, I wanted some detail to be visible underneath. So I painted it a little on the dark side knowing that the light tones of the glaze will change it once this base layer is dry. On the computer screen can be seen one of the many photographs that I cross refer to when painting the aircraft.

Chas McHugh
09-28-2017, 01:03 PM
I am completely repainting the aircraft and not moving forward until I am happy with it.


The nose area and port wing have been repainted; and the rest will follow in the coming days.

Chas McHugh
09-29-2017, 12:57 AM
The repainting 'upgrade' started with lightly sanding the old wing - the spots being due to the weave of the cotton canvas. This provides a texture (or bite) for new paint to adhere to.

The logic behind this radical treatment is to best exploit every trick in an Artists bag:- specifically warm (near) colour v cool (distant) colour, in addition to more detail near v less distant (detail being inclusive of the delineation between colours). Soft edging on the far wing v possibly hard edging on the near one (I am having a think about that one).

The trigger was that after a longer than desirable absence from the painting, a return without rose tinted specs showed that the aircraft appeared 'stuck on' rather than an integral part of the painting.


09-29-2017, 07:00 AM
It's not the Bucc it's the background, it is the wrong backdrop for a fast aircraft, too many hills - steep cliffs - too much clarity and detail

You need to motion blur the background for a pic of a fast jet that is flying close to the backdrop

It would suit something like Avro 504K (or) Vickers Vildebeest much better

A Chinook would suit this backdrop

Anyhow a Bucc needs to be over the sea and in RN colours :p

09-29-2017, 08:39 AM
Anyhow a Bucc needs to be over the sea and in RN colours :p

Here,Here, the name should have been changed when it went ashore. 'Footpad', 'Highwayman' or even 'Scallywag'!

Chas McHugh
09-29-2017, 12:15 PM

This phase involves working on the painting upside down to avoid paint covered hands, arms, and clothing from wet paint. Happily colour matching the sky is proving to be straightforward with paint mixed on the palette and then fine tune matched into the background colour on the canvas itself.

10-07-2017, 08:41 PM

Chas McHugh
10-08-2017, 03:03 AM
Gollum:- I am afraid that there is no update. I have released two new prints in the last two months (Sea King & C130) and demand for Remarque drawings on those prints is particulary high. Whilst I am engaged in publishing I cannot also do painting as there are only so many hours in a day. I did foresee that this was likely to happen, and whilst I prefer time spent working a canvas, my customers have precedence regarding my time management. I already know that it will be November before I can actually get any further painting done and potentially even further down the road than that. I have already taken reservations for Buccaneer prints and warned customers not to expect print availbility in time for Christmas. If the Buccaneer painting is finished by Christmas I will be very happy about that.

10-08-2017, 06:33 AM
Ok :)

10-08-2017, 07:20 AM
:) The price of success --but it is all in a good way ,without one there isn't the other. :)

10-09-2017, 12:45 PM
Progress is looking good, Chas. These Bucs are a very curvy plane to draw. I could be way off base but the intake on the engine appears to be not quite right to my eye. The oval appears to be slanted slightly back. I've attached a 3D model in a very similar attitude. I find they're good for checking roundels and the ovals of engine intakes. I always have problems drawing them myself. Sounds like your print business is doing well, congrats on that.

10-09-2017, 02:25 PM
Wrong Mk. This is one of the early Mk 1 Gyron Jnr powered. With the small circular intakes. The Mk2was Spey powered with bigger oval intakes.

10-09-2017, 05:41 PM
Wasn't talking about the size of intakes Jim, or even the shape. To my eye the intake on Chas's painting appears to slant back slightly. I posted this to show the angle of the opening.

10-10-2017, 03:43 AM
Sorry, but I'm at a loss to understand how using a circular shape to illustrate something oval works. It is two different a/c .

10-10-2017, 09:57 AM
I think i see what is meant so i hope this is ok.I think it is the slant /angle at the opening of the intake.
No offence meant ,just the way i interpret it.:) Apologies for the squiggly line ,just to show the angle.


10-10-2017, 12:26 PM
Thanks Trumper, that is what I meant. It may just be an optical illusion, but it caught my eye. Easy for Chas to check.

10-10-2017, 01:41 PM
I knew what you meant, but just couldn't understand why, as an example you used a diferent shape, and diferent a/c.
To ge back to the original post. I must admit that I really can't see anything wrong with the intake. However I often miss small glitches, so I'll leave it in the very capable hands of Chas.

