Since starting my Sir Gawain series, things have slowed a little. Other things have either needed attention (real life things) or wanted attention (fun things which have distracted me). OK, more of the latter if I’m honest… However, I have continued work on a related, but separate, acrylic painting by way of a ‘dry run’ based on this quick sketch:
I’m becoming more familiar with acrylics now. Following some rubbish acrylic experiences several years ago, (most down to operator error and poor quality pigments), they’ve only recently found a proper place in my tool kit.
And I’m finding their properties better suit my temperament (ever impatient…) that I’m starting to use them as a default where once I’d have picked up alkyds or oils. I can work quickly, and their fast drying means I can apply repeated glazes in a single sitting. The bonus too is that they clean up easily without solvents.
There are downsides though. A lot of paint gets wasted as it inevitably cures on the palette, and I’m finding fine blending is trickier than when using oils. I’ve tried the slow-dry gels, but for me the paint texture seems to become oddly ‘tacky’.
Originally I started using Winsor and Newton Artists acrylics, but after making comparisons with Liquitex Heavy Body acrylics I think I may switch to Liquitex for most colours. They’re generally more economical and in my opinion compare favourably with the W&N offering in terms of viscosity, texture, ‘open’ time and stability of colour/tonal shift from wet to dry.
So here’s another ‘in-progress’ shot. There’s a long way to go, and the photo really doesn’t reproduce any of the subtle colour shifts going on in the shadows (click a couple of times to enlarge):
The eponymous Sir Gawain is nowhere in sight, but that’s OK, but the inspiration from the poem is in there.
I’ve introduced a warmer sky to increase both the tonal and temperature contrast when compared to the deep, dark, cool shadows. The gold and red also mirrors the colours associated with Gawain.
The wild-wood setting echoes the bleakness of his journey while the fox, so slyly skulking in the seeping shadows, foretells of Gawain’s deception later in the story.
I hope I’ve started to capture an underlying feeling of unease here, but what do you think?