Ah well, not all my ideas work well the first time round. For my main Sir Gawain cycle of paintings I’d always intended to knock up a rough, small-scale test piece to see how the colours might flow through from one panel to the next.
In my mind I see a subtle underlying chromatic progression from Sir Gawain in the red corner (his shield is scarlet) to the Green Knight in the green. So on a piece of A3 Cryla paper I roughly under-painted in acrylics with Viridian on the left running into Alizarin Crimson on the right. Over these I used diluted Mars Black to create darker bands of tone.
Working with the Viridian as an underlay for Sir Gawain’s side (as a compliment to his scarlet shield and gold apparel), I roughed in three rough bands in colours roughly approximating to the seasons – spring on the left, winter to the right.
On top of these I wanted to super-impose my scale panels but realised I hadn’t made a decision how big they should be.
Now, in the part of my mind that wanders off and gets very excited very quickly I’d always had a vision of a row of enormous panoramic panels, mounded with crusted, heavily textured paint… unfortunately the duller more down to earth bit woke up and chipped in with all sorts of practical reasons why I couldn’t actually do that; spoilsport!
Truth is I haven’t got a huge studio space where I can lay everything out at that scale, let alone work on it. I was also concerned that it might be so large that I might not actually finish it! And if I did finish it I wouldn’t have enough wall space to display a mammoth work either. You can tell I’ve really thought this through…
So begrudgingly, like a toddler being denied a huge ice-cream, I pouted, shuffled and scuffed my feet and mentally shouted ‘not fair!’ and set about scaling my ambition down to do-able proportions.
I reckon two 12″ by 12″ end panels and three or four (still not decided) central panels 12″ by 16″. As wooden panels have an appropriate resonance I’ll soon be pinging an order to the good folks at Jacksons.
With the size settled, I cut a mask out of stiff white paper to a scale of 4mm to 1inch, like a row of little windows to represent the panels in their final order. This I overlaid onto my rough colour test. By trying different positions I came up with these:
To be honest, a little disappointing and underwhelming. Although the second holds a certain obscure promise I really need to go back to the drawing board. The tones are too similar and the colours don’t carry the variety I’d like.
I suppose if everything always worked first time we’d never learn anything would we?