I knew when I did my first preliminary sketch on a piece of A4 paper that I wanted the two knights jousting with lances, on horseback. With Ivanhoe facing the viewer and the other knight less important within the picture. Since I knew the boards are 4 feet by 8, and I was doing my picture as a horizontal image I had an idea in my head how it would look. And I also wanted the viewer to be behind the shoulder of one of the knights as it made the picture more dramatic than if they were facing each other from each end of the board. With the lances crossing and painting directly at each opponent. Since I love pennants and the movement of the wind, it made sense for me to add one to the picture, flowing across the scene and pulling the colours of the knights together to add harmony to the picture. Although it was painted as blocks of colours, since the picture has to be viewed from across roads and high up on buildings, it meant that every mark had to count. And every colour too, so after I had done a line drawing I was happy with as my basic image, I then numbered all the areas a number from 1 – 5, with 1 being the lightest colour, and 5 being the darkest. Then I looked at the paints I had and judged which were best as colours 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Obviously 1 would be white and cream, and 5 would be black. The dark tail of the horse on the left would be 4 and 5, the sky would be 2, etc etc. I also made sure that the colours I used were a good contrast to the colours by them. So, although the white shield was next to yellow and they are both pale colours, the fact the cross was red on it, and the sky and distant trees were darker, meant that it would still stand out.
Even though I knew exactly what I was doing, it still took ages to draw the image out on the board, and the easiest way to do that was by gridding off the board and I mirrored that grid on my drawing on the A4 sheet of paper. Then double checked it looked right by standing back from my image and adjusting the drawing on the board. That took three hours! But, I knew that if the drawing was correct, the paint would be. If the drawing was wrong, it would have looked awful!
At least it was just a case of blocking in colours after that using the little match pots from DIY stores since its the cheapest and quickest method of getting paint that doesn’t need to be mixed and will stay wet in its pot until you use it. I did actually mix a paint for the knights chainmail armour and helmets, since I didn’t want black, or grey or dull blue as they would have looked too much like new steel. So the colour I mixed was a browny-fawny-greyey-creamy- colour. Why don’t Wickes do a colour called that? Instead of “Willow blossom” or “Old pine” or whatever they call them!! 🙂
So, bearing in mind, that it was freezing, and there was no heating at all in the warehouse that I was working in, and the bare concrete floor was hard, I am pleased with how well I got on. I might have had cold fingers, and bruised knees, and a dripping nose, but I got on well with the painting, and seventeen hours of my time finished it! From first drawing, to varnishing the finished board, seventeen hours. And I loved it!
I’ll show you when it goes up in the town but at the moment it’s in storage with the others until its needed. These things might not be used until the month of May, but the planning and creative execution of them is done months beforehand.
So, my painting of “Ivanhoe jousting”, finished and ready to go up for the Arts Festival in Ashby de la Zouch.