10-10-2017, 03:02 PM
I've tried setting up my 3D S2 to this angle but it's very difficult to match a view to a ref photo exactly . The closest I got suggests that Chas's oval may be very slightly tilted back towards the top but I suspect it's something minor that will come right as he rechecks the key points to the reference .

Chas McHugh
10-10-2017, 07:40 PM

I very much appreciate the feedback here. Looking at this photograph and using the ejection seat warning badge to establish a vertical, it does look like the intakes are angled in an unexpected fashion. I will look long and hard at ensuring it is right on the painting before Completion.

10-11-2017, 02:50 PM
Chas ,i hope you don't mind.I went to Duxford today where they have a Buccaneer so i took these.I hope they are of use.They are resized for the forum but if you need them bigger let me know , Cheers :)






10-11-2017, 02:51 PM

10-11-2017, 05:31 PM
For what it's worth . I got intrigued trying to match my 3D Blender S2 to Chas's pic . Without specific camera /scene measurements it is nigh impossible to exactly replicate a photo but you can get close . This was the best I managed . The red ovals are 3D objects I fitted to the intake mouths and after hiding the rest of the model you can see how they line up with the drawing in the other photo . I'm not saying my model is accurate , the plan I used might be wrong or I may have got the modelling a bit out but I know it is fairly accurate.
Any mismatch is down to my positioning of the model and distancing the camera etc.

Chas McHugh
11-03-2017, 11:43 AM

A five and a half hour marathon painting session on the Buccaneer oil painting today to get it back on track and use contrast to achieve a 3D effect. Still lacking in detail; at this stage all that is important is shape and tone. The reason for the cut off line is because there is little point in my being engrossed in the castle architecture until I am happy with the aircraft and distant landscape. The headland is rich in chroma, and will need desaturating to push it back.

Chas McHugh
11-07-2017, 02:22 PM
inside the studio at 4pm & I am losing the daylight to paint without the assistance of artificial 'daylight' provided by supplementary lighting. Normal domestic lighting is very yellow in appearance and effects accurate paint colour mixing. This set-up is not ideal but does permit areas being worked on to be completed before closing the working day. Note also that despite the cold of an English winter; the window is open and the fan is on. Toxins associated with using turpintine feature highly on many Artists minds nowadays; including myself. Next to the fan is a newly installed Air Purifier that has hot and cool options, meaning that I can leave the window ajar which is by far the best method of maintaining air quality.


11-08-2017, 07:07 AM
Very nice :) When we walk around different places and think "ohh we could move here ,it's even got a spare area for you to paint in " :)

Chas McHugh
11-08-2017, 09:20 AM
When we bought our property (c2000) the shopping list of features included a future creative area squarely in the 'essential' list - and there are three properties we looked at within 100 yards of where we now live; all of which met that requirement albeit in different ways. There is one that would have been better had I wanted a 'shop' gallery, but the house with it would have been a money pit. All things considered; we have the optimum property for our needs; and I will never move - which I also said in 2000.


I have issues depicting movement against a landscape with a 'static (clearly)' recognisable castle that is a secondary focal point within the composition. This painting has been troublesome on several levels despite having a clear plan when it was initiated. The most productive thing that I have done thus far is bin my reference photographs and treat it as Artwork rather then photographic reproduction.

The aircraft has two layers yet to come: Detail and Glaze; but I cannot do either whilst all around is wet paint. It is probable that in the coming days I block in the bottom half of the canvas with a foundation layer of paint. It is common knowledge that I work in sectors; and that it frustrates some of our brethren, but that is the way I do my business, and it works for me.

11-08-2017, 09:32 AM
:) Well done , more than one way to skin a cat [apparently :) ] .I still have to win the lottery though.

11-08-2017, 12:58 PM
I would say that's coming together well now. So far the movement of the plane is good. Doesn't matter your work methods, the end result is what matters. Tell me Chas, do you ever get sunny skies in your area? I always hear how bad the weather is. I just got back from Arizona. I think I should have stayed there as we're into the cold dreary weather now ourselves.

11-08-2017, 02:17 PM
The advice I got in the Structured Critique section on here helped me . To summarize ... the aircraft is your focus of attention and in clear view . Everything else is somewhat out of focus . In addition push your contrasts to make the a/c stand out . Some vapour and vortices will aid the speed effect .

