Sunday 20 December 2015

An Addiction to Writing Books

It’s been a few years since I published my first book “Silver Clouds: The 1934 Grand Prix Season”.

That first one was somewhat of a “bucket list” project, something that I thought I should do before moving on to the next life … there is a next life, isn’t there?

It wasn’t easy, but at the same time it was.

There were so many things to deal with ­– budget, research (so much research!!!), aesthetics, design, logistics, editing – real hard work, but overriding all of that was passion for the project, and a curiosity to see what the final result could and would be.

I wrote it, illustrated it, designed it, hand-assembled it, and self-published it. As I had no idea what would happen, I made it a limited edition, signed and numbered, of 50 copies.

It was never THE book on the 1934 season, it was MY book of the 1934 season, yet it did very well and sold out quickly as the reviews came in.

The book bug has been biting me ever since, so I’ve now written my second book.

I’ve taken a different track this time. Still wanting to self-publish (to maintain aesthetic control), I chose the go through Blurb books for all the book/magazine/catalogue options available to the writer/designer/artist. Their user-interface is also nothing short of brilliant!

This time, my new 10"x 8" hardcover book “Ferrari in Art” features the Ferrari motorsports art that I’ve created over the years, with descriptions and stories of the art and subject.

You can take a look at my new book offering by going to this link:

With each order, the buyer has a choice of 1 of 4 (10"x 8") Ferrari posters.

By the way, even though I have scratched that itch, there are still a few books in me waiting to get out …

Sunday 18 October 2015

My Summer “Vacation”

This past Summer, I travelled to the United Kingdom and Belgium to attend events and sketch what I found interesting.

I’ve been working at refining the idea of “live” sketching, where I sketch an interesting motorized vehicle on-the-spot, no matter what the context or situation.

The most interesting aspect of it is the not-knowing what will happen next, and be able to adapt to any changes, whatever they may be.

There are always spectators who have questions, or who want to chat, which I very much appreciate; it’s comforting as an artist to have so many people interested in what you do. There are also the professional photo-journalists who look for that different image to make their story-telling more unique.

There are the changing weather conditions (especially in the UK and Belgium!); wind, rain, the movement of the sun … they all impact the final result.

Other things that impact the art, or more accurately, the artist, are the noises of racing engines being tuned, exhaust fumes that burn the eyes, flames coming out the exhaust pipes, or even the race car being moved.

Finally, there is the time crunch of trying to get 2 artworks done in one day, for which I don’t always have much control over.

Sometimes the car is racing within the 2 hours, so there is a minimum amount of the art-piece that needs to be finished. For a land speed record car at the Brooklands Reunion, I had to reset up 3 or 4 times to get the artwork finally finished.

Below are the 16 artworks that I created at these 5 events … my summer “Vacation” …

Silverstone Classic

Brooklands Reunion

Goodwood Revival

Spa Historic 6 Hours

Sywell Classic Pistons & Props

Friday 31 July 2015

The Blue Bird Sunbeam Returns to Pendine Sands

The 350HP Sunbeam was built in 1920 as a record car, powered by the enormous 18.3-litre V12 Sunbeam Manitou engine.

By 1922, it had already broken 3 land speed records in the hands of various drivers.

In 1923, it was purchased by Sir Malcolm Campbell who had it repainted blue and re-christened “Blue Bird”.

On July 21st, 1925, racing Blue Bird on Pendine Sands in Wales, Sir Malcolm set a new land speed record of 150.766 mph (242.628 km/h).

© Paul Chenard 2015

Exactly 90 years later, the Blue Bird Sunbeam was returned to Pendine Sands to celebrate and honour this historic achievement.

© Paul Chenard 2015

The event was made that much more special with Sir Malcolm’s grandson Donald Wales, a land speed record holder in his own right, taking the wheel of this very beautiful record car.

© Paul Chenard 2015

© Paul Chenard 2015

© Paul Chenard 2015

The Blue Bird was joined on the beach by the powerful 1933 Napier Railton.

© Paul Chenard 2015

© Paul Chenard 2015

The sight of these 2 record-breakers on the beach was nothing short of stunning, a very fitting tribute the bravery of those drivers of the past, and of British technological history.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Pinehurst Concours d’Élégance 2015

In early May, I was commissioned to be the roving artist at the 3rd annual Pinehurst Concours d’Élégance, a stunning event held at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

The quality of the event was second to none, and organizer Jay Howard and his competent team made it shine! The Concours and car show are vast and very well organized.

My job was to sketch the cars of participants, each of who paid the organization $750 USD for me to sketch their cars, with the money going in support of the USO, the official charity.

I also donated an original artwork for auction, and it raised $1250 USD towards the USO.

