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Martin England Art
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This sketch is the final compositional sketch before painting commenced.

Prior to this, a number of preliminary sketches were created, after discussion with the client, to offer some composition ideas.

Various references were used to get to this stage, including a 1:72 Lancaster model, Google Earth and various aerial photographs.
The main elements of the sketch were transferred onto the canvas.

Approximate colours were blocked in for an initial assessment of the composition and to get rid of the glaring white canvas!

The paint, mixed with a lot of thinners, was ‘scrubbed’ onto the canvas - this really ruins the bristle brushes, so old ones get used.
The background is always painted in first, starting with the sky.

The versatility of oil paint allows the sky to be blended smoothly between the blue and bright areas.

The clouds give a sense of height, add shadowed areas to the land and also direct the eye thru the painting.

The field boundaries were taken from the 1940’s aerial photos and overlaid onto a Google Earth map.
The main aircraft then got some attention. To achieve a realistic looking aircraft, more accurate dimensions for the were needed. For this photos of the model were used.

The black, of the aircraft underbody and sides, was made from a mixture of Ultramarine blue & Burnt Umber, with some violet in the lighter areas - this added colour to something that may other wise look very colourless.
Achieving the effect of the strong cross-light, on the wing surfaces was quite tricky without completely washing out the colours.

The background aircraft were blocked in, again using using different photos of the same model.

At this stage the fields were too green, so still some work to do.
Here is the finished painting - three Lancasters, from 195 Squadron, fly in over the coast, at kings Lynn. (Click on the image for a larger view).

The smoke from the second aircraft adds a bit of drama and also leads the eye to the most distant plane.

The bright, early morning sun silhouetting these beautiful aircraft.
The patchwork fields below would no doubt have been a welcome sight.

The Avro Lancaster is without doubt the most well known of the RAF’s WWII bombers and was arguably the most attractive.


Home soil’ was a commissioned painting, the aim being to get a sense of home-coming, which must have been a huge relief for the crews that flew these aircraft.


The following pictures and notes take you through from start to finish in the painting process.


NB: a larger version of the finished painting can be seen by clicking on the last picture.

“Home soil”