11-09-2017, 06:48 AM
Looking forward to this one. Do you draw your aircraft by hand? What is that little sketch on the bottom right in the very first image? Looks like some sort of a plan for the painting. Could you please share details?

Chas McHugh
11-09-2017, 09:19 AM
Below you can see the planning sketch to which you refer and also my idiots guide to composition planning. This methodology may be counter intuitive to many artists who are content to have happy accidents in their final artwork; but you can see that mine are very academic from the onset. Scale of the different components and how best the effect of light can be optimised are important factors even before the drawing pen that I use to layout the composition is anywhere near the canvas. I would like to say that planning such as this means that I do not encounter curve balls during the painting process; but that is not the case. I do however have a vision from the beginning of where it 'should' conclude. A caveat is that size is relative to distance in most regards; and I had planned on a second aircraft in this painting - which I will not activate until I am sure that it will contribute positively to the overall image rather then overcrowd it - or as I heard on this weeks Landscape Artist of the year TV program:- compromise room for the painting to breathe!


Gray:- Thank you for your comment. European art is quite different from our Transatlantic cousins because the daylight we 'enjoy' tends to be somewhat different. Hence we tend to use subdued earthy colours rather than the bright colourings often associated with US artists. I guess we are influenced by what we see outside; I know I am, and often by the 'season of the moment' - such as painting my Antarctic scene during the mid-winter. Another factor near to the surface is trying to avoid repetition when painting subjects such as WWII that have been painted to death by others; and avoiding the twee biscuit box lid / model kit compositions. The extreme is to have lots of foul weather such as can be found with one particular aviation artist; however I once overheard an observer state that if he was buying art for his walls, he was not going to have a miserable day staring at him everyday.

Neil:- All noted - thanks.

11-09-2017, 12:36 PM
;) Can't wait to see Nessie appear :)

Chas McHugh
11-09-2017, 02:17 PM
That is actually arches on a bridge - but I got a bit carried away :thumbsup:

You never do know though :eek:

11-09-2017, 03:28 PM

Chas McHugh
11-11-2017, 09:16 AM
Scottish Buccaneer oil painting 97cm x 60cm.
The verticals within the castle risked stopping the momentum appearance of the aircraft, and so I have used minimum contrast within the walls. Happily; I have depth and distance now added to the composition without losing the speed, and more importantly - the end of the process is now in sight.

11-11-2017, 01:14 PM
Looks set to turn out well Chas.

Chas McHugh
11-11-2017, 02:21 PM
Thanks Neil.

I must also thank Len (Gollum) for the butt kick earlier in the thread that forced me to reevaluate the direction in which I was headed with fegard to the relationship between aircraft an background.

....& Trumper for taking the time and trouble to provide photographs.

....& Gray for raising the issue about the intakes. I have changed them a tiny ammount; but sometimes little things look larger than they really are.

All very much appreciated guys; Cheers.

11-11-2017, 05:21 PM
It is looking better now you have misted out the background and far hills

I know it is difficult to get the lettering right but you really should practice writing ROYAL NAVY in white for your next painting :evil:

Chas McHugh
11-14-2017, 10:04 AM

Although my oil painting requires much detail on the aircraft, and glazing across the board; I am optimistic of finishing before the end of the November. It is a Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer at low level near the Eilean Donan castle in the Highlands of Scotland. https://m.facebook.com/aer0art

11-14-2017, 12:32 PM
This is looking really first class, Chas.

Chas McHugh
11-16-2017, 09:05 AM
Although I do not yet have 100% paint coverage; this is an important moment, as with all four corners painted, I can assess the likely track across the canvas that a viewer will take. The bridge and lighter foreground waters will lead 'you' to the castle - but it is the aeroplane that I want your eyes to travel to. You can view the castle afterwards. :clear:


11-16-2017, 10:55 AM
Looks good from here.It is at this point i would be worrying incase i made a boo boo ,but i guess that's one of the hardest lessons ,not to be frightened to make a mistake.

Chas McHugh
11-16-2017, 11:31 AM
I did make a mistake by over using Liquin on the first sky - that was subsequently sandpapered off and re-laid. At that time I thought long and hard about whether to continue or set it aside. But as long as the composition works - errors in the painting process can be managed. What continues to make me nervous is the application of over wing condensation; which on the Buccaneer begin at a line just aft of the leading edge. It will either look awesome or a complete disaster. The good news is that by using glaze; I can apply as much or as little as I choose on the day. That will be one of the final elements of the painting as the aircraft needs normal glazing applying first.

