The Aviation Art of Richard Louis Newman

Welcome to "In The Studio" with Eastern's Boeing 727!

Welcome aboard!

It seems only appropriate that my first 727 painting be in the colors of Eastern Airlines ... after all, Eastern was very much instrumental in the design and launch of the 727-100, and also operated large numbers of the stretched -200 up until the airline's collapse. N8831E, my chosen aircraft, featured yet another version of the Eastern "hockey stick" paint scheme known as the "bikini". As the painting gets underway, note that the light blue stripe which usually surrounded the cabin windows, finds itself below the windows, and only half the width of the typical hockey stick design.

Please remember that photos of the 727 will be posted here as the painting progresses, and you'll get to see first hand what goes into bringing an aircraft "to life". With each posted photograph I will tell you a little about the technique with which I paint. We'll also reflect on the aircraft herself, for she does have a history ... and we'll have comments from pilots who actually flew her.

So sit back, relax, put your feet up if you'd like, but buckle your seatbelt tight! The captain has advanced the throttles to full power and we're about to takeoff. Welcome aboard Eastern Airlines' Boeing 727 -- 831!

(Oh, and one personal note before we get started ... I just had to show off the painting hanging above my computer in the photograph above. All the way from England (and still awaiting a frame) comes "Looking For Trouble" an original oil by my friend and fellow artist Charles McHugh. Be sure to check out Chas' site, Global Aviation Art, on my "Cool Links" page.)

September 25, 1999

No -- this is not a 727 flying into a snow storm ... It is however a white 24" X 30" stretched canvas with a penciled drawing of a 727, a horizon line, and a rectangular shape jutting in and down from the lower left had corner, which is the runway. What you don't see is the airport and the ground, and that is because this will be "painted" in, and not sketched. But from this framework, the painting begins. Over the coming months, I'll add paint to the canvas, layer on layer, and see what we can come up with. (And with luck, the quality of the images will improve drastically as I begin to understand this new digital camera :-) So please keep checking back, and if you ever flew, flew on, or worked on Eastern's N8831E, please let me hear from you!

September 26, 1999

In session number 2, I have begun to put in the background colors, and what you see is the "base" color on which I will build up several more layers of paint. Unless you're an artist, you're probably unfamiliar with what I am doing here, but it is called "glazing." This is the first layer of paint on which another translucent layer of paint will be applied. Each layer allows some of the color beneath it to show through. Rather than try and tell you about it, I'll just let you watch. As the painting progresses, you'll see the colors change before you eyes, clouds form in the sky. But for now we'll concentrate on the "underbrushing". Let me say at the start that, unlike some artists on television who turn out a painting in 30 minutes time, this is not the case here. This painting will take at least 40 hours of intense painting to complete.

831 Flashback!

On February 15th, 1983 at Miami International Airport, Eastern's N8831E, at the skillful hands of her captain and with 74 souls on board, averted disaster. Here is a summery supplied from NTSB records:

During gear retraction after takeoff, the aircrew noted that the left main landing gear door warning light remained illuminated. The landing gear control was cycled, but the condition was not corrected. Attempts to extend the left main gear were also unsuccessful. During tower fly-bys, the aircrew were advised that the nose and right main gear were down. However, the left main gear was only partially extended and the left main gear door was in an approximate 45 degree position. Subsequently a wheels up landing was made. After being hoisted, the left main gear was found hanging down and wedged on the door. All gear were extended and the aircraft was towed from the runway. An exam revealed no discrepancies except the left main gear door actuator mounting bolts and a serrated fitting were loose. The system malfunction could not be duplicated. The aircraft was equiped with an original production main gear safety bar to prevent interference between the door and gear during emergency extension without hydraulic pressure. However, it was not designed to withstand door closing pressures (hydraulic and air). None of the 74 on board were injured.

October 18, 1999

In this shot we see that background colors are still in work, clouds have begun to appear in the sky, and our 727 has a tail! You'll also notice that, because of the difficult angles I'm working with here, I decided to go ahead and sketch in a small portion of the airport. Notice that the angle of the runway has been reduced to give 831 a more comfortable climbout, and don't those Eastern colors look happy to be flying again?!

