Painting a proper classic - The E-Type Jaguar

You just cannot have too many classic car paintings when you are going to Goodwood for the Revival event. It is designed to hail all things good before 1966, which is when the E-Type, or XKE for my American friends, was in full swing.

I have photographed many E-Types over time, and I always try to get an interesting angle on my reference images, not just the average side on shot, but something that accentuates various elements of the car, something that defines the cars personality and with the perfectly proportioned E-Type, its all about the curves.

I decided on a blue series 1 with a rear 3/4 shot, and focussing on the curves catching the sunlight as it is reflected along the side of the car.

Blue jaguar E-type

Also I wanted to add some interest to the background, so I added in some rolling hills, as though the owner was on an early morning drive, on some hillside open roads with little else to bother them ( a romantic notion I know, but how can you not be romantic in such a beautiful car), and there we have it, composition sorted.

I start of by roughly sketching out the car, checking proportions and using my very old draughtsman's French curves set, and radius gauges to get each curve flowing correctly into the next one. This normally takes a morning.

I then blocked in the main colours of the car body, and added some of the background around the car.

Blue Jaguar E-Type painting on easel

With acrylic paints, you can't blend them as well as you would with oils, unless you use other secondary products for extending the drying time etc, and as I like to paint in a pop art style with bold colours, I get straight to it, so the background shapes flow in a similar way to the reflections on the side of the car.

After this was completed I painted the inside of the car and the background through the windows, and I defined the single wheel of the image.

Jaguar E-Type painting in progress

I have to be honest, I was dreading painting the wire wheel, but when all of the background colour was dry, I actually marked it out with a white coloured pencil to give something like a pattern to aim for, and I am more than happy with the end result.

Final elements to sort are the panel gaps, chrome, shade under the car, sparkles on the body work, and the glass.

I love painting chrome, as this is an area of the piece where you can reflect (sorry) artistic intent. At this point I also tidied up the paint lines along the car, and painted the glass.

To do this, I use a glazing agent, (no pun intended, that's what its called) to dilute the white paint. I completely mask off everywhere around the glass then I paint it on with a wide brush to replicate the sun reflecting off the glass.

One other thing I did at this stage was to repaint the exhausts as I just didn't like them, they looked to be too far away from the car.

And that's all there is too it, sounds a lot easier when you write it down.