The painting was now getting interesting as I started adding the the characters. I felt the original draft of a hairy Basajaun with leaves covering his modesty was a little too strong and gave him a tunic made of hide. I also covered Lamia with a white dress but put her webbed feet in a stream running from the far hills.
I loved doing all the birds and animals using my sketchbook and reference books to find some rather odd characters. I did make a few changes from my draft and my patron sent me more animals to be included.
I decided to complete the grassy area before tackling the water and started adding the millefleur which is how the painting is today.
I am really enjoying painting this rather quirky subject and wish I could spend every day on it but I am unable to as I still have three full days of teaching every week plus work for other exhibitions. On the plus side this does mean I can view the painting and think what happens next instead of rushing.
More posts to come as I progress.
During the last Cambridge Open Studios I met a couple from the Basque area of Spain. They were really interested in my drawings from the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College here in Cambridge. They were fascinated by my sketch books and the resulting paintings and revisited during the last day to ask if they could commission a painting in my medieval style with elements of Basque mythology including the figures of Lamia and Basajaun.
After a few days we arranged a meeting and discussed the project. Being extremely busy with my son's wedding and an exhibition, they agreed that I could take my time and as the painting is very complicated with many overlays I suggested a time of one year to which they accepted. A short while afterwards the young man gave up his job with Arm and moved back to Spain to be with his girlfriend. So now everything is done by email!
After a fairly detailed rough draft and preparing the canvas I painted the first layers and added the hybrid Basque castle with King's College, shown above. The next stage was adding the forest. It was now December 2018.
A beautiful Spring day for this month's Cambridge sketchcrawl and there was a big group at this fascinating venue.
The Museum of Cambridge is a hidden treasure trove of artifacts with collections including household objects, paintings and toys all with masses of interesting local history. It is set in an old coaching inn from the 17th century next to Kettle's Yard on Castle Hill complete with (unlit) open fire for the punters and a space where the drinks were held.
It was a very popular venue with so much to draw and afterwards we moved on to share our sketchbooks and chat at the Castle Inn.
Today I went with a couple of pre-prepared, double pages to give my drawings a bit of colour as paint is definitely not allowed in a museum. My first sketch was in the kitchen where loads of old paraphernalia was laid out including irons, items on a range, cupboards full of outdated equipment and the collection of sweet shop jars that I drew standing up with my book balanced on the palm of my hand.
My second drawing was right at the top of the building from the only window that was not covered by a white blind. The view was of the beautiful terraced houses on Northampton Street with a distant view of a St John's tower wrapped in scaffolding and, loud with buses and cars trying to get into the city.
As always going sketching with this group of fellow sketchers was an absolute delight and I am already looking forward to next month.
At the moment I have three paintings on the go.
My work is extremely detailed and full of many layers and because I paint in oil each layer takes a time to dry. Rather than just sit and wait I tend to have a few on the go. The three I am working on are all pretty large, well they are for me as all that detail takes forever.
The one shown will be exhibited at Byard Art in June. I don't know the title yet but it is about the books and libraries of Cambridge. You can just see two of the libraries at the bottom. I am doing all the intricate detail over the undercoat to show off the wonderful buildings. The following stage will be painting books flying all over the place, adding the millefleur and then the finishing touches. Probably take me another month.
I am also painting the glorious mulberry tree at Queen's and the third painting I am working on is a commission for a couple in Spain which is very influenced by my medieval drawings.
Here are the final 10 sketches that I made for the sketch a day challenge.
I loved some of the prompts though others were more difficult but overall I really enjoyed the regularity of making one sketch a day. I received the prompts in the morning but never had enough time to do the sketch until teatime which was good really as subconsciously my mind must have been working.
Twice I was urban sketching with others and managed to incorporate my sketch with the day's prompt.
I shall most likely take part in the Urban Sketchers drawing a day in May and maybe do the Inktober drawing a day later in the year. Thank you for following and liking my sketches on Instagram and Twitter.
Painter living in Cambridge. Mixes fantasy and realism and loves medieval art.
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