Hang glider over Berkshire, 1975
Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18 inches (61 x 46 cm) painted by Everard Cunion in March 2022
Feel free to make a print of this painting for your own non-commercial use.
The hang glider is a standard Rogallo of 1975. I have a dim recollection that this particular one was a development wing made by Hiway of Brighton, Sussex. (If you have more or better info, please let me know.) The harness appears to be a knee hanger type made by Hiway modified to a stirrup type — possibly a prototype of their eventual production stirrup harness.
For the painting I copied a photo taken by Adrian Turner.
A second photo, used on the cover of High Flying Birds — a none too serious novel by Peter Cave — was almost certainly taken a few seconds after the first photo. Being closer and at a less acute angle, I found it useful as a reference in rendering some details.
Turner operated on the Sussex downs rather than the Berkshire hills, so I cannot be sure that this glider ever flew at Combe Gibbet, which is the setting for this action. However, it was much like similar craft of that time.
The landscape — Combe Gibbet hill in Berkshire — is based on a photo I took in 2004 while flying a paraglider there. I held both brake handles (used for steering) in my left hand and I grabbed my Ricoh FF-9 35mm film camera (secured to a harness riser) in my right hand… I only hope that the scenery had not changed significantly in the 30 years since the time of the standard Rogallo. (The paraglider had not yet been invented.) I used coloured pencils (‘watercolour pencils’, whatever that means) to enhance the detail I painted for the landscape.
I used One4All acrylic spray paints to lay down a basis for the sky: Grey for the cloud, blue for a bit of sunlit sky, and tan for the horizon under the cloud. Unlike ‘solvent’ based acrylic sprays, they are safe to use indoors. (Is water not a solvent?)
I used regular acrylic paint brushed on for the cloud highlights. I copied the cloud from a photo I found online.
I displayed the source photos on my computer monitor, which is about the same size as my canvas. In this photo I am using plastic modeler’s masking tape to obtain the thin and almost straight (slightly curved) blue leading edge. For more about how I use my computer to assist with painting accuracy, see Process in Painting the Eagle III and Method in Day at the beach.