The Art of Chris French FGAvA

Professional Aviation and Military Artist

News from the Studio

August 2019

I'm teaming up with fellow artist Anthony Cowland FGAvA to take a trade stand at IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain airshow in September. We will be offering prints (framed and unframed), calendars, greetings cards as well as original paintings. An exciting new venture with lots of preparatory work to do.

The 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition in July went well at the Mall Galleries with over 360 aviation artworks on show.

June 2019

In my role as Vice Chairman of the Guild of Aviation Artists, I'm now busy preparing the catalogue and other material for the 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition in July.  I have also just completed a commission depicting an RAF Tornado F3 at Gibraltar. Click here to take a look.

May 2019

Five of my paintings have been accepted for the 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition in London this Summer. The show will run from July 23rd to 28th at the Mall Galleries and will feature 366 works by 121 artists. I've also completed a commission in support of the Combined Services Barbarians rugby union team. Print reproductions will be sold to raise funds for the charities supported by the team. Click here to take a look.

March 2019

I've had a busy couple of months with a couple of new works delivered to customers. One depicts three RAF aircraft of different eras which reflects an actual flying encounter by the pilot of a DH Vampire in 1959. Click here to view. The other is a of Wildcat helicopter on operations commissioned by the Army Air Corps. Click here to take a look.

December 2018

I attended a 'dining in' night at the Officers' Mass RAF Marham on the 15th November where my painting of the Tornado/F-35B handover was officially presented. I'm about to start work on a commission for the Army Air Corps which will see me through to the new year. I also re-visited a painting I did more than 15 years ago, applying better colour and aerial perspective to the scene. Entitled 'Bennett's Boys', it depicts DH Mosquitos of 105 'Pathfinder' Squadron on low-level navigation training. Click here to take a look.

November 2018

I've completed two more classic British airliners. One is Concorde 101 (pre-production aircraft) and the other is an Airspeed Ambassador operated by Dan-Air in the late 1960s.

October 2018

The painting for RAF Marham to commemorate the arrival of the F-35B Lighning II and imminent retirement of the Tornado GR4 has now been delivered to the Norfolk base. Click here to take a look.

Coincidentally, I've also just completed a scene depicting two HP Victor tankers at RAF Marham in the Winter of 1992/3. Click here to view.

A couple of new paintings have come off the easel depicting classic British airliners. One is the DH Comet 4 and the other is the HS Trident 2E. I hope to do more of the classic UK airliners going forward.

July 2018

The Guild of Aviation Artists' annual exhibition opened at the Mall Galleries on the 9th July and the RAF's centenary flypast and parade took place on the 10th. I was at the Galleries on both days and enjoyed the exhibition opening and the flypast, quite spectacular.

I sold three of my four exhibited paintings on the opening day and was honoured to receive the RAF Museum prize for 'A Complex Subject'. I was also 'highly commended' in three other award categories.

On the subject of the RAF, I've completed a painting for RAF Marham to commemorate the arrival of the F-35B Lighning II. Depicting the F-35B and Tornado GR4, it marks the introduction of the new aircraft and the imminent retirement of the older type. I'll put a copy on the website in due course.

June 2018

I've been busy preparing for the Guild of Aviation Artists' annual exhibition. With my Vice-Chairman's hat on, I've been working with the Guild Committee to ensure all the preparations are in hand. My particular responsibilities include photographing all the accepted works, designing the advertising poster, getting the advert artworks to publishers, designing the catalogue and putting together a looping video which will run on a TV screen in the entrance to the Mall Galleries during the exhibition. It will run from the 9th - 15th July.

May 2018

A short break in my schedule enabled me to depict a nostalgic scene (for me) that I've long wanted to paint. My first ever experience of flight as a child was on a Channel Airways Viscount aircraft from Southend in Essex to Guernsey in the Channel islands. I've painted one of these aircraft just after take-off from Southend on a Summer evening. Happily, this painting swiftly found a buyer. Click here to take a look.

April 2018

I've managed to get a fourth painting done for submission to the 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition. It depicts a Monarch Airlines Airbus A321-200. Click here to take a look. Sadly Monarch ceased trading in 2017 after almost 50 years of operation. The RAF Technical Training School painting will also be submitted for the London exhibition.

I've completed a painting which will form part of an exhibition showing the RAF service career of Leonard Cheshire. A little known fact is that he was the official British observer on the US Army Air Force's atomic bomb drop on Nagasaki. He was on board the third B-29 (officially the photo ship) and witnessed the explosion and mushroom cloud. After carefully researching the landscape, weather conditions and flight path and altitude of the aircraft, I painted a scene that focuses on the B-29 with the bomb drop site in the distance. Click here to take a look.

