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  • Writer's pictureDale Jackson

Painting a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver

Since I recently finished the large oil painting of the ocean, I asked my son what airplane he'd like me to paint. I think I knew the answer already, and to my delight, I was correct. He wanted me to paint a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver. He's building the balsa model of this iconic airplane as well, so my guess was good!

I really love the DH Beaver as well. Wikipedia offers a description of this plane, "The de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined high-wing propeller-driven short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft developed and manufactured by de Havilland Canada. It has been primarily operated as a bush plane and has been used for a wide variety of utility roles, such as cargo and passenger hauling, aerial application (crop dusting and aerial topdressing), and civil aviation duties." (

It is quite an icon for bush pilots in the wild North! and it is a favorite subject for many aviation artists.

I wanted to capture this aircraft in it's natural habitat flying amid the rugged terrain it is made to fly around.

For starters, I've developed a small rough and was really sold on that first idea immediately. It's what I call a "beauty pass" and I've used this type of angle before in my aviation art works.

Here is that "beauty pass" rough concept. I wanted the airplane to fly over forests of pine trees with majestic mountains rising up in the background and clouds that were basically pushing up and over them.

The next phase was to flesh this idea out more with a bit bigger drawing. I basically sketched out a 9" x 7" frame and started to develop this rough into a more mature yet still conceptual drawing.

I am using the same pencil that I used with my tiny rough drawing. In the picture below, I'm contrasting the airplane against the majestic mountain with the plane just rising above the pine forests below as if it just

The next photo shows the completed concept drawing. I've concentrated on values, keeping a good separation of the light values of the aircraft in contrast against the mountains.

Next, I'll start developing one or two color studies before moving on to the painting.

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