Green George 5: the observers

Damian Walford Davies wrote a poem about Green George, including it in a collection that had the painting on its cover.

Green George

Altar-
piece of spliced time:

the indie
damsel and dog an indi-

fferent audience
for the renegade cowboy-

fusilier with
Tommyhat and quilted

carmine horse
debouching from Oxwich

onto a Gol-
gotha meadow of camp-

anula to
spear a blue-tongued

gummy devil-
dragon and the tide lolls in.

Damian Walford Davies 2008

I like Damian’s ‘indie damsel’ description. Informal in her leggings and dance-slippers, the poet nails her look in two words. Succinct. Evocative.

Traditionally in compositions of Saint George and the Dragon, the young woman sits arrayed in finery, accompanied by a lamb, perhaps implying the nature of her sacrificial status. But I didn’t want to paint a lamb into this version of the story (lambs are too pretty, too vulnerable) and so my terrier Jack took its place. He’s giving the dragon a very hard stare, and you can be sure that when it’s been dispatched, he’ll be down in a flash to give the corpse a very thorough going over. (Let us not forget that this is the terrier who stole and then wolfed down my Shetland’s testicles after the pony had been gelded!) The dog makes a tiny point of worldliness in what after all is a rather unworldly painting. He’s focussed, confident, sure of his place in the scheme of things and prepared for any outcome. Had things been otherwise, and the dragon slain the saint, Jack would have swiftly and silently retreated, looking for another to be his protector. He has a dog’s sense of survival. In Jack World it’s a case of ‘The King is dead! Long live the King!’ But at least you know where you stand with him.

3 thoughts on “Green George 5: the observers

  1. Pingback: Green George: behind the scenes | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. Dear Jack, when we met near Sketty and he overstepped the mark you quietly said to him ‘that’s not polite Jack’ he came and sat at your feet until forgiven. I forgave him instantly. Heart lost to a dog. 🙂

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