Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Flight Line

Greg Manchess

This is the last week of my show in Paris at Galerie Daniel Maghen, ending on Halloween night.

The opening was a great success as I sold quite a number of the new paintings I’ve been sharing here on Muddy, and the gallery is eager to do another show in about two years. I already have plans to paint large, grand themes!

Initially, the gallery’s request was for me to paint whatever I wanted. Who wouldn’t love to hear that? But it also means that it comes with the responsibility to produce work that excites people. I’d learned many years ago that if I can focus enough to excite myself about a subject, then it’s more likely that a client will respond to that same excitement if I can get it across in the painting.

Flight Line was the first piece on my board, derived from my interest in raptors, aviation, and pilots. Combining a classic mythical creature with this theme seemed out of place, but oddly made sense. I made several sketches and still wasn’t sure that anyone would appreciate what I loved about it.

The image’s seed was planted from watching so many movies about WW1. The pilots rallying for their sortie. Similar to the canvas biplanes waiting along the dew grass flight line of the Lafayette Escadrille, the gryphons pull against the restraints of the mechanics who prep the beasts for launch, awaiting their individual pilot-trainers.

To build the image, I sketched each gryphon and pilot separately, then combined the pilots with their birds. I traced these sketches onto separate sheets of tracing paper and then laid them onto a main sheet so I could move them around, to find just the right composition. I projected that final sketch onto my canvas and traced it off. The finished piece is about 48” across and took several days. Lots to cover. 

I’ve got a new world to write about now. The visual tease is enough for me to create the background history to flesh out the story. This is how stories start, especially for artists, and especially for the new crop of artist-authors that are coming up.

Flight Line was also the first painting to sell in the show, followed by Night Patrol which is also part of this same world.


  1. So cool, Greg! I love the worlds you create. (On that note, has there been any action on the "polar explorers" story?)

  2. Hi Greg,

    The young Kid in me says WOW! Super way Cool!! CAN I FLY TOO!

    The older, to verbose, adult says…

    Ahhhh Mannn you sold it already?! Did Fog Rider sell to?

    I'm assuming a yes... Both paintings have become my new favorites. They both just snapped right away. Instantly I was right there. Flight Line is chock full of adrenaline, it's go time. And of course there’s gryphons with pilots! Fog Rider is tense, full of anticipation, my nerves on edge... waiting for something to move... loving it, living it, dreading it all at once.

    It looks like you changed Flight Line's background subtly since the IMC. Did you add kicked up dust and heat ripples on the right side? and maybe removed mountains from the back ground or a hanger, or was that just part of a conversation we had one evening? I think what you added and what you left alone since the IMC all worked out great in the final peice.

    The big questions are, you sold your paintings, how does that play into doing posters, or using the image in a future book? And does the buyer have limited rights on how they can use the original, can they sell their own copies if they choose to?

    Thanks Greg, I’m really enjoying your adventure work.

    Mike Perusse

  3. Thanks, all!

    Glad you enjoy these, Mike! Fog Rider has not sold yet. We'll see.

    As for the technical questions....the buyers only own the original and have not purchased any rights, so are not entitled to do anything with it, except show the original. The rights aren't limited, they're nil. Always retain reproduction rights for your work. Unless the client is specifically buying certain rights, such as for advertising.

    And to answer your question, Tora....I will be breaking the latest news about "Above The Timberline" on Muddy Colors very soon! : ) Thanks for asking!


    1. Thanks for the Response greg... I'll second Tora's Huzzah! on "Above the Timberline"

      In response the technical questions: so at the time of purchase you need to have a purchase and sale agreement that states "nil" rights of what the client is buying, Instead of just taking the check... ...sounds silly, but I will have to remember this.

      I imagine some paintings are hard to part with...

      Thanks, Mike

  4. Magnifique. Hip hip hip Hourra :)
    It was a real pleasure to meet you and see yours works in real !


  5. My favorite griffins ever. So sad I couldn't go see them in Paris!

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