If you visually dissect the painting from the bottom left corner through to the top right corner; you have a 'busy half' and a benign - almost restful area. I have to decide whether to insert a second aircraft into the benign area at some distance away. If such action would not contribute to the image - I will leave it out and concentrate instead on improving what I already have.

I guess in summary; it looks just about done and yet there is so much more to come.


Always worth checking your painting tonally - and there are some areas needing attention - which glaze will deal with.

11-16-2017, 01:14 PM
Even if you look at the Bucc first the castle distracts your attention in a few seconds (because it has more contrast) it needs softening more

And in colour & B&W it is not yet sitting in the water

Some activity on the water would add interest .... a few little boats or more birds taking flight

Looks good in greyscale though :)

What is that under the wing ... wassit carrying ?

11-16-2017, 01:31 PM
The Wassit carrying ?

If it's the fuel tank the shape doesn't look quite right
A strake running to the very nose tip ?
And it come up too early at the rear end

If it's the Tank


Another Niggle .... the jet efflux on the Bucc spreads out & downwards very quickly, even at full speed the smokey wash spread is visually obvious by the time it hits the airbrake area ..... it really was that quick to spread out as the tail pipes were spread outwards


Chas McHugh
11-16-2017, 03:10 PM
The carrier for the underwing fuel tank is a bizarre shape and far from normal. I think that tank and carrier must be a combined one piece unit for the front of the carrier envelopes the tank in an oblique wrap around fashion, and fairs like a wide spoiler into the leading edge of the wing.. Therefore when seen at ground level; some of it is hidden and of course we are all familiar with standard carriers with horizontal bottoms to them. To complicate it further; the South Africans, and I think the Royal Navy, had larger or rather longer tanks - the expansion being forwards. If you could see it; the tank is faired up into the wing itself at the rear - not 'hung'.

In summary:- from ground level the tank appears to protrude forward of the 'carrier', but when seen at this angle, they look quite different. The outboard pylons are presently vacant, and I think I will keep it that way. The RAF Buccaneer squadrons were pigeon holed 'Nuclear Strike' or 'Maritime - anti-shipping' and of course I want to sell Limited Edition Prints. By committing to a specific role I start limiting my potential customer base. This bit me big time with my Chinook print way back in 2004:- It sold really well to 18 Sqn and ex 18 Sqn guys; but 7 & 27 Sqn guys wouldn't touch it!

A panning out of the jetwash is on my to-do list.

11-16-2017, 05:20 PM
The RN tanks were longer but they still had the same faired in shape

As for the jet wash :thumbsup:

And as too the role and squadron ... well you cant please em all can you :)

11-17-2017, 05:51 AM
I've read the above ref wing tank . Looking at the GW photo and the cutaway I think the front of the tank still needs to stretch a little further forward of the longest part of the carrier . Either that or shave a little off the forward long edge of the carrier .

11-17-2017, 06:13 AM
We did trials with the Mk2 on Ark Royal. There were problems with the drop tanks. We lost one a/c off the catapult. The nose pulled up then it rolled inverted and went in. They were grounded for a while. We then embarked a senior RAF test pilot from Boscombe Down, who promptly did exactly the same. If I remember right all the aircrews were lost. We were told there were problems with the drop tanks and the 'hands off' launch controls
The next time we flew them they had the faired in tanks, and it seems the problem was fixed. Like Len I think the front should be slightly longer.

Chas McHugh
11-17-2017, 10:08 AM
For numerous and various reasons, this oil painting has thus far taken 4 months to complete; longer than the last two paintings added together! Today all of the canvas has paint on it which is a welcome milestone in its progress. Future focus falls into three layers: 1) Detail - 2) Glazing and finally 3) Highlights and shadow. Before I can start that process, I need to leave it to dry for a day or two. I am very pleased with it, especially as I am confident that a Limited Edition Print of it can be produced in time for Christmas.


11-17-2017, 12:46 PM
Which Christmas :evil:

Chas McHugh
11-21-2017, 06:00 AM

Once the canvas has total coverage of paint, changes in the final phase of production, tend to be quite subtle. You can however see the condensation building up on top of the wings and a more effective jetwash behind the aircraft. Gulls and geese have been added in the middle ground disturbed by the predatory shape and associated noise of the fast low flying aircraft. My attention will now turn towards the castle to enhance detail without changing primacy of subject. Protocol states that an oil painting should be viewed from no less than 10` - but viewers invariably come much closer and lots of close up detail without over-working helps retain interest.

