New B-17 Art and B-17G Relic from Ron Cole

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ColesAircraft, Jan 24, 2013.

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  1. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    Hi, friends! After I did my XP-82 commission for Tom Reilly, he sent me a collection of aircraft parts from his past restoration projects, including an original duraluminum panel from the forward fuselage of B-17G 'Campaign Lady' (serial number 44-85813). That meant I had to produce a new B-17G painting to go along with the parts, so here it is:

    A-B17-3.jpg

    Since the markings for 'Campaign Lady' were less than illustrious I opted to portray 'Thunder Bird' of the 303rd Bomb Group, 8th AF.

    And I combined the parts with artwork for my display series:

    b-17e.jpg

    I'm seeking any suggestions or comments. I probably can't do much to the original piece but I could sure use the input to implement in future releases!


    - Ron
     
  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Very cool except...something doesn't look right with the tail. It seems the tail perspective is different than the emblem and is throwing off the whole pic. Maybe.
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Is that a painting or computer art? Either way it's fantastic! Tail does seem a little out of whack, but still........
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    That is PC art Thor.

    Lovely work! Tail does look a little odd though...
     
  5. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    Hmmm . . . interesting about the tail. Technically, it's correct. But that doesn't mean that it looks right.

    I use a mix of digital and hand painting.
     
  6. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I think the tail is too thick and tall...

    Boeing_B-17_Flying_Fortress_after_crash.jpg
     
  7. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    What do you guys think about this revision?

    A-B17-4.jpg
     
  8. rank amateur

    rank amateur Member

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    Greta pic! funny thing is, I have seen real footage of b17s where the tail appears to be too big just like your original painting. this distorted effect is usually caused by telelenses. It does bring a lil extra drama to it all.
     
  9. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    Yep! And I usually know to look out for that effect, too, but I didn't pick up on it here. Usually, if you're working off of a photo, and the aircraft is being viewed from the 2 or 10 o'clock high angle, a telephoto lens will warp the tail towards you and throw the horizontal stab way out of perspective. It's an easy fix during the sketch phase when you see that. I overlayed the b&w image that Njaco posted to repaint my tail so that it looks less ominous. The advantages of digital editing! :)

    Better???
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Yes, much! And I didn't mean to disparage the work - its a great piece!!
     
  11. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    No - I'm very appreciative that folks pointed it out! That's why I post my new work here, so that I get that feedback early on. When you stare at a piece forever and ever while it evolves it's easy to miss that sort of thing.
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #12 GregP, Jan 25, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
    Either one looks pretty good to me, Ron, but teh second one looks better.

    I'd love to see a good Lattecoere 631 flying boat! Smacks of elegance and art deco. Should be either in flight or moored with a nude stewardess sunbathing on top of the wings. This being a family-type environment from past history, perhaps in flight, though the other would be applauded by all except the forum rules and good sense.
     
  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nice work Ron, and I agree that the second version looks better. I've had the opposite problem, when painting the B-17 almost side on, from slightly above. In this instance, the tail fin/rudder, whilst being 'technically' correct, has looked too small, and had to be enlarged. Just in the process of laying out 'visuals' for another oil painting, so no doubt I'll run into the same problem again!
     
  14. Maxrobot1

    Maxrobot1 Member

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    Great art!
    With the bomb-bay doors open a few flak bursts would seem appropriate! Also, it may be just my computer monitor but the B-17s color seems a bit too greenish. B-17s paint started off olive drab and faded to a browner shade. Oh, and maybe a few shell casings coming from the ball turret.
     
  15. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I'd agree there. Also just noticed, the bombardier looks a tad too small behind his Norden sight - maybe enlarge him, if possible, so that his 'head' is roughly level with the top of the port side chin gun fairing?
     
  16. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    Hi Ron, I have a couple of questions to ask you on behalf of the aviation artist community.

    Below is a piece of artwork that was originally created by a French Parisian artist called Daniel Bechennec. It was titled 'Hell below' and was originally painted with gouache on 35cm x 50cm paper.
    Below is the original reduced in size artwork as posted by Daniel Bechennec here on Military Meshes on the 26th June 2010:

    Me bf 110  Lancs.jpeg

    How is it that you were able to create an exact copy of this artwork. Frame it and then sell it as an original print reputably drawn by yourself and accompanying a piece of twisted metal that apparently comes from the crashsite of the Bf110G 'Nightfighter' depicted in the painting? I'm pretty sure Daniel Bechennac was not painting the Bf110 nightfighter W/Nr 730223 when he created the original.... Below I post your framed version for comparison:

    1_0182e2392239fddd2a612d85b19bb4a8.jpeg

    "Authentic German Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf110G-4 night fighter aircraft skin part w/ history - paired with original artwork!
    This aircraft (W/Nr 730223) was shot down by an RAF Mosquito while attempting to intercept a night bombing raid over Langen, Germany on the night of September 12/13 1944.
    This piece of duraluminum from the excavated crash site of this Bf110G-4 of 2/NJG6 shows evidence of a fire.
    This relic is paired and framed with Ron Cole's original print of this aircraft in action. Format is 19 x 13 inches.
    From Cole's Aircraft"
    Source

    Below is a piece of digital artwork created by Wiek Luijken.

    me109duo.jpeg

    Can you explain how a framed exact copy albeit photoshopped has ended up for sale on your eBay page here and has also reputedly been used as the cover art for the first Portuguese-language release of Galland's book 'The First and the Last'?

    I post below the artwork from your ebay page for comparison:

    4608135455_13857577af_b.jpeg

    There is some highly suspicious activity going on here Ron. Are you able to explain how these extreme coincidences have come about?
     
  17. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    #17 ColesAircraft, Jun 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
    A good friend and client of mine alerted me to your post this evening. I see that this was posted back in early February. I guess you're always the last person to know - or in this case, I am!

    The Bf 110 G painting that you've posted, and that I've edited for inclusion in my display, is not my original piece and I have never claimed that it was so. It is the only example out of 33 displays that I've offered over the years that incorporates the artwork of another artist, which is why I don't typically market it - and it was used with permission, via our mutual friend in Europe who is a big fan of the work that we both do. I'd had those Bf 110 G night fighter parts for some time, never had gotten around to painting my own piece based upon them, and when I was given the chance to use that stunning night scene in lieu of my own I accepted it.

    I'm very specific regarding the relationships between the parts I include in my displays and the accompanying paintings. In several cases the history of the excavated aircraft parts are well known and complete: thus in such cases I'm happy to paint Lt. William Lacey's P-51B, for example, sporting the markings of his aircraft down to the last detail. In other cases, as with this Bf 110 G, I don't know enough about the markings to reliably attempt to paint it. In those cases I have to paint a more generic aircraft, or something similar. You'll note that I omitted the NJG 1 unit badge in the edited painting I used in my display - which was done to better reflect a more generic aircraft. In the case of the Fw 190 D-9 print and display that I just released, for example, I've painted a JG 2 'Dora' attacking RAF Lancasters, while the description associated with the aircraft part states accurately that the 3./JG 2 machine it came from was lost in Operation Bodenplatte. My two Me 262 displays, from two different aircraft, are even more general as in both cases we don't know very much of the history - just the aircraft type. I'm very confident that people know exactly what they're getting from me, and that I explain these specifics regarding each display very specifically - or as specifically as known history permits.

    There is a thread on EHanger.com's forum from about 8 years ago that deals with the Bf 109 composition that you've posted. That was my first ever aviation-related painting that I made at a time when I was a professional designer and architectural artist who was flirting with the idea of moving into the aviation genre'. As such it's actually much older than the 8 years since I posted it on EHanger and was taken to task immediately for it's similarity to Wiek's work. That's actually how Weik and I met. I absolutely followed his composition more closely than I'd ever feel comfortable with doing today - no doubt - but my work was nevertheless done by my own hand. Someone on EHanger actually posted an overlay of our two pieces and showed the differences, which, in the minds of everyone involved, put the matter to rest. I learned a lesson that I've never repeated. I wish that, when calling me out over this piece after so many years, an attempt was made to note the fact that I've painted over 75 original aviation art paintings, and the only one that anyone has ever had an issue with was that one Bf 109 - and it was my first ever piece, painted not long after my now 13-year-old son was born.

    I hope that my explanation is sufficient. I welcome everyone to view my website at ColesAircraft.com, as well as my Blog linked from it. Both detail everything anyone might want to know about me, my process, the origins of my parts, some specific excavation photos, and so on. I also invite anyone to visit my eBay store, through which I've sold my work for many years and have feedback records that I feel accurately reflect the terrific and blemish-free reputation of Cole's Aircraft and the experiences of my clients.

    One more suggestion: I'm also very active on Facebook and post daily upon my own personal page and my Cole's Aircraft art page. The walls of both, as well as within the content of several (actually, all) of Facebook's aircraft art groups, reflect regular 'in-progress' submissions by me that detail my original processes and media, and I've posted related excavation photos from Europe and elsewhere and updates regarding when I get parts coming in and usually from where. I sincerely do believe that I operate a professional, ethical, and transparent business - and I as sincerely invite everyone and anyone to see what I do for themselves.

    Thanks.



    - Ron
     
  18. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    #18 A4K, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
    That is so very true... if I think a sketch or painting is almost done I always ask my fiancées advice... she often notices little things at a glance that I couldn't quite put my finger on while doing. Likewise when stuck on a piece, knowing something's not right but not sure exactly what, I put the work away for a time, then look on it fresh at a later date. Often it's a simple pencil or brush stroke in the right place that changes the whole effect.

