‘Hoover’s Fighting Spitfire’ nears completion

If you have been following this series about the creation of a Sam Lyons painting, you have seen his latest work progress from its earliest sketches to a full, 24-inch x 30-inch canvas featuring a Spitfire flown by Bob Hoover during World War II.

As we rejoin Sam Lyons, the airplanes are complete in every possible detail. You can see that the wing of Hoover’s Spitfire is masked off, allowing the background to be painted without worry about getting its paint on the plane.

The background is essential to setting this scene, according to Lyons. Hoover and his squadron were flying out of a base at Calvi, on the northwest coast of Corsica, patrolling the coastline from Cannes to Genoa. Lyons researched the coastline of southern France and found photos and maps, in books and on the Internet, to use for guidance.

You can see that Lyons pays minute attention to the fine details of the painting. He works with a magnifier and the tiniest of brushes to re-create blades of grass, or the narrow dirt road winding around a mountain.

“Before I started painting, I owned a hobby shop and made a heck of a lot of airplane models,” he says. “I know how important it is to get those details right. Believe me, if you get it wrong, someone will tell you about it.”

In our June issue you’ll see the finished canvas, titled “Hoover’s Fighting Spitfire,” in all its glory.

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