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Thursday, 25 August 2016

East Coast Exotic Car Show

Giving back to your community is not always on our radar.
Life seems to carry us away like a speeding train, and we sometimes find it hard to step off.

On August 20th, the East Coast Exotic Car Show was taking place in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation.

Though I’m doing well in my role as a “starving artist”, I saw it as an opportunity to give back, in that my art could help raise funds for this worthy cause.

My framed art donation – 
1964 Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 250LM sketch

On the Friday evening before the event, there was a VIP reception with a live fundraising auction. I donated an original framed artwork, and that netted $750!

The next day during the show, I volunteered to live-sketch 2 of the cars, with the owners commissioning me, and giving the organization a donation of $1000 per sketch.

Photo © Terry Miller 2016

Photo © Susan Kerslake 2016

It all worked very well, with me sketching a lovely yellow Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 and a striking purple Porsche GT3 RS.

There was an impressive assortment of exotic cars, lots of eye candy for the spectators, including the Porsche 919 Hybrid racer and a BMW M1! Many of cars there were loaned in support of the event by Maritime Provinces car owners!

A lot of people stopped to chat while I sketched away, which made it an even more enjoyable day for me.

It’s very satisfying to know that you can make a difference for children in need and their families.

Monday, 4 July 2016

1971 ADAC 1000km Nürburgring

The Nürburgring 1000 km race (now called the 6 Hours of Nürburgring) started in 1953.

Through the beginning history of the race, Maserati and Aston Martin featured strongly, with a switch to Ferrari in the early 1960’s, then to Porsche in the later part of that decade.

For the 1971 edition, Porsche had an extremely strong presence there, with a least 9 models represented – 917K, 910, 908/03 & /02, 907, 906, 911T & S, 914/6 – a real armada!

The only cars providing a real challenge to the Porsches were the Ferrari’s (models 512M & S, 312PB, Dino 246GT) and the Alfa Romeo’s (models T33/3 & /2, GTA).

The S.p.A. Ferrari SEFAC 312PB of Jacky Ickx/Clay Regazzoni took the pole grid post, followed by the Autodelta S.p.A. Alfa Romeo T33/3 of Rolf Stommelen/Nanni Galli and the International Martini Racing Team Porsche 908/3 of Vic Elford/Gérard Larrousse.

Acrylic on 12”x 10” (30.48cm x 25.4cm) canvas
© Paul Chenard 2015 – Original painting available.

Elford quickly took an early lead and, together with Larrousse, won the race, followed by the 908/3’s of Pedro Rodroguez/Jo Siffert and of Gijs van Lennep/Helmut Marko.

A very Porsche clean sweep … they took 7 of the top 10 places!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

1978 Canadian Grand Prix

This coming weekend, it’s the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Canadian Grand Prix first became a Formula 1 event in 1967 with the race held at Mosport Park near Toronto, Ontario. Through the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s the race was shared between Mosport Park and the Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Québec.

As speeds built up, it was felt the Mosport and Mont-Tremblant were not safe enough, so for 1978, a new Formula 1 track was built in Montréal called Circuit Île Notre-Dame on the island of Notre-Dame.

Pen&ink and markers on 11.5"x 9" watercolour paper

© Paul Chenard 2013

For that inaugural race, Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve, along with teammate Carlos Reutermann, were there racing Ferrari T3’s for Scuderia Ferrari.

Cold and wet weather greeted the teams for practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday, and Villeneuve managed to get his car to 3rd place on the starting grid behind Jean-Pierre Jarier (Lotus) and Jody Scheckter (Wolf).

The rain was gone for race day, but it was bitterly cold and cloudy, not ideal racing conditions. Villeneuve stayed with the leaders from the start, and as they dropped out he moved up to take the lead, driving in a smooth and steady way.

He went on to win his first Grand Prix race in front of the home crowd on the new track, a real storybook ending!

After Gilles Villeneuve’s passing in 1982, the track was renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his honour.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Indy 500 – Now and Then ...

The 100th Indianapolis 500 is just around the corner, and it’s making out to be an exciting race.

Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe captured the pole position at 230.760 mph!! It’s doubly amazing because a year ago, Hinchcliffe almost died from the results of an Indy 500 practice crash!

The first running of the Indy 500 was just as exciting.

In 1911, there were 40 cars running the race vs the 33 cars for 2016.

Driver Ray Harroun was running his car, the Marmon Wasp, without a riding mechanic, the only one doing so in the race. To have an idea of what was going on around him, Harroun installed a mirror on the cowl, the first recorded use of a rear-view mirror!

