Sunday, June 8, 2014

Looking up

One thing that is striking about a balloon flight is the silence, broken by an occasional blast from the burner.  The sound reminded me to look up, up at the colorful balloon over my head.  The colors of the envelope spiral up to a central blue parachute.  The parachute seals the envelope, keeping the hot air inside.

The burner (seen at the bottom of the photo) ignites a mixture of liquid propane and air to create a flame that heats the air which rises and fills the envelope.  Because the hot air trapped in the envelope is lighter then the cool air around the balloon, the balloon rises.  The pilot can let hot air escape by pulling ropes that run down from the parachute valve to the basket.  When this is done the balloon descends.

Having blasts of hot fire just above your head is an interesting experience, one I wanted to capture in a painting.  My sketch at right is a composite of two photos, the one above and a second one taken from a slightly different angle when the burner was ignited.  The fire is white hot.  The cooler edges burn yellow to orange.  For the sketch I didn't worry about creating as many lines as the balloon envelope actually had.  I used just enough lines to get the general idea of how the spiral of colors would look with the flame super-imposed on it.

For the full size draft I used the full number of gores.  I used a Prismacolor Orange pencil to create the radial lines.  Winsor Yellow, Winsor Blue (red shade), Phthalocyanine Blue and Quinacridone Rose were used to create the spiraling colors of the balloon's envelope.  The central part of the flame which is white hot, is represented by the white of the paper.  The cooler edges of the flame use Winsor Yellow and Quinacridone Rose.  Finally, shadows were added to the gores of the envelope and the burner to add shape and depth.

No comments:

Post a Comment