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Strelitzia nicolai ~ Giant Bird of Paradise

Giant Bird of Paradise

While I haven’t posted in a while, don’t worry! I am still painting. Here is my latest work in progress, which is NOT finished, so don’t be too disappointed. This is from a photo I took of this spectacular specimen, which grows in my front yard, near the dog run. I water it every morning at around sunrise. It is very dry here in Southern California and I have a watering regimen that is a daily ocurrence unless it is raining, especially for some of my more tropical plants. The painting is 12 X 15 on gallery wrap canvas, which I prepared with several coats of umber toned gesso. While in progress, it is mostly done, so the next post will (probably) be in the finished works section of the blog.

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PB4Y-2 Valiant in Service

I finally had time to return to the air tanker painting. I probably should have done this on a canvas that was three or four times bigger than this one, which is 10 X 20. It made it harder than it should have been to work so tightly. I’ve had some strong positive reactions on this one. What do you think?

“PB4Y-2, Valiant in Service”
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Plein Air at Sunset Cliffs

16 X 20 Plein Air Ala Prima

I couldn’t decide where to set up my easel for a plein air outing this morning. At first, I thought I’d stay close to home and try setting up at Lake Jennings Park at sunrise. I was up at 5:00 and the park opened at 6:15. I would have plently of time to set up before the good light hit and left. I wasn’t too sure about Lake Jennings though, I haven’t been there in about 25 years, and decided at the last minute to try the view from Lowes Coronado Resort on the Silver Strand (the long isthmus that connects San Diego’s South Coastal Community, Imperial Beach, with the “Island” of Coronado. As I remembered, there were some great views of the city skyline and Coronado Bay Bridge form the back of the resort. Having packed the easel and supplies in the truck the night before, it was easy just to motor down there before sunrise. When I got there, the fog was too thick and showed no sign of clearing, so I scrubbed the idea and headed back to Coronado Town. Along the way, I stopped in two places, looking for a view that would be a good subject for my plein air outing. Nothing inspired me–maybe I’m just too picky. Anyhow, I carried on and drove over to Point Loma and the Sunset Cliffs area. When I got there it was foggy, but not so foggy that I couldn’t make an attempt at filling a canvas. The good thing is that parking is free and there is plenty of it and there are lots of good places on the sandstone formations above the cliffs and the waves.

The fog was challenging. It was rolling in and clearing in waves, so the scene was alternating between highly visible and partially obscured throughout the whole session. That didn’t bother me though and I kept plugging away. I chose a 16 X 20 canvas on stretcher bars, which is a fairly ambitious size for plein air. All in all, it was a good time, once I found a place that inspired me to paint.

Attached are some shots of the easel and the view. I’ll be posting the finished painting in the next few days.

Reference View for “Sunset Cliffs Fog”
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Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

The reference aircraft for the “Valiant in Service” painting.

This is the plane that inspired the painting, “Valiant in Service.” I saw one in action, many years ago, dropping retardant on a fire in mountainous terrain near the Walker River Gorge in Western Nevada. The sight was awe inspiring and stayed with me all these years and is now being expressed on canvas. The following regarding this type of aircraft is from Wikipedia:

The Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer was a World War II and Korean War era patrol bomber of the United States Navy derived from the Consolidated B-24 Liberator.

The Privateer was externally similar to the Liberator, but the fuselage was longer to accommodate a flight engineer’s station, and had a tall single vertical stabilizer rather than the B-24’s twin tail configuration. The defensive armament was also increased to 12 .50-in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns in six turrets (two dorsal, two waist, nose and tail), with the B-24’s belly turret being omitted. Turbosuperchargers were not fitted to the engines since maritime patrol missions were not usually flown at high altitude.

Privateers in aerial firefighting P4Y-2 Tanker 123 BuNo 66260 N7620C, of Hawkins & Powers in service supporting the CDF, at Chester Air Attack Base in the late 1990s—crashed 18 July 2002. PB4Y-2 BuNo 66261 marked as BuNo 66304 in the collection of the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida.A limited number of refitted PB4Ys continued in civilian service as airtankers, dropping fire retardant on forest fires throughout the western United States. On 18 July 2002, one such refitted PB4Y, BuNo 66260 seen in picture to right operated by Hawkins and Powers Aviation of Greybull Wyoming, broke up in flight while fighting a wildfire near Rocky Mountain National Park. Both crew members were killed in the accident, and the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily grounded all large air tankers in the region.[6] Following the accident, all remaining Privateers were retired. See 2002 airtanker crashes.

via Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.