Luft Verkehrs Gesellschaft!

This aeroplane below is one manufactured by Luft Verkehrs Gesellschaft mbH.
Cleverly or thankfully, the makers were known as LVG – and this one is a CIV.
This was actually the first German heavier-than-air machine to drop bombs on London.
In November 1916.
The crew were lucky to get back home over the Channel as it developed engine trouble. No great surprise for them probably as this was one of the few machines to use the Mercedes DIV engine. Mercedes produced some of the best and most reliable six-cylinder aero engines of the Great War, however this was a straight eight and on the limit of reliability due to its mighty crankshaft length and the subsequent stresses on it. Mercedes went back to their sixes after this effort. There was also some doubt about the structural integrity of LVG’s airframe itself. Not TOO confidence inspiring I would think. That’s the huge exhaust-system alongside the crew too. It must have been deafening.

LVG C4

LVG C4


My thanks to John Constable too – whose clouds I shamelessly tried to emulate in this oil.

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Lapis Lazuli

Or bleue outremer-veritable ( with an acute on that first “e” of veritable).
I wonder how to produce an acute here?
But I digress, because that’s what I do. When an excellent English maker of artists’ oil paints recently produced a limited quantity of Genuine Lapis Lazuli I dug deep and bought a tube of it. This is a rare natural pigment and used to be sourced from Afghanistan which accounts for the “Outremer” or “Overseas” name. Lapis Lazuli was the finest/rarest/most expensive blue available until in the early 19th century a man-made version became available, known as Ultramarine.
The overseas connection again invoked.
Having this tube of exotic blue-gold I thought it best if I tried to produce a painting that would exploit the characteristics of the stuff.
These qualities are: almost transparent, quite dull and without great covering-power.
That is in modern parlance – crap!
So using this wondrous stuff and mixing with the other time-served natural pigments of terre-vert, raw umber and lead white I painted the very thin washy picture below.

Friedrichshafen GIII

Friedrichshafen GIII

Now, I’ve been moaning about another picture lately, that I thought quite “painterly” which didn’t get accepted for a Guild show, but
– God bless ’em, this one made it though. It’s still with me here though
and I must confess I’m quite glad.

The Caudron Conundrum

G4 watercolour

G4 watercolour

So- back to aeroplanes, which is what it’s supposed to be about here (mostly). Here’s a watercolour of a Caudron G4 – a strange French multi-purpose machine of the Great War. This was the first ever sale I had with the Guild of Aviation Artists’ Annual Show. What a feeling to think somebody liked a picture enough to actually buy it!
So that was me off the mark and exhibiting every year after that.
Two years ago I exhibited this one below. It’s the same aeroplane but this time painted in oils and after a few more years of trying to improve. Hopefully it’s a better image, but sometimes I wonder if the simplicity of the first one isn’t stronger?

G4 Oil

G4 Oil

The Month of the Halberstadt.

DIII

DIII

Very happy to have a watercolour featured on the December leaf of the Cross and Cockade Society’s annual calendar. A Halberstadt DIII
And another aeroplane featured in December of NEXT year’s one too!
The Halberstadt was most elegant and the first successful German biplane fighter of the Great War. It’s common conjecture to reproduce them as being finished in either natural doped linen or in light blue. Having studied and compared tonalities though, I’ve my own theory that they could have been silver-doped. So that’s what I’ve tried to go for here. Right or wrong? Nobody around who could say…..

Bouch!

We’ve a fine graveyard almost opposite us wherein lie a good many of our illustrious Edinburgh Great and Good.
In the light of my previous post about bridges, here’s a man who’ll long be remembered as the designer of the ill-fated first Tay Railway Bridge.
A man reportedly rather better at self-promotion than he was at stress-calculations.

Bouch

Bouch

He was pencilled-in to produce the Forth Bridge too. Until the morning of 29th December 1879……
He didn’t last another year after that great fall.
Even in a sun-dappled graveyard, Thomas Bouch remains in shadow.