11-21-2017, 07:47 AM
Love the low mist on the water.
I remember being 'standby' fire crew at Lossie, we were turned out to assist the Durty crew to clear the runway after a Buccaneer had landed into a flock of Gulls which had been huddled on the runway. This was 2am, and they reckon more than a hundred birds were involved. We spent about an hour chasing and 'despatching' injured birds. The a/c suffered major damage, I think both engines were written off along with the crews underpants.

Chas McHugh
11-22-2017, 11:17 AM
Mother Nature is doing me no favours today insofar as there not being any daylight of significance in England. Using a magnifying glass and daylight bulbs working at the drawing board takes on a surgical like appearance as I repaint the castle with micro details surrounded by reference photographs from different viewpoints. I am using slightly warmer colouring to bring the castle 'island' forward a little. The concertina effect of this maybe a need to increase the contrast/saturation (chroma) of the aircraft - which I will assess once the island is done.


Chas McHugh
11-23-2017, 10:34 AM
This photograph was taken indoors and so may appear a little different to previous ones. Today I have good news and bad: The good news is that I am happy with the developing island and the apparent texture achieved by painting in tiny dots on top of the base layer. The bad news is that I have found a new air to ground photograph, and the bridge possibly needs realigning without the bend. This will be major surgery; and so I could do with cross checking further photographs before commencing remedial work.


11-23-2017, 11:09 AM
I've sent you a link on FB to an Eilan Donan Castle's photo which may help.

Chas McHugh
11-23-2017, 01:38 PM
Thanks Neil; I have it.

11-24-2017, 08:54 AM
The Wassit carrying ?

If it's the fuel tank the shape doesn't look quite right
A strake running to the very nose tip ?
And it come up too early at the rear end

If it's the Tank

My apologies for entering this conversation late - been distracted with portraiture. If it helps here are some pics of the Airfix 1:72 scale Buccaneer. It may give some insight into the fuel tank appearance.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Nov-2017/1985972-Buccaneer_ref_1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Nov-2017/1985972-Buccaneer_ref_2.jpg

Chas McHugh
11-28-2017, 09:54 AM
Thank you for the photographs:- I have double checked the fuel tanks with my reference, and shaved off a fraction from the fairing and extended the bullet by a tiny bit.


The bridge has been realigned and corrected. Now the 'composition' is completed; and all that is left is appropriate detailing across the entire canvas. The painting could be finished as early as this coming weekend.
I was originally going to add a second small aircraft in the distance; but I am not sure that it needs it. I will however have a play with Photoshop before deciding for certain.

Chas McHugh
11-28-2017, 11:37 AM
The option:


11-28-2017, 12:47 PM
It's flying at the wrong angle and direction .... but Buccs as far as I know always flew in pairs

You need a better angle ...

If you cant find a photograph go to youtube and watch some videos ... one is bound to be flying in the right direction on at least one video & it doesn't need to be a close up does it

Chas McHugh
11-28-2017, 01:22 PM
I know from my own military flying that pairs often split to engage individual targets and RV at a predetermined time, or continue as singletons. This frequently involves becoming unsighted of your playmate. This scenario is why the airbrakes were deployed on my primary aircraft - the number 2 has the responsibility of rejoin timing - but if the leader is late than a temporary anchor is thrown out within another pre determined timeframe of +/- seconds. ....and so to have one aircraft slowing at the same time that a partner is shovelling the coals is within the realms of the possible, especially when (as is here) terrain screening is involved. The castle is set at the junction of three Lochs; and a climbing right turn onto north is suggestive of RTB to Lossiemouth at medium level. Apparently full airbrake deployment is to lose 150kts within 10 seconds, and so airbrake deployment would have been reversed pretty much straight away.

Artistically: I am very aware of attracting unwanted tangents between a secondary aircraft and distant landscaping. This would influence positioning if I opt to go ahead with a secondary aircraft.

11-29-2017, 07:31 AM
Purely on a first look and instinct it sits uncomfortable with me ,the angle is fighting the view.
If you put it further away and lower over the birds it may help ,it would show why the birds were flying and the nearest aircraft coming round to intercept it.
As it stands now the eye doesn't even see the castle.

I am no good with computers so just a basic idea.
851988 :)

11-29-2017, 05:14 PM
I think I might try putting a ship or boat in the distance pulling my eye back down about where your arrow is. I don't think the second plane helps.

