In light of a few technicalities I’ve been having with getting started on my Tristan and Yseult painting, I’m going to put that on the back burner for a short while; though I have written an outline of the legend as I want it to be and will flesh that out and edit it to post real soon. For the painting itself, I will get round to it once the arisen problems with it have been solved.
In the meantime and due to the inspiration I received whilst writing my last post, I’m going to create some ‘Middle Earth’ themed artworks, it’s something I’m a huge fan of and also by regularly creating artworks it’s good practice and training for me.
This will mainly consist of loads of sketches and drawings, finally culminating in an oil painting showing one of Tolkien’s masterful narrative scenes; there’s also the possibility of one or two watercolour landscapes as well, I’m currently more comfortable with watercolours than I am with oils as I’m totally new to them therefore the one oil painting that I do produce may take some time to accomplish.
My next post will be on Wednesday 15th July and will contain some sketches that I’ve been doing for this project.
So I had to come up with an idea for my next artwork project and with my goal of interpreting and bringing back to life British history, myths, legends and folklore, I have decided to work with a popular medieval romance tale that stems from Celtic legend; the story of ²Tristan and Yseult.
There are numerous versions of this tale, but all of them contain prominent features and I will most probably play on the different aspects of each telling that appeal to me the most. As a base idea to work from I might even write up a short version of the story combining the various aspects and suiting to my own interpretation, thus making me able to create more works from this further down the line, that’s not presently set in stone though I’ll have to think about that¹.
With that in mind I won’t go into the nitty gritty details of the legend just yet although I have linked to the Britannica version of the tale.
As promised before, I will use the series of posts and updates on this project to show my preliminary studies, sketches and ideas, as well as a bit of prose or poetry that I intend to write for the particular scene that I will show in my finished painting. I have chosen the scene that I want to capture and have begun sketches, mainly to work out composition and background scenery, I’m also implementing a fair few symbolic features as well so I’ll have to hit the books and see what I come up with; some symbols I am certain of and relate to the story itself and therefore will definitely be added.
I’ll leave that there for now and my next post will contain my preparatory work that I’ve create up until that point, which will most probably be next Wednesday, when my posting schedule is due, this post is more of a taster for what’s to come and to give awareness of the project I am currently pursuing now that I’ve set my heart upon it.
¹More of a note to self than a definitive idea
²Link to the Britannica version of the legend Tristan and Yseult
This 9 book series written by Jack Whyte, a Scottish-Canadian author was brought to my attention when I stumbled across the first two books of the series in ‘The Works’ and bought them. In the UK the series is titled “The Legends of Camelot” and having a keen interest in the Arthurian legend, I decided to give them a shot. The UK published versions of this series have also have different titles to the originals, to save confusion I’m going to list the books by their original titles as decided by the author himself.
I tore through the first two books within a week and I was straight online ordering the rest of the series, totally hooked and hungry for more.
In my opinion, and I have read and watched a vast amount of re-tellings of the Arthurian legend, this is the most realistic, believable and gripping version I have ever come across. Jack Whyte tells the story and places it in a believable time setting and structure, Camelot being formed just as the Roman legions are leaving Britain, starting off as a few villas and some farmland, built up by two Roman-British Legionaries and visionaries, Caius Brittanicus and Publius Varrus.
I would definitely recommend this series to anyone that is interested in historical fiction, Romans, Arthurian legend, Merlin and Camelot, it truly places everything perfectly and is a really enjoyable read. As I said before there are 9 books in the series and they’re not short books either, but they’re easy to make short work of with their page turning effect.
If you have already read this series of books or want some more information on them, feel free to get in touch via the comment section or email, I’m happy for a discussion.
Here’s another watercolour piece for my “Camelot Series” I spent a couple of days working on in November, this particular scene captures the Hill Fort in the early days of Camelot, erected even before Uther Pendragon had been born as far the legendarium I am working with goes.
It’s still a learning process and I had a great deal of frustration and fun in the creation of this piece, in all I feel happier with this one than the last, if my work continues progressively like that then I’ll be happy.
I spent approximately 6 hours in total on this painting, the first time I’ve properly painted using watercolour as I tried them out some time ago and couldn’t get along with them. This time however, I really enjoyed using watercolour and drew the entire scene with the paintbrush as opposed to my usual method of drawing in charcoal or pencil first.
It isn’t exactly a masterpiece but I’m reasonably happy with how it turned out and the inspiration for the work will go a long way still, I have a lot of good ideas relating to Arthurian legend that I wish to describe through my art; this is the first in my Camelot Series, which will feature both visual artwork and poetry.