Newsletter 27
Summer 2010
Updated on 122Aug2010
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

Annual General Meeting
Aviation Art
Brooklands Anniversaries
Defence Electronics History
Early Years Of The Pegasus
F-35 Lightning II News
Ham Factory Ownership
Harrier Conversion Team
Hawk News
Kingston Camm Centre
New Books
Programme For 2010
Sea Fury News
Sea Harrier News
Treble One Hunter Appeal

    This was the simple, rather dry, title of Colin Wilson’s talk on 10 February; but it was much more than this. The audience was delighted with a demonstration, creating from scratch a painting featuring a Harrier, accompanied by the speaker’s tips on his very successful method, and personal reminiscences of his life with ‘Hawkers’. Having started in the aviation industry as an engineer Apprentice with Vickers he moved to Flight Development at Dunsfold in 1966 joining your Editor as one of Fred Sutton’s engineers.
    Already a competent self-taught amateur artist, here the Harrier became his subject. He observed the aircraft out of the office widow, at close quarters on the airfield and in the Experimental Hangar. With the blessing of the unforgettable Len Hearsey and Alan Wigginton he made many sketches during the lunch hour. For your Editor Colin agreed to do a demonstration for a Guildford painting group, the first time he had attempted such a thing. The ’demo.’, a very atmospheric painting of a Sunderland, was a great success and Colin went on to give more talks and demonstrations.
Aviation Art

    His work progressed so well that in 1976 he became a full Member of the Guild of Aviation Artists having been introduced by the great Roy Nockolds.    
    In 1977 Colin was posted to St Louis as the Company’s Senior Management Representative at McDonnell Aircraft, returning to Kingston in 1980 as the AV-8B Project Engineer. His career in BAe took-off in 1983 when he was appointed Production Executive Director for Kingston and Dunsfold, and three years later he was promoted out of Kingston to become Headquarters Projects Director. After that he held directorships with the Dynamics Division, with BAe Systems & Equipment and with Naval Systems & Services. His final posting was as the President of BAe, Japan. His career presented him with new painting opportunities and he brought along many examples of his work.
    On Colin’s easel was his stretched canvas already prepared with a sky and earth ground on the white base. This must be dry before the drawing commences so it had to be done in advance. The first step is a composition plan, in this case an ’L’ shaped format with the horizon one third of the way up. Placing the nose of the aircraft through the centre point of the canvas and blurring trailing edges gives an impression of speed. The subject is drawn lightly by brush in a neutral colour using a turps (oil of turpentine) and paint mixture. Shadows are blocked in and the cloud formations outlined, an important component in Colin’s work.
    The sky and landscape are then worked up round the aircraft, mixing colours on the canvas and working from thin to thick paint making sure it doesn’t dry out which would make working the paint difficult. The aircraft is then tackled in greens, blues and greys adding the coloured details - roundels, ejection seat triangle, fin flash and so on. At this stage artists’ painting medium (poppy seed oil) is mixed with the paint to speed drying. Finally the highlights are added to give modelling and indicate the curved surfaces.
    Models of the subject can be a great help in getting the aircraft to look right. This and the ‘sit’ of the aircraft are most important, as ,of course, is the overall composition of the picture.
    Throughout the demonstration Colin spoke of his experiences in painting and at work, and this account can only aspire to giving the flavour of what was a fascinating and entertaining afternoon with a professional artist. The vote of thanks was given by the Editor.