Green George: behind the scenes

To start the work I prepared maquettes of the saint, his horse and the dragon, and they were my principle tools throughout for finding the compositional forms. From the maquettes I made a few drawings and a series of simple colour studies to get the shapes of the figures really under my skin.


Above and below: the studio in 2007, with maquette and sketches blu-tacked to the walls and beams for daily reference. The head of the dragon was a trial-run for the full beast.

Above: maquette of George’s horse

Above: maquette of the dragon

Above: maquette of Saint George with wings.


Clive and Jack

I have no images of Green George in progress, save what can be seen in the background of this photograph taken by Pete Telfer. The girl, the dog and the horse have been completed, but George and the dragon are still a sea of red oxide under-paint. Jack is where he can usually be found, in his bed next to the easel. Note that ever hopeful of a game, he’s brought his frisbee to persuade Pete to play with him once the business of the moment is over and done with.

This is the final instalment of a series of posts about the painting Green George and how it was made. You can see the series in order by clicking on these links:

Green George 1: dragon-heart

Green George 2: the maze-garden

Green George 3: the favour

Green George 4: the tree-of-life saddle-cloth

Green George 5: the observers

Green George 6: the full picture

4 thoughts on “Green George: behind the scenes

  1. ohhhhhhh i love that blue dragon maquette, so much–and the two red studies–those almost butterfly-like details on the wings of george, and that spectacular, ravishing horse!!! its full head, round cheeks, the texture of that mane, wow! how big are those?

  2. Thank you Clive for these great recent posts. I too am wondering about my possible dragon puppet. There is so much dragon imagery around , but it does need to be my dragon and a bit different. I am still thinking… Its not driving me mad… just yet!
    I love the maquettes you make. I was thinking initially of something along the lines of a shadow puppet.. I am still thinking.. and researching .. and reading.

  3. I’ve enjoyed this interesting set of posts Clive. I think the maquette photos 1 and 3 would make really nice postcards.

    It’s always really interesting getting a glimpse into an artists studio, seeing the possibilities presented in the sketches and refs, you really get an impression of the artists mind in motion as they resolve the work. I have a postcard of Henry Moore’s studio in front of my desk, which I endlessly peer into and try to spot new things.

    • You can see the horrible ‘Artex’ render that still disfigures the studio walls, though we’ve re-plastered elsewhere in the house. (The studio work must wait for a time when the disruption to my work can be better borne.)

      Yes, I too like seeing artists’ studios and work-spaces. I once visited the late Maurice Cockrill at his studio in Dulwich, and I was amazed by the Zen-like simplicity and minimalism. My own studio is a chaotic bazaar, a ramshackle collection of everything necessary for my work. There are sheaves of drawings that topple and spill in drifts across the floor, books piled in mountain ranges and many small and all to often rickety tables used to mix paint on at the easel, which once belonged to the artist Handel Evans. There’s the stool that was dumped in the street where we lived in Cardiff. I collected it intending to put it out with the rubbish, but ended up using it as my painting stool and it’s followed me around ever since. I occasionally have frantic tidying sessions to order the space, but the results are usually fleeting, and soon the madness descends again.

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