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

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Yonks!

It seems like an age since I last tried a wee bloggie. And it is at least six months ago, so anything of earth-shattering significance been happening?
Well- lots of photos taken of events at “my” school, an awareness of the increasing allure of old motorcycles, a chance meeting with a boyhood hero, a return to saxophone lessons, a self-imposed reduction of one fingertip and even after much soul-searching, an awareness of how much my painting actually means to me.
This last was underlined a few days back as I turned to “December” on the Cross and Cockade calendar for 2014.

c&c_0001

My RE7 painting from the Guild’s 2013 show. Happily sold but still with me – in print.
Next year’s calendar has another painting of mine too,
although sadly its reproduction is not in the same league as this.
nt_0004

So to Bicycle Maintenance. A lesson well-learned a month ago. After a complete replacement of transmission components on the Winter Fixed-wheel.
Keep inquisitive fingers clear of spinning chainwheel and chain or much pain-filled troubles will ensue. THAT buggered-up the saxophone lessons…..Ooooya! B……!

Went to the Scottish Motorcycle show with pal Peter a couple of months ago, when one Guest of the Day was a man whose exploits I grew up reading of in Motor Cycle News. The multiple Word Champion in 500cc and 350cc classes, the incomparable Giacomo Agostini.
As we knew the show’s M.C., we were imvited “backstage” for a coffee and sandwich. There, looking a bit bored and anxious to get back to his hotel – the Campionissimo himself. To cut it short, Pete and I ended up taking him for a conducted tour of Festival Edinburgh before delivering him back to that hotel.
Ago

I had to stop and pick up Ruth who had absolutely no awareness of the legend in the passengers’ seat!
I read recently that another World Champion – Phil Read – had described Ago as “Insular”.
Well, maybe to you, mate.
We found him warm, grateful, erudite and happy to talk of his exploits without any way resorting to arrogance.
Not sure if the same could be said of Read!

Engineering Beauty!

GoldStar

GoldStar


I still get misty-eyed over my first true scrambles bike and after a recent web-trawl I just had to download this fantastic picture and put it here.
There has positively NEVER been a more beautiful competition bike than a 500 BSA Gold Star.
I bought mine for £149 Quid, raced it for two seasons and traded it in for a trials Montesa.
I got £65 for it against the trials bike.
If you could find a good scrambles Goldie these days you’d pay approximately £10K for one.
Here’s an excessively-happy 18 year-old with his freshly-purchased used Gold Star ready for a season of competition.
The detached retina would come a season later and lead to its unfortunate trade-in.
Ah! well.
All those streets at Balbirnie in Edinburgh have gone now too. Progress…….

Gold Star