View Full Version : Field Artillery

Jim Updegraff
05-23-2005, 09:49 AM
A couple of months ago I posted a naval gun crew painting and received much helpful guidance and advice. Here we go again.

In the old days the guys who keep muzzle loading cannons would go up to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, every year of two and spend a weekend having a grand old time shooting them off. Typically the target was a refrigerator carton set about 400 yards down range. The one thing I noticed was the recoil. The service load for one of these things was from 1/4 to 1/3 of the weight of the shot Ė so a ten pound shot took about 2 to 3 pounds of black gun powder. When the gun went off the piece would jump in the air and roll to the rear for up to 10 feet, depending on the slope and how hard the ground was. That, with the flash and the billow of grey smoke and the report of the gun, was very impressive. Interestingly a 12 oz beer can filled with concrete made an excellent projectile for the 3 inch iron rifles. Iím not sure what was used for the 12 pounder guns, probably as somewhat larger can.

In the little Ohio town where I grew up the was as group of graves in the old part of the cemetery, all marked with government monuments. There were 25 or 30 of them. They were always called the Shiloh Graves. They were the graves of the men and boys from the township who were killed at that Civil War battle in April 1862. The town had raised the money to have the bodies that could be identified shipped back from Tennessee and buried on the hill over their home town. Stuff like that stays with you even into your extremely late middle age.

So here is the start on a picture of a 12 Pounder light field gun in full recoil. Oil on board, 24" x 18". Comments and guidance welcome.


05-23-2005, 11:31 AM
This is looking very, very good.

05-27-2005, 10:38 PM
This is going to be a beauty !


Jim Updegraff
05-29-2005, 08:44 PM
An update. It's getting there.


Anita Murphy
06-01-2005, 10:41 AM
This is super! Such movement, you can almost smell the gunsmoke. You took his fingers out of his ears! I thought that was a very real touch - not that I don't like the new version. Just added some humanity which is always present in your work. This is almost like spot the difference!!!!!

06-01-2005, 09:09 PM
Yeah, you did improve the positions of the two men on the left. I assume you will darken the shrubbery on the left a bit. It's really quite good.

Jim Updegraff
06-03-2005, 01:09 AM
This thing is getting closer to done. My wife is out of town so I have had a couple evenings to paint. I altered the stance on the loader, the guy to the left of the muzzle because the former figure too much mimicked the angle to the recoiling gun. Because of the posture I lost the feeling of the gun lurching backwards with the discharge.

On really big cannons, stuff like 155mm and 8 inch guns you wanted to protect your ears by covering them and opening your mouth. This was more because of the over pressure Ė it could rupture an ear drum, especially in the confines of a self-propelled gun Ė than noise, although there are reports of Civil War artillerists being deaf for several days after a major engagement.

Iíll let this dry for a couple days and then decide where it is going. Iíll tell you one thing, Iíll not work of gessoed hard board again if I can help it.


Anita Murphy
06-03-2005, 04:59 AM
This is really coming to life now, Jim.

06-03-2005, 09:02 AM
Sooo Pair bo (or superb) :-)