Chas McHugh
11-30-2017, 11:22 AM
I did recently see a photograph of a very attractive steam driven tourist boat paddling past the castle - but to include it would be for the boat to compete for viewers attention making the overall composition too busy.


The castle has much more detail now with a fair amount of detail remaining to come. I felt that the painting needed a little more colour which drove the level of detail included. I am not painting every brick - although at times it does feel like I am. Had I had the long days of summer, it would have been wrapped up by now.

11-30-2017, 04:47 PM
Tempted to say add a bit darker shadow on the tail fin cast by the tail plane . I get the feeling the aircraft lacks bite in that area compared to the cockpit and intakes .

Chas McHugh
11-30-2017, 06:19 PM
That is fair comment Neil. I will move back to the aircraft once the landscaping is completed. I leaned across the canvas yesterday to add the small antenae under the Buccaneer nose and the (wet) white paint associated with foreground rocks bit my jumper! The very reason why I usually do not work a complete canvas.

I will be emphasising the condensation on top of the wings a little more when I add the many guide vanes that are presently missing. I quite like that the nose area - despite all being lost edges - dominates the aircraft. I feel that this aids the feeling of speed. But I always review the work daily, and if I think that bringing the rear end up to the level of the nose will benefit, then it will be so. The overcast skyscape means that shadow is not essential.

Of course everything has a concertina effect; and it maybe that the castle becomes so detailed that the contrast within the airframe demands to be increased. When I review the photographs here and on Facebook (inclusive of degraded photo quality on both websites) I have to remember that it is actually a large canvas almost a full metre wide, and what looks tiny here is in fact quite sizeable. This is particulary relevent to the logic behind the castle detail, which some may consider overworking at face value.

Chas McHugh
12-07-2017, 07:05 AM

The reason I take photographs like this is neither vanity nor pride in my work. Customers of my artworks like to own assured provenance; and what better way than having a photograph with myself as Artist with a clearly recognisable but nevertheless unfinished artwork. The materials used in the production of my artworks are the highest quality that is available, meaning that this painting will still be around long after I am gone. In centuries to come photographs like this will serve an important purpose. I also add information on the rear such as where it was painted and when in addition to a hand written signature. Whilst this in itself may appear vain; I have already had one of my works 'reproduced' by an inexperienced artist - and without permission. Copyright Law is only valid until 50 years after the death of the artist, and some countries do not recognise copyright at all even now. Russia and China spring to mind.

12-07-2017, 12:38 PM
I hope you are going to distance that castle .... it is way too sharp IMHO

Part from the Bucc and backdrop look fine :)

Chas McHugh
12-07-2017, 04:16 PM
The pushing and pulling of the composition is not over yet. Today I painted out the geese - tomorrow I will repaint the geese larger (as in closer to the viewer). The work on the aircraft is ongoing. Only then will I return to the castle and initially detail the bridge and extend the island mid river. I would like to paint the shallows which would mean 'removing the water' this side of the castle to be followed by a transparent glaze. Eventually the castle & bridge will get a warm grey glaze which should reduce sharpness without bringing it too far forward.
It is probable that all the water will get a Raw Umber glaze that includes the landscaping of the island. In summary:- it may look finished but in reality it has some way to go.

12-08-2017, 05:47 AM
The whole painting looks better in that light Chas .

Chas McHugh
12-08-2017, 10:20 AM
Most of the photographs so far have been taken outdoors - and the 'blue' of the winter daylight creates a blue cast. This photograph was taken with a flash bounced off the roof and has given colours closer to the original.


I am having a frustrating day today with frequent snow showers settling (& blocking the light) on my roof light windows. Yesterday I painted out the geese and today I have been reinserting the geese a little larger. They have provided some balance to the composition which was weighted left hand down a bit too much.

Chas McHugh
12-09-2017, 07:35 AM
Buccaneer over Eilean Donan Castle - Scotland.
97cm x 60cm oil on canvas.
I decided that the Canada Geese worked well in the composition; but not well enough. So I painted them out and repainted them closer to the viewer thus adding secondary interest without competing for primacy with either aircraft or castle. I will probably add an extra goose there today.


