Thursday 25 February 2010

François Cevert 1944-1973

Today is the anniversary of François Cevert’s birth in 1944 … he would be 66 years old.

I like to think that he would have accomplished so much if he was still amongst us, because he had done so much in his tragically short life.

He left such an strong mark on us … his skill on the track, his grace and elegance, his respect and dedication to his “métier”, his colleagues and his team, and of course, his wonderful smile, and those piercing, intense blue eyes …

Nous pensons à toi, François!

Original in Prismacolor pencils on mid-gray stock
© Paul Chenard 2009
Lyndsay Styles collection

A limited edition of 50 Giclee prints 11"x 14.5" (27.9 cm x 36.8 cm) is available.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Making 3D out of 2D …

The Lotus 49 was another of a long line of brilliant Colin Chapman (and Maurice Phillipe) designs, being the first Formula 1 racecar to successfully use the motor as a stress-bearing structural member.

Jim Clark won 4 races in 1967 driving the Lotus 49, and the first race of the 1968 season before being tragically killed in an F2 race in Hockenheim.

I decided to illustrate a "faux" 1967 Silverstone poster, done in the old mid '60s British style.

In the sketch, Clark leads 2nd place finisher Denny Hulme in his Brabham BT24, followed by 3rd place Chris Amon in his Ferrari 312 F1.

As an experiment, I wanted to render a normally 2D sketch into 3D. To create the 3D illusion, I had to illustrate the cars in parts, and then assemble the parts onto the illustrated background.

For example, the Clark Lotus 49 is built from 9 separate illustrations, cut out, and assembled in layers to create a "trompe l'oeil". The 3 cars are done like that, and positioned into their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd race finishing order. The "Silverstone" text is also cut out paper ...

Prismacolor pencils on individual coloured papers, cut out and layered onto background

© Paul Chenard 2010

Marc Hogenkamp Collection

Commissions are available.

Friday 12 February 2010

My First Talk-Show Appearance ...

Just before Christmas, I was contacted by a Radio-Canada TV researcher about appearing on the French-language talk-show Luc et Luc, hosted by Luc Leblanc, to talk about my art. After a brief chat, she said she would call back to confirm.

Sure enough, she called back a few days later to confirm that I was scheduled to go to Moncton, New Brunswick, on January 6th for the shows taping.

My wife Lise and I left the afternoon of the 6th for the 2.5 hour drive to get to studio in time. Once there, I met the researcher for a briefing, and than the host Luc LeBlanc for introductions and going over interview notes. Everyone who worked on the show were extremely pleasant and professional, which helped me relax.

We sat to the side with the studio audience, and each waited our turn to be interviewed. It was very, very entertaining, with the host keeping the audience laughing, even when the cameras weren’t on … he’s a very funny guy.

My turn came up, and I can’t say I remember too much of what I said. Towards the end of the 6 minute interview, Luc had me do a sketch in front of the live studio audience ... it was stressful, and fun at the same time!

Prismcolor sticks (black & white) on 20"x 26" gray achival stock.
© Paul Chenard 2010
Luc LeBlanc Collection

After my interview, I finished the sketch and gave it the host as a gift. I was so distracted that I forgot to take a photo of it before we left. Last week, the host sent me a "thank you" card with a pic of me sketching during the interview, and over the weekend, he e-mailed a pic of the finished sketch … a very thoughtful guy!

The show will air by the end of March … I’m look forward to seeing it.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

French Racing Blue

In these days of race cars covered with sponsors logos and colours, it’s easily to forget that race teams used to race for their country, not their sponsors.

To differentiate the country for which to team raced, a colour-coding was developed. The first usage of this came during Gordon Bennett Cup races in 1900-1905 which was a race between Nations and their automotive products. Germany was assigned white, Belgium yellow, USA red, United Kingdom green, and France blue.

As more and more countries got into racing, the colour palette grew, and some colours changed, most notably Germany to silver, Italy to red, and the USA to white with blue, but France maintained it’s traditional blue.

The cars that shared those various shades of French blue are Peugeot, Ballot, Amilcar, Salmson, Voisin, Delage, Delahaye, Talbot-Lago, Gordini, Alpine, Matra and of course, Bugatti.

1947 Simca Gordini T15
Photo courtesy & © John Mackenzie

1971 Matra-Simca MS120B
Photo courtesy & © John Mackenzie

They were much simpler times, when racers drove for their nation, and not necessarily the highest bidder.

This all changed in 1968, when Colin Chapman carried non-automotive, Players Gold Leaf cigarette graphics on his Lotus 49’s.

The advertising floodgates were opened for good … and gone, with very few exceptions, were the international colours.

All images © Paul Chenard