October 27, 1999

831 not only has a tail now, she has a nose! Notice the sun glint. Once the entire fuselage is filled in, I will begin blending shadows and highlights. After that, comes detail. The more, the better! This photo shows more work on the clouds ... they're beginning to pop out now, do you see them? And I'm still underbrushing the background. Once the remaining green is filled in, I will start layering on the other colors. At this moment, it appears as though the airport is surrounded by grassy fields. Not so! There are roads and cars and buildings down there!!! What? You don't see them? Well, keep checking back and I assure you, YOU WILL!

October 31, 1999

Happy Halloween everyone! Here's the latest shot from the studio. 831 continues to look more like herself as all of the bare-metal fuselage underbrushing is completed, and the Eastern lettering has been set in place. Yes -- those letters were tricky -- but after three hours, they're nearly the way I want them. I once spoke with a former Eastern L-1011 Captain who wanted me to consider painting the TriStar. I said that one day I will, but I dread doing ALL THOSE WINDOWS!!! Well, the 727 certainly has no shortage of windows! I was seeing spots by the time I had them all in. Keep in mind they're not finished yet! I still have to paint the "front" of the window, which will give them depth and provide the illusion that the fuselage on this painting has an interior.

The next photos will show more work on the aircraft, the underside of the wing which will be painted in heavy shadow, the white edging on the two emergency doors atop the wing, and the rear cabin door, and hopefully, the last of the "white" canvas will be gone. Then we're going to drop in a road and put some buildings down there.

Hope to see you soon!

November 2, 1999

Let's take a break from the painting for just a moment to welcome a special guest into The Studio.

When I decided to paint the Eastern 727, I realized I would need technical assistance from someone who knew the airplane inside and out -- someone who had actually flown her. I was fortunate because in walked Jim Holder, a former EAL Captain. Jim gave me email "flying lessions" on getting a 727 airborne, and helped me to make certain my "flight configuration" was appropriate for the "time and place" set in the painting. He and former EAL Captain, Jerry Frost, were also instrumental in supplying photographic reference materials to help me capture 831 in all her splendor.

Captain Jim Holder:

"B-727 #831 was one of our very early 200 Series (stretched) 727's at Eastern and as such she was known as a "Lead Sled." She was equipped with the same JT-8 (Dash Seven Models) Engines as on the 100's. Therefore she was hard pressed to make ATL to the West Coast, especially in the winter when the winds were strong! She spent most of her career plying the EAL North-South routes east of the Mississippi.

But she was a beauty as came from the factory in the then "new" Eastern Paint scheme which was White above and below with Blue Hockey Stick in the middle. I had an immediate fondness for this plane as I was given a framed portrait of her, taken over the Cascades (Maiden Flight?), when I left office as the Vice-Chairman of Eastern Council 07 (Air Line Pilots Association). This photograph still hangs in my Great Room and a duplicate adorns the wall in our hangar.

Also, sometime in the late 70's I flew a 5-6 day Charter that went all over most of the USA carrying College football teams (Arizona, Nebraska, Kentucky were some that come to mind) to their games. We had 831 for the entire trip and she performed perfectly. It was great to get away that long from Scheduled Service with such a great Crew and Plane.

Then in December of 1986 our Gal was featured on the cover of the Air Line Pilot's Magazine (in her new "Bikini" Hockey stick paint job!) climbing out after takeoff from LGA. With the NYC in the background she struck a fancy pose! I was so taken by this photo I contacted the photographer who sent me a signed and framed large print which hangs over my computer as I type this.

As you know, Rich, Captain Jerry Frost and I have been trying to find where 831 is now located. Sadly we not only have been unsuccessful, we think she was scrapped some time in the early 90's..."

Jim Holder, Captain ret (EAL, ATA)

Jim, Jerry, and an entire host of former EAL pilots are trying to learn where our 831 is today, and I'm happy to report, that late this afternoon, I heard she may not have been scraped afterall. She may be alive and well in Cancun! Now, for those viewers who are not familiar with the ways of these Eastern flyboys, I assure you, they leave NO stone unturned. If 831 is out there, they will find her!

