Hang glider over Berkshire, 1975


Home (contents) Hang gliding Painted history of hang glider design part 1 Hang glider over Berkshire, 1975

Hang glider over Berkshire, 1975

Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18 inches (61 x 46 cm) painted by Everard Cunion in March 2022

Hang glider over Berkshire, 1975

Hang glider over Berkshire, 1975

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.

Standard Rogallo photo originally by Adrian Turner

Photo originally by Adrian Turner

For the painting I copied a photo taken by Adrian Turner.

High Flying Birds by Peter Cave

High Flying Birds by Peter Cave

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.

Work in progress

Work in progress

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.


Paragliders and a balloon at Combe Gibbet in May or June, 2004

Paragliders and a balloon at Combe Gibbet in May or June, 2004

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.

Backdrop work in progress

Backdrop work in progress

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?)

Clouds added

Clouds added

I used regular acrylic paint brushed on for the cloud highlights. I copied the cloud from a photo I found online.

Using a computer to assist

Using a computer to assist with painting a picture

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.

2 Responses to Hang glider over Berkshire, 1975

  1. Jon Milliken says:

    Fabulous painting, and possibly one of your best so far. I look forward to seeing the actual painting soon.

    • I think you will find that the acrylic paint colors are brighter than they appear in the photo, except for the green, which is a tad less vivid. Nonetheless, my Fuji X-100 digital camera has generally done a good job of reproducing the colors.

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