Actor Denise Haysbert was invited to be the Grand Marshall of the event, which he did with much poise and class. I luckily got to meet and chat with him … very nice and approachable guy!

The first car that I sketch was a lovely 1959 Porsche 356 Carrera Coupe. Once I finished, the owner took me for a little spin in it … it had impressive performance!

That sketch was followed by an Austin Healey 3000, a 2005 Ferrari 575 SuperAmerica, and a 1965 Jaguar XKE Coupe. I literarily ran out of time, so that I did the final sketches of a McLaren P1 and a Ferrari NART/California Spyders grouping at home.

Over the weekend, I was very fortunate to meet in person for the first time some old friends. Automotive PR guru Deb Pollack was responsible for me being at the event, and she was there representing Singer Vehicle Design, who were unveiling their new customer-owned 911 from Virginia and restored by Singer. Deb’s an absolute gem!!!

I also had a wonderful visit from Jennifer Revson, and I loved every second that we spent together!

Keith Koldsbaek of Hendrick Motorsports also came by to meet me, which was a huge honour for me.

The event was capped off with an outdoor concert by 3 Dog Night, and they really had the crowd hopping!

All together, my participation in the event raised a total of $5750 USD for the USO, which I’m very proud of. I hope that I can return to build on what was started.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Denise McCluggage 1927-2015

I’ve known of Denise McCluggage for years, admiring her ability to do many things very well … racing cars, writing, skiing, editing, publishing, giving presentations, but most of all, being a role model.

When I wrote my first book, I emailed her a PDF of it before publishing it, and her support and encouragement convinced me to go ahead.

A couple of years ago, when I knew it was her birthday, I celebrated it by buying two of her limited edition photos … and she added a 3rd one to thank me!!!

When my friend Peter Bourassa of Motorsport Marketing Resources invited Denise to give her “The Centered Driver” presentation in Lawrence, MA in January 2014, I knew I had to go meet her in person.

As a backdrop to her presentation, I offered to paint a large, 2-panel mural on the second floor of European Motorsports, the venue for her presentation; Peter and European Motorsports owner Michael Ricciardi enthusiastically accepted.

I had just finished the mural on the day of the presentation when Denise showed up. Wow, I couldn’t believe that I was in the same room with her, and she couldn’t believe that I painted a mural for her presentation!

That evening, her sold-out presentation was a hit; she was very dynamic, and had everyone’s ear, listening to her every word of wisdom.

Peter, me, Denise and Michael
Later on, we did get to chat a bit, share a couple of meals, and I showed her one of my most precious collectibles, my 1959 Fuller Brush catalog, which she wrote.

She was surprised to see a copy because they are hard to come by, and she told me the story behind it. Then she kindly autographed it for me!!!

I was very privileged to meet her – she was such a dynamo, bubbling with ideas, that I can’t help thinking that she’s still going strong … somewhere out there …

Saturday 18 April 2015

Bluebird-Proteus CN7 Record Car

The Campbell family legacy of breaking land speed records goes back to Sir Malcolm Campbell born in the county of Kent, England in 1885.

He was a racing driver and journalist who took on the challenge, between 1924 and 1935, of setting numerous land speed records in various cars that he choose to christen “Bluebird”.

Sir Malcolm passed away in 1948, and his son Donald, born in 1921, decided to take on the challenge of speed.

He started on water with his father’s old record boat Bluebird K4. With modifications, the boat showed great promise, but he did not manage to set any new records with it.

Donald commissioned a new boat the Bluebird K7 of extremely advanced design, and through the 1950’s, set many new water speed records.

At the end of the 1950’s, he commissioned a land speed record car, which he christened Bluebird-Proteus CN7. It was a stunningly beautiful car, powered by a modified Bristol-Siddeley Proteus turbine engine driving all 4 wheels.

Corgi #153 Proteus Campbell Bluebird (1960-1965)

In 1960, he brought Bluebird to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA for testing. After various trial runs, making adjustments all along, Campbell crashed CN7, damaging it extensively and putting himself in hospital.

It was rebuilt through 1962 with a tail fin to add stability and was tested in 1963 on Eyre Lake, a normally dry lakebed in Australia.

After many months of bad conditions for a land speed run, there was a break in the weather and on July 17, 1964, Campbell decided to go for it.

Bluebird-Proteus CN7 on it's record run
Acrylic, pen&ink and colour pencils on 24"x 10.5" (60.9cm x 25.4cm) watercolour paper
© Paul Chenard  - Original art available -

On his two courageous runs, he brought Bluebird to an average speed of 403.10 mph (648.73 km/h), a new world land speed record for a wheel-driven car. Victory was his!!!

Sadly, Donald Malcolm Campbell CBE was killed while attempting a new world water speed record in the modified Bluebird K7 on Coniston Water, Lancashire, UK on the 4th of January 1967.