Email: Captain Jim Holder

You may also wish to visit: Captain Jerry Frost's Home Page


How wonderful to "see" someone painting one of our beautiful airplanes. I was a Flight Attendant for Eastern for twenty-three years and anxiously search for anything about "our" airline. Can't wait to see the finished project.

Ibis Sherren


Dear Richard:
You couldn't have chosen a better subject than this fine aircraft, esp. #831. Please place me on your list for one of the original paintings of this bird including the lithograph replica. After ten years away from my first and only command I am most nostalgic about the experience and will not rest until your work hangs in my family room over the fireplace.

Joseph H. Peek, Capt. B-727, EAL


I'm enjoying the progressive art lesson very much. Especially since it involves an Eastern aircraft. I spent a total of 6035 hours flying various B-727's including #831 and like all of the Eastern Pilots.......the memories are all we have left of our great airline. Your picture will touch a fond memory for all of us.

Bob Bruce (Captain EAL)

December 5, 1999

Hello again, everyone. After a short time away to sneak in a couple art shows, I'm back in the studio, and working on 831. In this shot you will see the underbrushing for the major roads and the airport runway. This part of the painting will take a while, as glazing continues on the background. Whenever I get bored with glazing, I'll paint on the aircraft, blending shadows and adding detail. From photo to photo now we will see more and more detail on the ground and in the air.

January 30, 2000

In this photo, we see that more "hazing" has been placed on the horizon to create the illusion of depth. So far there are 10 layers of glaze on the horizon line and I have about 10 more to go to get it where I want. Today work centered mostly on the runway and the tail of our aircraft as I have painted in the American flag, and added more highlight to the "bare metal" skin on the "T-tail" as well as the leading edge of the wing. Earlier, I spoke of painting the "inside" of the windows. It may be difficult to tell in the photo, but if you notice, the windows aft of the rear emergency exit (atop the wing) now have a more three-dimensional and finished look to them than the ones forward. I will continue working on the aircraft as I begin painting in more detail around the airport. There is much work to be done, but 831 is certainly well on her way. Stay tuned.


Hi Richard,
Great job you're doing, brings back a lot of memories. Having flown 831 a few times I also would like to be put on your list for a copy.

Best Regards,
Bill Caddoo, Retired EAL Captain

Hi Richard,
After over ten thousand hours of 727 time, your web site and studio bring back so many memories. It is funny, I am sure that there must have been some bad things but for the life of me I can only remember the good. Our Eastern family has long since blown to the four winds but your painting brings back such a flood of fond feelings and rememberances it only seems like yesterday.

Thank you very much,
Bill Baird (Capt. MIA)

Mr. Newman,
As a long time (40 years) employee and a former P-47 pilot that flew 155 combat sorties in the "JUG" during W.W.II I would like to compliment you on your work. Your Web-site is a master-piece and truly depicts the artistic finesse that is being employed in painting the picture of the Eastern Airlines Boeing 727-200 #831.
I am sure your completed picture will recall many fond memories of people, places and events in the minds of former Eastern Airlines pilots and other employees of Eastern Airlines that were closely associated with this particular airplane as well as all the others of this type.
Leon E. Jansen, Former EAL Flight Dispatcher

Just wanted to drop you a note to tell you I enjoyed your site very much! Keep up the great work.

Steve Leahy

Now and then our snail-mail boxes hold nice surprises. Such was the case early this week when I opened mine to discover two photographs of our N8831E. Notice that in this picture, she is no longer sporting her bikini! This was the way she looked just prior to a new paint job with another airline. I'd like to thank Bill Sablesak, and photographer Mark Cardone, for sharing these pictures with us! If any viewers out there know what airline livery she's wearing in the second picture, I'd love to hear from you!!!

And now on a somewhat sad note, I share with you two photos that arrived earlier this week. This is 831 in what appears to be her final resting place in Cancun. As you can see in the photos, she is being "parted" out. While it is difficult to see her in this condition, it remains a fact that this incredible aircraft which gave so much of herself over her long flying career, continues to do so ... helping other 727s of her type stay airborne. I am more determined than ever to "paint her proud". Please watch for new pictures of 831 on canvas to be posted very soon. Thanks to George Zupko at Transmeridian Airlines for the photos.

