The Balkan Baroudeur

No French speaker, I – but I remember the SNCASE Baroudeur as a French jet fighter from days of my pre-youth. The term has re-surfaced with my present enjoyment of cycling and watching its machinations on the sports channels.  A “Baroudeur” is a battler or fighter and it’s applied by the commentators to a rider who will take the fight individually to the peleton or who is a constant thorn in the flesh by breaking away from that organised group. I was struggling for a name for this painting as I always search for alliterative names for mine (A smartarse personal foible). This was how the picture started………

Halberstadt and Caudron 001

It’s now a bit more respectable as an image although with a lot to go yet…………

Halb 003

If, unlike most “aero-artists” you don’t start with a computer-scanned and corrected image drawing and drop-in a background via Photoshop or the like, or if you don’t use a direct tracing or a three-dimensional “drawing” programme, then you can always venture into the world of drawing – as folk used to do in pre-DigiHistoric times. To paint an image this way is quite humbling as the subjects always need tweaked and adjusted from the original laying-down. But hopefully  the painter gets better at it with practice and in this case the main subject is pretty close to its true shape whilst the wee Caudrons are reasonably close to factual  and  rather “painterly” in their almost casual form. We live in hope!

The Halberstadt DII as shown here was the first successful German biplane fighter – and its quarry are two French Caudron G4s – cumbersome if well-loved observation aeroplanes. The Balkan aspect is shown as mountainous country as opposed to the gently-rolling Western Front. The Balkans were flown by those front-line machines whose times had come in the over-competitive skies of France and Belgium.

A Good Start!

It’s always encouraging, a good start – for example see this old snap. Recognise the stylish chap in red just behind the starter’s Saltire? No?

Start - Greeves

Many years have passed since that day at a Kirkcaldy Scramble – and yet I find I’m still behind the Saltire. Ha!

But the “good start” today refers to a new aeroplane-painting on the stocks. I’ve been ranting for a long while now about the origination of most modern aero-painting with its increasingly computer generated drawing and mechanically produced overlays and Photo-shopped images that simply need painted up to the outlines to produce. Folks that do this are perhaps painters but are they artists? They are not. Neither have I any time for photographic representational paintings that could easily be bettered by simply being a photograph. Aviation Artists? Where is the flair and imagination of the true Artist?  I’ve had a scunner for a while about my own stuff too and find these days that the only way I can hold my head up over a painting is when it has been drawn directly onto paper or canvas and adjusted and modified until it looks right. An original photo can well be copied – but by eye and not mechanically – not tracing, not even sizing-up using squared graph-like paper. Well – that’s my take on it anyway. Almost like real drawing ,eh?

It being the New Year, I was keen to get started on something positive. I should be out putting in the miles on my bicycle and reducing the results of the Season’s  excesses, but the weather is just too crap for me at present. So I thought I’d try to start on a painting. I think my favourite WW1 aeroplane is the Halberstadt DIII and I found a good photo of one without any photo-distortion to it. (Photo-distortion seems to be another favourite factor amongst my beloved non-selective Aero -“artists”). No drawing at all with this pic below. It was painted straight onto the board and adjusted as I go. And there’s a lot to go.

But I think it’s going to be OK, this one. And that’ll be a Caudron G4 down below………

Halberstadt and Caudron 001

Actually, it’ll be two Caudrons below to balance things out. This is painted on a smooth panel – I’ve always painted on fine linen canvasses until now and I’ll admit it was because I though panels were a cheap option to stretched canvas. But I really like the smoothness of this panel. Time will tell about the ability to paint fine detail thereon.  So this is stage two below. That Halberstadt is such a nice shape. Definitely my favourite WW1 aeroplane!

Halb stage two