Painting of a PC9
PC9 artwork - "In training"
While this is not strictly a modelling article, I thought
that some of you, being avid aviation enthusiasts, might
find my painting process interesting. The original painting
is done in artist oils on a stretched canvas approximately
95x71cm. This is a large painting and once hung, really demands
your attention when you enter the room.
I have always loved the PC9. It’s sleek lines and
the purrr of that Turbo prop is always something to behold
for me. Everything it does in the air seems so effortless
and graceful (obviously due to the expertise of the pilots
that fly it). I have taken many a photo of this aircraft
on the ground and in the air at various air shows. I
had always wanted to do a painting of it, but never seemed
to have that definitive shot. It wasn’t until I got
off a couple of close up shots at the Cunderdin Airshow (WA)
in 2005 that I finally had something to work with. I cropped
the image in close and decided to try and capture some of
the distinctive shapes at the business end of the airframe.
I also wanted to reproduce the highly reflective paintwork,
which is always a challenge when painting.
Below is a step by step process of how the painting evolved.
1. Getting the Drawing Down
The first task is to get the drawing down on the canvas.
Here I use a lead pencil to put in all the outlines. Not
only do I want the outline of the aircraft, but also the
placement of all the major reflection lines as well. The
more detailed the drawing at this stage, the easier the painting
will be to execute. At this stage it is important to refer
to as many different reference photos as possible. This helps
to get a better understanding of the shapes and placement
of the different features of the aircraft. Much like modelling.
With aviation paintings, I like to paint in the backgrounds
first. This provides a setting for what is to come. I try
and make the backgrounds simple and slightly out of focus,
so as not to detract from the aircraft, which is usually
in sharp focus.
Now the painting starts to come to life.
I begin to block in as much of the main colour as I can.
As you can see I focus on getting down the main airframe
as best I can, leaving
smaller details, and other colour areas till later.
4. Colours Other Than Red
It is now time to add the other details. Once the main body
work is dry (oils take a day or two to dry) the white body
line, exhausts, and prop blades are blocked in. Like the
main body work, if you can get as much of the blending work
done while the paints are wet, the better the final product
will be. I also like to spend time at this stage making adjustments
to lights and darks in the body reflections. Now it is really
coming to life. Another day or two for drying and it will
be ready to finish.
Image 5. Ready for Take Off
This part of the painting process is like the final stages
of a modelling project. You are almost there, but you still
have to add props, undercarriage, ariel wires etc. You watch
with joy as those hours of hard, enjoyable work, come together.
The final stage of painting usually includes things like
adding the panel lines and associated shadows or highlights.
In this case adding rivets and shadow line to the spinner.
I also spend time tweaking the highlights and shadows on
the lips around the holes in the spinner where the blades
extend from (Not sure what they are called?) This makes them
look more 3 dimensional. I also darkened some of the deeper
coloured reflections in the spinner.
At last I have my very own PC9. Probably a tad cheaper than
the real thing and you can keep it in your own home. The
original painting is available for purchase to interested
parties, or if something smaller is your thing, prints are