February 27, 2000

Hello again everyone. In today's photo we really see the effect of all that "glazing" I've been talking about. Notice that the horizon has become quite hazy, while the colors toward the foreground are becoming darker. Again, this is done to create an illusion of depth on a totally flat surface. I've also begun detailing the buildings and roads on the right side of the painting -- for all you pilots, that's the area just off the port wing -- LOL I've been doing more detailing on the aft section of the aircraft, and now I'm approaching the underside of the wing. Most of this area will be painted in heavy shadow.

And now comes the moment where any artist who paints on line has to face the music ... When you paint on line, if you screw up, everyone gets to see it. This is the case on the aircraft. It has been corrected now, and I'm not going to tell you what it was. I'll let you compare the photos and see if you can spot the difference! I will give you a hint though ... it's on the forward fuselage. Drop me an email if you spot it!!!

Check back soon for more pictures and, as always, thanks for all your letters and support!

March 6, 2000

Work on the painting now involves the shadow beneath the wings and on the flaps. Also, as will be the case from here on out, I'll be adding more glazes to the background until I reach the desired effect, and adding more buildings and trees. The numbers on the runway have been painted in ... "27" which is a play off our subject, *727*. For those viewers who are not pilots, the numbers on the runway reflect the magnetic compass heading to which the runway points. 831 has just departed runway 9, which points her nose due east, 90 degrees. If she were landing in this photo, she would be landing on 27, due west, 270 degress.

At this point in the painting, a lot of things are happening all at once. We are now just a few weeks from completion, and this is my favorite time on any painting, as I begin working in more and more detail. This painting technique is known as "photo realism". The artist intentionally tries to fool the viewer into, at first glance, thinking they are looking at a photograph instead of a painting. Join me as the next few sessions unfold and let's see if we can make it happen.

March 12, 2000

It was a beautiful day in Florida. A perfect day to open up the studio and let the breeze blow in. A gentle hint of orange blossoms from a nearby grove touched the air ... just a really nice day to paint.

In work since the posting last week, I have been glazing the clouds, the foreground, and 831 herself. There are a lot of changes going on, especially in the detail, and unfortunately the digital camera is not picking them up. I suppose it is a bit much to ask a digital camera to capture the rivets lining the cockpit windows! Today I began adding highlight to the port wingtip, and glazing light onto the fuselage so that we get that nice tubular shape. While working on 831 now I can almost hear her talking to me -- "LET ME FLY!" she's saying. I can almost hear the roar of her engines as she slices through the sky.

I'll see you again next week as we press towards completion. Until then, fly safe!


Thanks, Richard, for all your art work and descriptive narrative.. it was truely a delight and I thank you very much.

Dr. R.White.


Dear Richard:
What a wonderful story and with fantastic art work. I have flown ole # 831 many times in my 30 years with Eastern. Two things Rich, I would very much like to have a painting of # 831 and keep up the excellent work.

Best regards,
J - RON WHEELER, Captain Retired ( EAL,UAL )


Just a short note to say I enjoyed finding your site and seeing your pictures..I was a res agent in Woodbridge, NJ WDB..flying is in my family-my brother was a Capt. with Piedmont Airlines..we both miss our airlines!!!! Looking forward to checking in on your site for more great pictures.

Linda Fuller

Work on the 831 project now involves painting in the background beneath the aircraft, adding buildings, trees and more streets. The buildings already in place are getting more detail, and I'm slowly adding more light to the forward fuselage. From here to completion, I'll just be adding more glazes and details, and there won't be much more I can say ... so I'll just shut up and let you see the pictures! I'll try to post new pictures on a regular basis, so please keep checking back. It was decided recently 831 will be made into a Limited Edition print. The number of prints in the edition, as well as the image size and price will be determined very soon, so if you are interested in receiving advance print information via email, drop me a line so that I can include you in the mail out.

Our painting is about to turn downwind to base ... it's all downhill from here. See you soon!

May 21st, 2000

Is that Captain Holder sitting in the First Officer's seat???!

"With a Whisper and a Roar"

Hi everyone! This was the last published photo while the work was in progress. Please follow the link below to see the finished painting.

To see the completed painting and obtain ordering information, please click HERE!

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