Gawain at Penfold

Centre: Dan Bugg of Penfold Press at the opening of Dark Movements on June 10th.

I’m pleased to announce that I’m about to embark on a long-term project to produce a series of editioned prints on the theme of Gawain and the Green Knight, a narrative that I’ve been exploring ever since I first read the Simon Armitage translation of the poem published in 2007.

Below: Gawain and the Green Knight, explored at my easel over the past seven years.

Dan recently spent time at Ty Isaf attending the opening of my exhibition, Dark Movements at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Around that event we walked my dog Jack along the banks of the River Ystwyth, and thumbed-through Gawain-themed sketches in my attic studio while discussing the way forward for the series, which we envisage as telling the story from start to finish in pictures. Although I’ve occasionally made lino-prints, screen-printing will be new territory for me. But with Dan to guide me through the processes, it looks fair-set for some creative play at the Penfold Press.

Gawain and the Green Knight sketches have long been tacked to my studio walls.

My thanks to Dan for his enthusiastic embracing of these projects, and to to my friend Sarah Parvin of The Curious One for initiating them.

20 thoughts on “Gawain at Penfold

  1. Pingback: preparing artwork for a print | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. I’m SO pleased.
    I’ve loved his many guises for so long.
    I have, long years ago, painted foliage on my face and feet when frolicking with my own, Jack in the green, when his hair was tinged with red and his beard very russet.
    Now both older and greyer I look forward to all that’s to come.
    Huzzah!
    Love
    B xxx

    • I must say that when Sarah mentioned the idea of a Gawain print, and then marched off to visit Dan Bugg and suggest that he and I work together, everything seemed to me to be coming together in a most promising way. Then when Dan and I met, the various pieces shifted and fitted together wonderfully. Here was a print-maker who would see me safely through the processes. At that point I became greedy for the experience to be a long-term one, added to which was the fact that when I began to think about it, it simply wasn’t possible to target one episode in the poem. The whole thing is full of beguiling incidents, hence the decision to make a series.

      Ha ha. Oh my dear old friend, ‘Huzzah!’ indeed.

  3. This sounds extremely exciting. I love Penfold Press and the other artists. For me this raises the opportunity for others to discover your work – so magic indeed!

  4. Wonderful news Clive! Of course,you know how much the Green Man means to me and with your fantastic paintings – well,what more can I say but………wow!!

  5. Clive, I always relish any time I get to spend in the company of your Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, so this post is a real treat for me. These two fine fellows definitely have a lot of fans at the Artlog!

    Your work on ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ is the best I have seen on the subject, which means I am absolutely delighted that the kernel of an idea, which sprouted in my overactive mind, is now well on its way to becoming a beautiful reality in the highly creative and capable hands of you and Dan. I am glad to have brought artist and printmaker together and I am positive that magic is going to occur as a result.

    I am now going to send a wish out into the universe, in the hope it will find its rightful home. I am imagining a future exhibition of your 12 prints at the British Library, which is the current home of the original 14th century ‘Gawain’ manuscript. I would love to see your art sit alongside the original manuscript in the place devoted to the greatest literature our country has created.

    To make the above happen, I am wondering if you could get your Gawain to have a word with King Arthur, who can then have a word with Merlin, who can then do some ensorcelling (my favourite word of the moment) to make it so?! If we don’t get a result, we can always send the Green Knight round to the British Library, as he is definitely a chap who knows how to capture the attention of his audience! Like Maria, I am a big fan of his!! (-:

    • Sarah, your energy and enthusiasm fired this project. Without the insight you brought to bear on what I do, and what Dan does, and the fact you recognised that we would be a good match, it quite simply wouldn’t have happened. You are the ‘matchmaker’! I’d been making enquiries about how to produce some silkscreen prints, but the routes I’d investigated were ones I couldn’t have gone with, as I realised early on that I didn’t have the time to make and edition prints while also fulfilling all my other commitments. What Dan has suggested is a perfect solution. I love collaborations, and the fact is, he and I get on like a house on fire! This is a truly wonderful opportunity for me, and I’m filled with joy about it.

