Well, the wooden panels for my Sir Gawain and the Green Knight series came from Jacksons the other day, and very nice they are too. Smooth, well framed and surprisingly light for their size. I’m now the proud owner of two 12″ square and four 12″ by 16″.
But before I crack on and get smothered in acrylic gesso, I’m painting a related 18″ by 24″ canvas in acrylics as a trial to inform my approach to the main panels. At the moment it’s all still too tight and pernickety – the small study on the left is closer to the feeling I want to get.
Rubbish photo by the way – I’ll post a better one at some point when I can actually get to see it in daylight.
There’s a long way to go yet. See that cunning fox? Well it won’t be so easy to spot once I’m done with it.
I have made a start on rough sketches for the two 12″ by 12″ end panels representing the start and end point of Sir Gawain’s journey to the Green Chapel. These will be linked by three or four 12″ by 16″ panels. The intention is that each panel should both work on its own and together as part of a greater whole.
Sir Gawain’s journey is not a comfortable one, and I thought that my painting journey should likewise take me out of my comfort zone. Not into flesh-flensing, tooth and claw battles with wolves and woodwoses you understand; no, I was thinking more stylistically (besides, all that fighting malarkey sounds far too much like hard work!)
I have considered a few options, and the panels would really lend themselves to a stylised narrative aesthetic as seen in paintings by Dee Nickerson and Sarah Birdie Fincham. I really love the work of these excellent artists and find both sublime, but sadly I don’t think I yet have the sensibility to work in a similar manner.
Recently I came across the multi-media work of Lisa Henderson. Her rich landscapes are gorgeous, and I could see a similar treatment working really well with Sir Gawain’s journey. You can currently see her exhibition ‘Staffordshire Landscapes, a personal view’ at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford until 9th March.
Despite these tempting options I continue to be drawn to a heavily textured expressive approach bordering on the abstract. Kurt Jackson’s work has always been a great inspiration to me – he squeezes so much soul into his sea and landscapes. They’re achingly beautiful, and the style’s far enough out of my comfort zone to make me sweat, so maybe I’ll head down that route, maybe…