Do you find it difficult to talk about things you enjoy or are particularly fond of ? Surely not. We chatter away non stop, no need for reference to notes or phone a friend. I apply this visually, similar to a talking picture of a fond memory. Naturally these topics appear in my artwork more often than others. Biplanes are most certainly one of my favourite conversation pieces. As a toddler back in the late 1940s, we lived near Dunsfold Aerodrome Surrey, England. Aircraft buzzed over our heads in all manner of shapes and sizes daily. Yet biplanes were by far the most exciting of them all. They didn’t behave like the other planes. Unbeknown to me they were used as trainers and stunt men. I was only 3 or 4 at the time. Imagine my horror when they flopped about all over the sky, dived as if it was their last death wish, only to wrench themselves upwards again with a deafening metallic roar. For me they epitomise the reality of flight with blunt yet dashing magnificence. So, enter man hurling himself into the sky, aided by a propeller, rivets, wire, outrageous noise, complete in leather and goggles. Fantastic! Sadly what do we see concerning the celebration of flight today ... many folk continue to read the newspaper while taking off, flying has become necessary, mundane, no big deal. I recall their glint in the summers sky, a ballet of metal and noise turning circles and heads. Life seemed very dull after they had all flown home again. From a painterly point of view, biplanes are the intruders, they dominate the entire composition. It’s impossible to ignore them. That’s exactly how life was interrupted back then. It’s also why I involve them in my artwork today. The picture ‘Fly Past’ is a case in point, even the weather beaten garden ornaments seem captivated by it’s impromptu blustery appearance. What’s more, they convey movement with a freeness all their own. This inner dynamic goes way beyond its shape or position in a painting. An invisible vital quality is at work here, inviting a closer observation of the overall picture. It’s intriguing and audacious, engaging the mind with questions. Ok, it’s a plane but why is it there ? What would the picture be like without it? The choice of strong elements in a composition have a valuable place in my artwork. Lets sum up by saying biplanes are simply, flights of imagination. For a tiny lad it was just too big to take in, yet far too big to miss. The fuse to my imagination had been lit. No, I didn’t become a pilot, but I can claim to know what it’s like flying in a single prop machine held together by wire and rattling rivets over the Solway coast. Skimming over stone dykes between trees is without doubt blatantly, unforgettably magnificent. Clearly a personal attachment to all the foregoing sees me with a card to wave. To my mind biplanes live. Its a fact that if you draw a square and place a fish in it. It going to work. Why. Because that’s what fish do. They can be literally anywhere in a real fish pond, so...who is to say drawing it in a corner or smack in the middle is odd. So it goes with the free spirit of this humble biplane. The entire approach to painting is liberated before you even start.! Musicians have the gift of time, artists the gift of space. Biplanes have both. What art critic could legitimately say it shouldn’t be there, or it’s in the wrong place. Try saying that to a fish. Frankly I feel they bring life to elements of a composition that could do with waking up. I’ve always found still life subjects or the silence of portraiture stuffy. Nothing like a biplane to enter the scene. In real time they can even fly under bridges, well, lets try it zooming between a bottle of Chablis and bananas. Ok folk will say it’s out of context. But this is the very substance of doodleloonz, they thrive on subjects like this. It’s what they do. Here then is a lovely accommodating shape with wings. It has a prime place in my imaginary places. In particular I look for subjects that could do with waking up! In conclusion we tend to look at a biplane as a bygone outdated complicated string bag. It’s certainly retro. If we came upon a painting of one on a cave wall, it wouldn’t look that out of place with, Bison or bows and arrows. Yet it embodies all the proud basics of flight beautifully. Most likely the phrase, ‘it’ll never get off the ground’’ came about during this era of early aviation. Yet it still looks and flies superbly. At air shows the world over its a guaranteed crowd pleaser. If ever the saying ‘’ it does exactly what it says on the tin ‘’ was in need of a home for posterity......paint it in bold gold leaf on every biplanes wing, it’s a magnificent flying machine. Perfect for doodleloonz.
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