Painting Heathrow’s planes with an iPad


By Heathrow

Published 28th May 2014

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Earlier this year Heathrow gave passengers the chance to take iPad art lessons while waiting for flights with artist Andy Maitland. We caught up with Andy to find out more about this innovative art, see some of his pics, and what inspired him at Heathrow. Enjoy!

What gave you the idea to use your iPad to create your images?

Although I paint exclusivity on the iPad, this is a recent venture for me.I went to art school and I have a background in graphics. I bought my first iPad in the early days of its arrival on the market. In late 2011 I began painting on my iPad following a short break to Florence in Italy (the scenery was stunning). Hockney, the renowned English artist inspired me to get back to art with his recent landscape pictures. My late father was also a huge inspiration and I regularly emailed him with my latest iPad pictures for his critique.

“What I find so fantastic about the iPad is the immediacy and mobility that it enables; no need for paints, water, canvas or an easel! I love how I can work on my iPad art in my local park, in a cafe in Italy or at Heathrow Airport before boarding a flight.”

I’m also drawn (excuse the pun) to this new medium because finally there is a tool that moves at the speed of my imagination.

What attracts you to paint on the iPad?

Along with the immediacy, I like the inclusivity of painting on the iPad. The iPad has brought the ability for everyone, both young and old, to make art. I believe the iPad has opened up the possibility of creativity and the expression of the imagination to more people than traditional paint tools. Indeed, passengers of all ages enjoyed experimenting with iPad painting at my recent visit to Heathrow.

As an artist, what images inspired you at Heathrow?

Broadly speaking I’m a landscape artist so I’m only just getting acquainted with Heathrow.

Rather like people, each place has a character of its own. Capturing something of the particular character of a space, like an airport, takes time and involves curiosity. I really enjoyed my visits to Heathrow, observing the different terminals and, in particular, the architecture in T5.

Aircraft are of course a uniquely distinguishing aspect of an airport and it was my first time at sketching these. I was visually inspired by the views of the aircraft through the large windows at each gate.

One of Andy’s masterpieces recreating an image from T5. Source: Andy Maitland

What techniques do you use to create the sketches on an iPad?

I’m still learning to develop my own techniques on this new medium. Generally I start by trying to imagine what I think my finished sketch might look like before I start the practical process.

I’m not interested in a perfect snapshot – I’m aiming to capture something of the character as I see it. Using my aircraft sketches as an example, I start drawing the background first, and then work towards the foreground.

Are there any Apps you could recommend?

There are lots of good iPad art apps to experiment with; finding one that suits you should be fairly simple. I mainly use Procreate but I also use the Brushes App too.

A Kuwait Airways aircraft captured by Andy from T4. Source: Andy Maitland.

What is your favourite image that you’ve created while at Heathrow?

I like this aircraft picture from Terminal 4 (see above), which was painted over a few hours from around 4pm – 7pm. The video of the painting process shows me trying to respond to the changing environment and it’s a glimpse into the life of Terminal 4 at Heathrow during the time I was there.

I’m also pleased with the 747 jumbo and the shadow cast across the ground at the window location near the Espresso bar, Gate 10, in Terminal 5.

What next?

I have a new e-book published on the Apple iBookstore which I am excited about. In August Bank holiday weekend I have a pop-up exhibition opening in my local park in Reigate showing recent works. Around these events and exhibitions I’m drawing and painting day to day.

I also hope to be back in the terminals over the summer so keep an eye out on Heathrow’s social channels for updates. Happy painting!


By Heathrow

Published 28th May 2014