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Obscurely emerging and starting to breathe fire

The “obscure as it is obvious” picture that I wrote about a couple of posts ago is slowly coming together. I now have the concept, that came in a week of intense thinking and sketching out ideas on paper,  chatting with the client and asking his thoughts. It’s just depicting it in the working drawing that I’m now working on, and this stage is taking longer than the rest as I fully expected it to. Because this landscape doesn’t exisit as a real place, there is nothing in this picture that I can base the image on, like a Tuscan hillside, a French valley, a Chinese river, nothing to start with and use artistic licence to ignore or add to or enhance. I am having to create this fantasy landscape from out of my head.

And I know that its not just the landscape of the picture that I’ve got to decide on, its actually where each thing in it is sited as well. So although there is a castle in it, it matters what its made of and how its built and that the castle is on a raised outcrop of rock. It matters that there is a gatehouse to it. It matters that there is a broken down gateway further down the path that goes up the hill. It matters that the river running through the landscape twists in certain ways, and that there are rocky patches in as well as it running smoothly at other points. It matters that the tall mountain in the background has steep sides and is reflected in the lake infront of it. It matters that the dusty track running through the picture is broken by the winding river. It matters that there are spiritual Standing Stones below the castle. It matters that there is a marsh by the side of the lake. It matters that there is a line of tall trees marching down towards the lake. It matters that the small  farm has a wall around it with an open gate at the entrance. It matters that there is an orchard of  fruit trees and grapes growing on the vine at the farm. It matters that the sun is setting. And it matters that there is a dragon and that it is red, is cat-like, is sitting on a tall raised rock by the river and is looking down at the water. And it matters that there are certain rounded hills and cliffs with caves in the landscape too.

All of these things have to be in the picture because EACH and EVERY ONE means something. There is nothing in the landscape that doesn’t relate to something SPECIFIC to the client. And bear in mind that these features are not actually geographic, although they appear to be, they are ABSTRACT concepts that relate to the characters of  three particular women.

So you can see why I need to get the drawing right before I even start drawing it out for the painting, which will be a watercolour its been decided between the client and me. He doesn’t want it in oils, he wants it done in soft colours, so watercolours are the obvious option and gives me more chance to put in the delicate tones, although I may need to pick out some fine details in acrylics at the end possibly, but I’ll decide that when I get to that point. I’m itching to get started on the painting part, but the most important thing is getting the dragon right.

So, I’m just fine tuning the dragon now, as you do!