Rob Ross

(From ‘The Joy of Painting’ Episode: “Stinger Missile Manual” with Rob Ross – first published in Prick of the Spindle – October 21, 2016)

Hi, welcome back. So glad you could join me.

Today we’ll be working on the manual for a happy little shoulder-held surface-to-air missile, the Raytheon FIM-92 “Stinger.”

Here I’ve got a prepared canvas, gessoed and dried. Now that we’ve got our horizon and our nice warm blue sky done, it’s time to place our target. The target is the aircraft that we’re aiming at, the aircraft in the ‘Lock’ screen. That’s what the soldier sees in the weaponsight when the missile has identified a target and it’s happy. Then it locks onto the target. In the ‘Lock’ screen.

We’ve loaded our knife with a little Dark Sienna, and some Midnight Black and a little Titanium White. Don’t mix it too much. And maybe our target lives right about here…and boop! There we go! That’s the leading edge of the wing of our Soviet Sukhoi SU-25 ‘Frogfoot,’ a twin engine ground-attack jet. Our target just where we want it.

Now we need a happy little cockpit for our pilot. A cockpit is easy. Just a little touch and a push of the knife. There! And around and around we go, touch and push, touch and push.

Add a little Liquid White to the knife. And now we add the wings! Two happy wings, just a touch and push. Touch and push. Touch, touch. And push. There.

And say we have some little weapons pods that live right under the wings here and there, okay? Just like that. Tap and pull. See? Tap and pull, tap and pull. Look at that. Happy little weapons pods under the wings.

Maybe in our world, directly below the target, lives a big waterfall. A big, happy waterfall. So we use our big brush, and load just a bit of Titanium White and a little Phthalo Blue. And touch, and pull down. Just like that. Touch. And pull. What could be simpler? There we are. You decide how big he is, mister waterfall. Just pull straight down. Touch and pull.

And maybe there’s some little trees that live down here alongside the waterfall. See that? Just like that. Happy little trees. Just tap, tap, tap. And tap, tap, tap. Wherever you like.

And maybe some grass lives here, too. Nice soft grass down here at the bottom of the waterfall. Grab another fan brush, we’ll take a little blue, go into the yellows, and a little more black, that’s too light. Okay. Now. There we go. And it’s just a nice light tap and pull. Tap and pull. Tap and pull.

And maybe around the bottom of this waterfall there’s a beautiful mist. Just use the old fan brush, with a bit of the Titanium White. Now just spin and wiggle and make all kinds of little shapes, happy shapes on top of each other. This is where you have a lot of fun. A lot of fun. Let ‘em work for you. Just the brush strokes. You can do it easy. Why work at it?

Then you take a 2-inch clean brush, and just blend it. Blend it, blend it. Just blend this mist. All around our happy waterfall. There’s our nice mist.

Boy, isn’t this a beautiful place to come and hike or fish? Of course, we might have to watch for falling wreckage after we send that Stinger home. We’ll hope that the litter spin will progress along the flight-path, and take that bad old debris off the canvas and right out of our world.

You know, painting’s fantastic, because over the years, we know of literally hundreds of aircraft taken out by Stingers. And we’ve painted many, many, many of them.

(Cleans brush.)

Here we need some flares. These are the flares the pilot will deploy to try to confuse the Stinger’s infrared targeting system. But it’s no use. The jet and its pilot can’t escape. But he’ll try. So we’ll load up our painter’s round brush with nice Liquid White. And tap, tap, tap, tap. Those are the flare shapes. That’s how we do it. And we’ll have the flares coming out and falling down from the jet. We’ll tap, tap, tap one over here…and here…and here. That’s it. No need to work at it. Just let the tap, tap, tap do the work.

Now let’s add some details to the flare. Some happy sparky patterns. These will live inside the flare shapes. We’ll take our nice detail brush, and load up a happy Titanium White now. And starting at the center of the flare shape, just a nice, flick, flick, flick. Just nice, happy flicks from the center, outward. And have fun.

It’s all a lot of fun.

If it feels good and doesn’t hurt anybody else, it’s all right.

It’s all a lot of fun.

(Graphic by Cynthia Reeser Constantino)