Royal Australian Engineer Art

100 Years of Engineering

Title:100 Years of Engineering
Media: Oil on Canvas
Location of Original: 13 Field Engineers / 13th Bde
Description: The painting celebrates 100 years of Military Engineering. The soldiers in the foreground represent the evolution of the Australian Engineer Corp since Federation, all working together to reach the Corp's objectives.  The red and blue bands represent the Engineers' Banner.  The ghost images in the background depict the vast diversity of tasks performed.

Creating the 100 Years of Engineering

Army Artworks

I was approached by Capt Paul Reimers to create a painting that would celebrate 100 Years of the Engineer Corps. After a few initial sketches, the above concept was accepted.

Australian WW1 Soldier photo by Ian Coate Australian Soldiers photo by Ian Coate Australian Vietnam Soldier photo by Ian Coate

Paul tracked down some period uniforms and selected some soldiers from 13 Field Engineers (LCpl McGrattan, Cpl Phillpot, Spr Villa Magna, Spr Millen, Cpl Gibbs, Cpl Boland) that would be happy to volunteer for a photo shoot. I took over one hundred photos - the guys were very patient as we raced against the setting sun to get the neccesary pictures.

From the many photos, I sketched out a workable layout. Once satisfied, I lightly outlined the image onto a stretched archival canvas, then overlayed the sketch with brown paint (Burnt Umber). Once dry, I painted the background colours.

Military Artist

For the figures, I glazed over the figures with oil paints thinned down with 'Medium No. 1'. This allowed the background brown to show through. I then worked in the details.

Ian Coate Military Art

To oversee the historical accuracy of this painting and aid in finding the appropriate images for the background, I was entrusted into the care of a retired RSM of the Corps, Mic Ryan (pictured above with Padre Eaton). I could not have finished this painting without Mic's guidance. We went through literally thousands of Engineer pics to find the appropriate image that would sum up a special moment in the Corps history.


Details from 100 Years of Engineering

Royal Australian Engineers
RAE Painting
RAE image
Australian Engineer


Newspaper Clipping 2004

Calm Before the Storm

Engineer Artwork by Ian Coate

I would like to recognize the people who have contributed to the creation of this artwork. The production of which is a collaboration of many minds and various talents - I am simply the monkey at the end of the brush.

Thanks to 13 Fd Sqn. A special mention to Mick Ryan, Paul Reimers, Eric Fleming, Brendan Sullivan, Eric Turner, Dick Phillpot, Rick Gibbs, Julian Boland, Steve McGrattan, Jamie Villamagna, Jason Miller and the soldiers who modeled.

Your support helps me stay employed painting artworks - thank you.
Australian Military art by Ian Coate
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Australian Military Art