      Your plans for this are ambitious, but hey, between us all perhaps we’ll find a way. Let’s see what unfolds here. Stranger things have been known.

      There have been times in my past life… and past occupation… when I have been called ‘Merlin’. When I was younger, to me it seemed an incongruous naming, and I simply didn’t understand why it was regularly applied to me, and moreover from diverse sources. I could see they thought I had a magic touch in matters of stage-craft, but to me Merlin was an old guy, and I was far from that. Much more The Sorcerer’s Apprentice!

      But now I am old and white-haired, I can see why I might be thought to fit the role. Perhaps Dan is the King Arthur in this casting-call!

      • Thank you for your kind comments Clive.

        I recommend to Artloggers that they watch Simon Armitage’s BBC documentary on ‘Gawain’, where he follows the trail of the poem he so brilliantly translated. I think it’s the perfect scene-setter for the exciting things to come:

        Like Phil, your ‘Green Knight’ was among the paintings that first drew me into your world, so I am delighted that more people will have the opportunity to see/own your work through your printmaking collaboration with the Penfold Press.

        You could say that Merlin has granted my wish! (-:

  6. You know how much Khidir, The Green Knight, The Green Man mean to me and I have already loved your previous images so very much. They feel like friends to me. So I am more than excited, I’m verdant, with thoughts of this new Green journey you are embarking on. And can’t wait to see what is revealed to you, and then shared with us. And like Peter I think, oh boy, the charms of screenprints and the hope of affording one. Onward Green Clive! From my poem sequence “The Green Man’s Man” : I, in my green shirt, / put on my broad antlers / sure-footed, / Druidic, lichen-dressed // A wizened-woodman….

    • Thank you, Jeffery. This is one of those projects that somehow came from left of field… and we have Miss Sarah to thank for that… but it also feels long in gestation and ripe to go. I had the most fun with Dan here, listening and beginning to understand that with him I was in safe hands. It leaves me free to think about the imagery and narrative and character of the series. It’s set to be a great collaboration, as Dan and I are well-matched and equally fired up about this subject.

      Light the blue touch-paper and retire. Ha ha! The firework is about to go off!

  7. Great:
    I had read the Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, and knew about Gawain and the Green Knight, but not the poem. I am going to watch the BBC film now (thanks Sarah) and have already bought the Armitage translation of the poem, which waits for me in my Kindle.

    I love these images. It is funny, because Gawain is very much like Kevin, or Tobit, or Hervé, those beautiful young men with the serious face, white skin, dark intent eyes, and a big single eyebrow over those eyes.

    But the Green Knight reminds me very much of Ian McKellen. (I fell in love with him when he played the baddie in The Scarlet Pimpernel BBC series, and I hear he recited the Gawain poem on the presentation of the new translation.) So I think this time, the Green Knight is going to be even better than the young Gawain.

    This is going to be fabulous.

    And maybe, like Peter, I shall be able to buy a print too…

        • I think the cast is stepping into place on this one. Jordan has intimated he likes the idea of being cast as the Green Knight, and Johann, fair and straight-backed and level-browed, might yet step into Gawain’s bright armour. Things are cooking in my head.

          It’s good to read the comments here that so many are already imagining purchasing prints. That will be music to Dan’s ears!

  8. The first painting of yours I ever saw Clive was the Green Knight – the second of the painting images in this post – and I’ve been smitten with your work ever since. I’m glad to hear you’re returning to this theme and I’m excited to see how things evolve. Oh I do love that Winter Knight too, this story always seems to generate magic from your studio, what a great project 🙂

  9. This is exciting news. The Green Knight offers lots of visual possibilities just crying out for a Clivean twist I also love the various qualities screen printing has to offer, so it will be very interesting to see how you respond to the medium and most likely, subvert it!

    I might even be able to afford to buy one too – whoop!

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