Chas McHugh
12-10-2017, 01:10 PM

TONE (GB) or VALUE (USA) are terms that refer to a greyscale image. It appear appear bizarre to non-artists; but getting a painting tonally correct is more important than colour. To assess the tonal qualities of a painting requires study of a black and white photograph of the painting. To teach tone to artists many optical illusions are studied, and stereotypes dispelled. We are born to believe that yellow is brighter than most other colours, but yellow can, and often is tonally dark. It is as if we see in colour, but our subconscious can understand greyscale and the effect that has on illusion of distance.

12-10-2017, 03:12 PM
The aircraft stands out nicely in the greyscale.

Chas McHugh
12-12-2017, 09:07 AM

My oil painting depicting an RAF Buccaneer aircraft flying at low level overhead Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland is finished. The canvas measuring 97cm x 60cm was started on the 19th July and finished 17 Dec 17. At this time I do not think that there is anything positive that I can add to it other than a name / title - and I am still working on that one. Now for a frustrating wait before I can varnish and frame it to facilitate the painting realising its full potential.

12-12-2017, 10:38 AM
Nice painting Chas. Apart from an excellent rendition of the aircraft, there's not a lot more I can say. Should sell well in Scottish Galleries with the Castle, it appears on just about every thing up here.
Looking forward to the 'Wimpy' painting.

Chas McHugh
12-12-2017, 11:13 AM
Thanks Jim; that is three Scottish paintings for me now; they being Vulcan, C130, Buccaneer and whilst Scotland own the lions share of UK landscape beauty, I need to travel south for a few paintings now. I suspect that I will take a Jaguar up to Cape Wrath at a future date or a Cold War jet to the Forth road bridge. You guys are spoilt for choice on the home front.

12-12-2017, 12:04 PM
When I was a member of the FAAA we met at Arbroath. One of the older members was an Ex Barracuda pilot (a Kiwi) living in Dundee. Not only was he on one of the Tirpitz raids but he was one of the three pilots that flew their Barracudas under the Tay Bridge. One for me to do later.
I was 'Gofor' in ATC at Arbroath when our one and only pilot on the base flew the station Sea Prince past the Tower. We watched from the roof , looking DOWN on him as he went passed. An other for the future.

Chas McHugh
12-12-2017, 01:29 PM
I was at Linton on Ouse when a pair of Buccaneer were transiting south (from Lossiemouth) on their final flights before retirement ( not sure of their destination, but it may have been Honington ), having refuelled the Puma I arrived in, I was walking towards ATC and the Met Office for the usual enroute admin, when said Buccaneers conducted an airfield attack. One passed between ATC and the nearest aircraft hangar well below the 50'agl of the hangar roof at I dare say maximum speed. It would be fair to say that I missed a heartbeat - by which time both aircraft were long gone.

12-12-2017, 03:52 PM
Hope you were wearing your Brown Flying Overalls that day.

12-12-2017, 05:12 PM
That's come out really well Chas - a lot more depth in the image now and the aircraft stands out nicely . Good job!

Chas McHugh
12-19-2017, 09:17 AM

When enough people tell you that an element of a painting needs amending; there is a very good chance that something is not quite right. Today I have repainted the fuel tank below the wing as it wasn't right.

12-19-2017, 01:35 PM
That looks better & I like the new birds

I cannot even get tempted to like the Castle though, it's in the way - over done - and too prominent, and should have been left out IMHO

But it's still a good painting :thumbsup:

Chas McHugh
12-19-2017, 01:51 PM
Thanks Len. I discovered a long time ago that we men may well like our mancaves; but if you want to sell artwork, be it original paintings or prints, it is the lady of the house you have to win over. All terribly sexist; but I do not apologize for in the main, it is true. I once got a commission on condition that the wife got a painting of her cat; ergo I got two commissions :angel: The ladies like the castle and the menfolk get the jet.


Tonally; the castle may be detailed, but does not have strong contrasts. It is one of those paintings that can only be fully appreciated in person I guess, but the castle is no threat to the primary subject. Charles Thompson felt that the geese were an unnecessary distraction, whereas those who have seen the painting love them. Again IMHO they add interest without robbing the aircraft of attention. The painting will look awesome when varnished as it is crying out to have the potential lustre maximised.

The drama with the fuel tank comes from using a model to acquire the reference image. A 1/48 Airfix Buccaneer - which I was sure had sufficient accuracy throughout, but when cross referenced to photographs from many angles, the tank needed changing, as the models tank was not quite right.

12-19-2017, 03:26 PM
Yep women rule, I found that out ages ago selling paintings ... a pink hue to the sky wins them over every time :evil: