I have always had an interest in costumes throughout the ages, one favourite being the Elizabethan era for the upper class. Dress was rich in colour and the fabrics were tactile and luxurious. With texture in mind I came across a lovely natural linen canvas that was versatile for mixed media. I wanted to produce a painting using the canvas to be an integral part of the painting. I needed a subject that would work well with the canvas showing through, that was when certain animal heads came into play.
I began by outlining the animal head in ink and then to make it come alive painted the main features (eyes and nose) in acrylic paint. Small amounts of pastels are applied to subtly add highlights and lowlights being careful not to cover too much of the canvas. The next stage was to add the costume using acrylic paint to bring alive the colour and texture. In order to accentuate the face I mixed an ink wash to the background and slowly build it up to achieve the right balance and contrast. The finishing touches are tiny embellishments of gold to make the jewellery and armour glint.
Wanting to depict certain characters in history I came across the following story. In 1484 a scurrilous note was pinned to the door of St Paul’s Cathedral. It read “the Catte, the Ratte and Lovell our dogge rulyth all Englande under a hogge”. Sir William Catesby was the Cat, Richard Ratcliffe the Rat, Francis Lovell the Dog and the Hog was their patron King Richard III. This was perfect for a series of 4 new paintings, which can be purchased together or individually.
These new paintings are exclusive to the Beumée Gallery, Tunbridge Wells.