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Snow King

The first painting subject I tackled during the lockdown was of Royal Navy Sea King XZ578 (read more about that here) It could easily have been any of the Royal Navy's Sea King serials, but by a curious bit of serendipity, this painting has ended up in the hands of the owner of XZ578 that is now lovingly cared for in a private garden in Slovakia where it has the company of an ex RAF Rescue 202 Squadron HAR.3 XZ598.

Following the purchase of the XZ578 painting I was asked to paint XZ598, specifically a head-on portrait similar to the one that used to hang in the crew room of 202 Squadron before the squadron was disbanded and the RAF retired the type in 2015.

Whereas the 202 Sqn painting had their Sea King landed in long grass obscuring the bottom of the helicopter, this painting would be slightly obscured by snow in a dramatic blizzard.

I was provided with some excellent reference photos of 598 to work from and soon had a preliminary sketched out. We decided on using a wide, narrow stretched canvas that suited this head-on composition.

Paused for a while once the Sea King was finished and took the time to make sure the decision was still to add the snow as there would be no going back.

The snow obliterated a lot of the helicopter detail on the underside, but was so worth it. The overall effect of the snow storm adding energy and drama to the finished piece. This has been a fun project with a lot of two-way ideas flowing with a creatively bold commissoner.

Now on its way to Slovakia to join the actual airframe, her owner has now enticed me with the possibility of a third Sea King painting. This one a Mk4 Junglie finished in winter tiger stripe camo. Exciting times at the easel ahead...


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