March 2018

I've spent most of the month painting a large maritime scene depicting gaff schooners in the Atlantic with the ocean liner RMS Berengaria in the distance. I'll put an image on the website once the client has taken delivery.

February 2018

The painting of No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Cosford is now complete. Click here to take a look. I'm delighted that RAF Cosford chose it as their Facebook page header image!  Pressing on with the commission work for the next few months.

January 2018

The MBDA Sea Ceptor missile being launched from HMS Argyll is now on the website. Click here to take a look.

I've almost completed the painting of a scene inside a hangar at No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Cosford. I will be submitting this for the 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition. I have some commission work to do which should keep me busy for the next few months.

January 2018

The commission depicting the MBDA Sea Ceptor missile being launched from HMS Argyll has been delivered to the client and will put up on the website soon.

I've completed a second painting for the 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition. This one depicts a pair of RAF Phantom jets based at Wildenrath in Germany during the Cold War. Click here to take a look.

I recently spent a day at RAF Cosford with a small group of artists sketching at No 1 School of Technical Training and hope to work up a studio painting depicting a scene in one of their hangars in due course.

December 2017

Just winding down for the Christmas festivities and I've almost finished the last commission for completion this year. It depicts the 'First of Class' firing of an MBDA Sea Ceptor missile being launched from a Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate, HMS Argyll (F231). The trials took place this Summer on the Outer Hebrides range.

November 2017

Next year will mark the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the RAF and the Guild of Aviation Artists' 2018 exhibition in London will feature many RAF subjects from the last 100 years. The show, held in July at the Mall Galleries will be on when the RAF stage their Centenary flypast over Buckingham Palace.

With this in mind, I'm planning paintings that will depict RAF subjects. The first one is complete and depicts a Hawker Hurricane Mk4 of South East Asia Command being pulled from the mud by an elephant after sliding off the Pierced Steel Planking runway of an airfield in Burma. Click here to take a look.

I was asked to do a commission of a BOAC VC10 based on 'Turning for Brize' - the RAF VC10 painting that was sold at the 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition in July. This was handed to the client last month. I've also just completed a second commission for Rolls-Royce depicting an Air New Zealand Dreamliner. This is to be presented to the airline in Auckland.

September 2017

It's been a busy few months with a variety of work crossing the easel.

"The Line in Winter" limited edition print run depicting Binbrook Lightnings is now available from Hansen Fine Art. Click here to find out more. Produced in support of the Lightning Preservation Group, these are available as 'Artist Signed' only or countersigned by two or six ex-Lightning pilots and groundcrew.

I exhibited four works at the 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition at the Mall Galleries in July and sold 'Turning for Brize'.

The painting of a 111 Sqn Phantom in a Hardened Aircraft Shelter was completed and delivered to the client who was very pleased with the result.

Other commissions include: a triple airliner portrayal showing Britannia, Thomson and TUI liveries on three different Boeing models; a Tornado F3 being marshalled from a hardened aircraft shelter at night; a row of Avro Vulcan bombers on a snowy dispersal at dawn and an EL AL Dreamliner departing Tel-Aviv commissioned by Rolls-Royce. These too can be viewed on my Aviation from 1981 gallery page.

May 2017

A limited edition print run of "The Line in Winter" depicting RAF Lightning aircraft at Binbrook in the 1980s has been produced and will soon be available from Hansen Fine Art. These have been produced in support of the Lightning Preservation Group who keep two of these iconic aircraft in working order at Bruntingthorpe airfield.

Speaking of Lightnings, I am submitting a painting of a 56 Sqn Lightning for this year's 'Aviation Paintings of the Year' exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. As well as this, I am submitting three more paintings; 'South Atlantic Top-up' which depicts 1435 Flight Phantoms refuelling from a Hercules C.1 over the Falklands, 'Turning for Brize' depicting an RAF Vickers VC10, and 'Iron Duck' which depicts a Royal Navy Lynx HMA.8 helicopter with HMS Iron Duke in the background.

Another recent painting was commissioned as a surprise gift for a retiring airline pilot from his sons. It depicts the first aircraft he flew in airline service (B737-200) and the last (B787-9).

I'm working on a 111 Sqn Phantom in a Hardened Aircraft Shelter at the moment and should have this completed within the coming weeks.

All images copyright Chris French FGAvA.

Professional Aviation and Military Artist

The Art of

Chris French FGAvA

Professional Aviation and Military Artist