Hand-carved/acrylic painted 22"x 12.5"
© Paul Chenard 2016

Harroun, relieved by driver Cyrus Patschke for 35 laps of the race, lead for 88 laps of the 200-lap race, and won it with an average speed of 74.602 mph.

He retired from racing after the race, and lived to the ripe age of 89 years old, passing away in early 1968.

The lovely Marmon Wasp survives still, residing in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Bugatti Sale of the Century

American John Shakespeare from Illinois was a curious gentleman who sought the unusual and the exciting.

Heir to his father’s fishing tackle fortune, John discovered fast cars amongst his other distractions of skydiving and waterskiing. He also had interests in
oil, real estate and auto dealerships.

He tried his hand at racing Ferraris in the mid-1950s, even racing with Luigi Chinetti to a 6th place finish of the 1954 Carrera Panamericana in a Ferrari 375 MM.

By 1963, he had accumulated a large collection of rare cars, with a strong focus on Bugatti’s.

brothers in Mulhouse France heard of his Bugatti’s, and thought they would make excellent additions to the museum they were creating.

Negotiations began, with lots of back and forth, and by 1964, a deal was struck where Shakespeare would selling them all his 30 Bugatti’s for the lowly sum, including shipping, of $85,000 USD, which works out to about $650,000 USD in today’s money!

John Shakespeare seeing off his 30 Bugatti's
Pen&ink and white markers on blue and brown paper © Paul Chenard 2016

They were all loaded up on railcars, and shipped to France.

Considering that most individual vintage Bugatti’s sell between $350,000 and $30,000,000 USD today, the Shakespeare Bugatti deal could certainly be considered the used-car sale of the century!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

1956 Mille Miglia

Few races in the world were as difficult and dangerous as the Mille Miglia.

The race took place on public roads through Italy, starting in the northern town of Brescia, where it weaved it’s way down the western coast to Rome, crossed over to and up the eastern coast to finish again in Brescia.

It ran non-stop over the length of the day, and for 1956, totalled 992.332 miles (1597 kms) in full distance.

Historically, other than a few exceptions, the race was mostly won in Alfa Romeo’s. Alfa Romeo’s rein on the race changed in 1948 when Ferrari finally won.

By 1956, there were no less than 5 Scuderia Ferraris in the race, and not surprisingly, they took the top 5 positions!

Pen & Ink, watercolour pencils and acrylic pens on 18"x 12" watercolour paper.  © Paul Chenard 2016

The winning Ferrari 290 MM Scaglietti was driven “sans” navigator by Italian driver Eugenio Castellotti (1930-1957) in a time of 11hr 37:10.

It was a quite an accomplishment in an extremely miserable, wet and rainy race, with a number of fatal accidents.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Art should challenge!

Art should, in my mind, challenge, educate and inspire the viewer.

As an automotive artist/historian, it’s also important to me that my art tell a story. I try to challenge myself and the viewer by trying different medium to tell that story.

The chosen medium for an art-piece is influenced by many variables; my location, my mood, the story to be told, how that story might have been told in the past, and how it can be retold differently.

One of the mediums that I sometimes choose is creating the art on a specific colour of paper. For example, I did the 1969 Matra with Sir Jackie Stewart driving, which is done on blue paper.

Though I’ve used no blue in the art, an interesting illusion happens where the blue of the body of the car looks different than the blue of the paper. The mind re-interprets the colour!

I’ve also create laser-cut stainless steel illustrations, in this case, the 1959 Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1, where the black part of an original pen & ink artwork is laser-cut clear out of a sheet of stainless steel, then painted the main subject colour (green).

I have black-painted sheet metal behind the illustration coloured sheet metal, and paint the highlights and secondary colours on the green illustration sheet metal. It all hides the fact there is no black in the art, but it is actually cut out metal.

Using the same kind of laser cutting, I added another layer of information in the illustration but doing laser-cut art of the engine, hidden behind the bonnet. It makes for a nice surprise for the viewer!

Most recently, I’ve been playing with the idea that a bunch of abstract colour blocks become a recognizable image as you step further away for the art-piece, which featured the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring-winning GT40 MKII X1.

For this artwork, I choose the use coloured paper, which I match as closely to the original image as possible, then trim out and glue down on the 3000 + rectangle grid that I’ve created to build the art.

Though it was very tedious to work on, the final result is very surprising. As a test, I blurred the photo of the art using Photoshop, and it looks like an original photo was used!

Interesting, the final art seems full of action, which is possible caused in part by the “vibration” that happens when certain colours are put side by side.

I think as an artist, one mustn’t stay in the same medium or technique and get “comfortable”; the artist should always push themself into new territory, and constantly explore.

This helps keep their art fresh and challenging.

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 …