You know what, I’ve found out something that I really lurve doing, and that’s painting B I G !! The biggest painting I’ve done up until this week was 31 x 24 inches as a commission for someone, well double commission actually, there were two paintings that size that I did for a client some years ago. Usually people don’t want massive paintings, so I’ve not had the opportunity to paint bigger than that. Til this week. I knew I could paint the size these boards were, eight feet by four feet, but I didn’t appreciate well how easy it would be! I thought it would take loads of paint and it didn’t, I’ve used about a twentieth of the paint I bought for it! And even though I kept the image as simple as I could, it could have been far more complicated really. But, it was my first try at this and best to keep it as simple as possible on a first attempt.
I did it in three sessions that easily fit into my other commitments for the week, and estimate that it took about 8 hours to paint but that’s not including drawing out the working drawing, and doing a working painting on A4 paper to find the colours that worked best at a distance. I knew I had to have five basic tones from light to dark in five stages and put a number against each area of colour in the painting from 1 to five to specify the depth of the tone needed. So when it came to painting it, I knew exactly which colour was going where from my colour chart, and of the little matchpots I had I only used up one of them. As I finished painting on the last session, I was so into it I wanted to keep going and do more and more but had to stop myself, which is always difficult when an artist is in the “flow” you just want to keep painting, keep up the momentum. Looking at the picture I can see there might be some small areas that could be slightly improved, but it tells enough of the story and has enough impetus in it.
What I wanted, after thinking about mermaids, unicorns, fairies, elves, goblins, ogres, trolls, phoenixes and nymphs was to do a dragon, preferably one flying over a landscape, but not with the whole of the dragon in it, but enough to make it look menacing. I thought of the landscape below and decided a fairytale castle was the best feature in it, and to pull the whole thing together an oversized full moon. So after playing about with shapes and colours this was the design I decided upon. I knew I wanted the moon to be pale yellow and the sky a teal colour as that was more fantasy than a midnight blue sky, and helped to make the dragons open wings stand out better. I wanted the dragons wings to be basically aubergine colour the body a dull “dragons blood red” rather than brown or black or green or grey. I wanted some warm deep colour in him. The castle had to be pale lilac to show the distance and fade away from the strength of colour in the dragon in the foreground, and I wanted a misty effect to the hills below. The only bright colour being the dragon’s scarlet eye beadily watching you.
The title came to me quite quickly and is called “Hunters moon” indicating that the dragon is on the hunt and heading towards the castle. But whether he is a tame dragon who will bring home bounty for his mistress, or master, is up to you. Or maybe he will attack the castle and burn all inside, or maybe just fly past and head elsewhere………………..
The painting is finished, but not varnished yet so the black of the dragon’s underbelly will darken more in the flat varnish. In the photos the black is shining dark green as it was done in acrylic and is catching the light from the window. I love the stars in it as well as the curve of the claw on the dragons wing. So, what do you think?