This is a short article about a student of mine in Auckland.
Greg Roy did two of the 10 Day Airbrush Courses in Auckland. Although he was taught to create portraiture in class, he recognised that it was a universal rendering system. From his own initiative, he has taken his training and adapted it to create a range of different subject matters, and in this case an illustration of the tail lights on a 1962 Ford Mercury. I am really impressed when I see students use the knowledge I offer and take it in all sorts of different directions, that mean something to them.
Greg is a busy man. He is a successful real estate agent, hot rod builder, historic boat builder, and an airbrush artist between all this and more. He certainly has a passion for things with engines in them, so this artwork was a natural extension of his passions. This is what learning to airbrush is all about . . . creating artworks that you live with, that mean something just to you, or your friends or family.
I asked Greg a series of questions about his airbrushing, and this is what he had to say . . .
I always had in the back of my mind that one day I wanted to do airbrush art. I met Warren Houston (one of NZ’s top airbrush artists) at the Speedshow in Auckland in 2015. I had a really good chat with him while he was creating a bit of art on the side of a Tee Bucket. I signed up for the course there and then. I did the beginners course at the end of 2016. I had no experience of airbrushing or any art for that matter until then.
As for “The Mercury” artwork . . . I had done a full car artwork of my other classic car (see the last photo) and so this time wanted to do a feature part of this one. The 62 Mercury Monterey have very distinctive tail-lights and given the fact that the “Mercury” and “Monterey” badges sits right next to the tail-light it was an easy choice. I took a number of photos from different angles to get the one I liked. I had thought originally I would do a B&W with just the lens in colour for impact (like a lot of art/photos you see around) but the lens reflection on the chrome housing was quite a feature. Without the red reflection on the chrome it would not have looked right. So I quickly decided to go full colour – the car is white/cream anyway.
I have a good set up at home. I made an adjustable height easel and set up good lighting. I used the O & T inks from Airbrush Supply Network. I tried all sort of different things for the masking. In the end, I went with just hand cut paper stencils for the masking for the outside edges and then loose stencils for the inner details.
I treat my airbrushing with the same precision and craftsmanship as my boat building. I love getting the tiny details just right. For example, the edge of the bootlid is a rolled edge. It is sharp but with a small soft roll to it that required a softer focal value. Getting the little details like this just right is an enjoyable challenge for me.
The “Monterey” badge on the side of the car is not so clear (and wasn’t on the reference photo either and I didn’t really notice this until too late). I changed the logo (taking some artistic license) to make it more readable.
I particularly enjoy the moment when you stand back and look at the art after spending some time close up to it and nailing a particular part/detail.
Thank you Greg for sending through all the photos and being willing to give up your time for the interview. Whats next on the artwork agenda?
I am working on a full colour of a native NZ bird the Tui. Tui are very colourful – lots of blue/green hues. Mastering the feathers is a good challenge. Also I enjoy doing rock stars in B&W and are doing Robert Plant (led Zeppelin).
Greg did the 10 Day Courses held in Auckland. If you live in NZ and are serious about learning to airbrush, about learning a proper system, the 10 Day Courses will be exactly what you are looking for.