    As for yours, I agree the smaller tailed version does look much better.


    Edit: just read last posts since posting. Alot of my work is based on photos, especially where I am unfamiliar with details. This is a fine line area, but a pencil sketch or painting is atleast different to a photo, and I give credit to the original photo(s) used in the process if asked.
    I don't do CG work, but it looks to be a more dangerous are to do this in - easier to copy and harder to tell the difference between, causing the above problems. I do hope for your credibility that the Bf 110 piece is accredited to the original artist, and that future works won't resemble others so closely. Although I can see the differences in the 109 piece myself , the form and prop blur is almost exact ( a credit to your CG skills, but not for winning friends in the art community it seems)
    Not a telling off, just friendly advice, and a wake up call for me to be careful how I do my own work in future.

    Evan
     
  19. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    #19 ColesAircraft, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
    Thanks, Evan.

    I didn't start out working in the digital realm, in fact I was intimidated by it and kind of resented the implications of it. It seemed like cheating to me until I realized that it had as many drawbacks as, and was just as demanding as, paint on canvas. I think most 'old school' and variously educated artists like myself are capable of creating our own perspectives of subjects - be they sketched out or painstakingly constructed by placing a grid over a 3-view drawing, drawing the cubes by 3 point perspective, making cross sections of the aircraft (in this case), and so on and so forth. It's time consuming and not necessarily reliable. Most of us use photos to help with accuracy and efficiency. We'll also search through photographs to look for background elements that are appealing, study them, and place them in our compositions. Most of us will also look at how other artists handle certain aspects of similar or identical subject matter - for style, trends, and other elements.

    But as a rule I think it's safe to say that we don't use other artist's compositions. For me, even when it comes to finding a reference upon which to build a particular perspective, I don't use somebody's painting. The reason has less to do with copyright law or moral scruples than it does the fact that such previously used perspectives have 'already been done' and, as in the case of the 109 above, people notice it.

    As an artist it embarrasses me to be called out for the Bf 109 piece in question because I know that, full back story taken into consideration or not, it breaks the rules that I've outlined above. I have defended my work as being the original product of my own hand - which it most certainly is in every way, background and foreground. But at the time that I painted it, and as my first aviation piece, it was done, basically, to see if I could paint it at all. I remember fussing with the blurred propeller for a long time, and the further that I deviated from the piece I was referencing the worse it looked. In the end I only pulled the effect off by succeeding in nearly copying it exactly. I was already an accomplished architectural artist but I'd never painted a moving prop before. 75 paintings and almost 10 years later - it's still hard to get right.

    I think what exacerbated the 109 example was the fact that my piece was commercially successful. That wasn't my original intent, but after the air cleared with Weik and the EHanger debate was resolved, I later released it as a limited edition along with other work of mine. It was later used as the cover of Adolf Galland's book, The First and the Last. I believed that my work had been accepted as at least 'original enough' and in retrospect that was perhaps a mistake, but not one that I made maliciously.

    Anyway: I'd frankly hate to see other artists feel that they need to be too "careful" in reaction to my experiences in this area. Being careful stifles experimentation and creativity, in my opinion. Aviation art - all art - would suffer for it. As painters we're not generally impressionists (or worse). We are attempting to recreate more than we are creating. For that we inevitably work off of references, usually photos, and by necessity we copy reality in order to be successful realists. Insofar as that pursuit goes - God's speed!

    But when in search of a perspective or a background - construct it yourself or base it on a photograph. Don't base it on another painting. One simple rule and all will avoid the above 'call out' I've experienced.

    me109duo-x.jpg

    Above: Overlay similar to the one posted on EHanger many years ago. My Bf 109 over top of Weik's 'referenced' perspective. But, lesson learned in any case.

    - R
     
  20. No-Kizu

    No-Kizu New Member

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    I have purchased several of Rons work and talked to the people who excavated the wreckages hoping to receive a photo of them removing the wreckage and showed them the pic of the relic in hopes they would have a greater photo of it still on the plane, they always recognized the items as stuff they sold ron. I have also researched the wreckage and found more info then even Ron had. 'He has some real talent and his website explains his explanation of transparency, I think the first photo would have been better left out because he doesn't need to use others work, and yes, he did not claim it to be his. The picture is exciting and I can see why he would or any of us would re-create it. I think his version is more detailed. The other pic was well explained and it was hashed out years ago from his inspiration artist and it clearly has been changed though the planes exact angle is common. The detail and addition of the third propeller, the intake and exhaust, the lights, wheels, canopy, etc all different and many more.
     
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