Beastie Boy 2

Here a flower-crowned mummer decked in a costume appliquéd with, birds, diamonds, hearts and a devil, rides a goat variant of a hobby-horse. Once again the image is a hybrid stitched from disparate elements. But then mumming has always liberally borrowed in order to evolve.


Below: portrait of a ‘hobby-horse’ mummer from Weisbach by Axel Hoedt from his book Dusk. The goat is first documented as a mumming figure of this type at the end of the 19th century.

A rare survival of a mummer’s costume from Yorkshire. 1829. Linen appliquéd with wool and felt motifs.

I drew on the tradition of the the mummer’s hat decorated with flowers and foliage, seen here beautifully executed by the ‘Green Man of Bankside’.

Below: preliminary sketch.


Finalised underdrawing.


Rendering sunflowers and roses in pencil over gouache.


The colours appear to deepen as the pencil work adds density and richness to them.

The finished artwork

Beastie Boys 1 & 2


15 thoughts on “Beastie Boy 2

  1. It made me think, somehow, of Petrushka, a kind of broken-ness, as though being controlled and so at the same time un-controllable.
    Yummy as ever
    B xxx

  2. Wow, they are wonderful! Amazing. They feel a little different to me – can’t quite explain why. Maybe the colours and the complexity of the textures – they feel almost sculptural to me. The foliage mummer’s hat, the rooster’s wing and the legs below. Love them. So interesting to see the reference. Very cool.

    • Bev, thank you for your comments. Many thoughts go into the making of an Artwork, and some that went into this one you’ve listed here. The balance between three-dimensionality and flatness is one that I strive to satisfactorily negotiate, endlessly adjusting until I’m happy with the result. I’m so glad what I’ve produced pleases you.

  3. I find these portraits really beautiful. I am struck by the thought that you could draw a line from your Beastie Boys, which would connect them with the Jordan of Dark Movements and then right back to the doomed youth of The Mare’s Tale paintings. I have always loved Stanley Spencer’s The Resurrection, Cookham and, in my imagination, what I am seeing is your version of the scene he depicted. The dancers, who we thought of as lost, are now awakening to join in these wonderful fantasy May Day revels you are currently creating. I wrote at the Artlog last year that I saw in your Dark Movements paintings the “thrum of a much-anticipated spring after a long, dark winter” and now here we are in glorious full bloom. “Sumer” is definitely “icumen in”!

    In a bid to inject spring into this gloomy return to winter weather we are currently experiencing, I have been listening to The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams, whilst I work.

    This beautiful piece of music has now become my soundtrack for the imaginary scene I describe above. I think your Beastie Boys would be absolutely stunning in a ballet!!

    • Sarah, I think you’re right about the connecting line stretching between the three periods. It’s reassuring that it’s there, and recognised. Sometimes people only see the differences between the bodies of work made over the years I’ve been painting, and so I’m relieved to read that for you the thread is intact, linking the Mare’s Tale, Dark Movements and Beastie Boys themes.

      The dance must always start and finish, and take us with it wherever it goes.

  4. Me too, I love it Clive, a joy to behold. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful post around this image too and for sharing your process and technique, the finished artwork is stunning !

      • I agree with Phil above. That you share how you make your work including its influences, step by step here on your blog… and then show the end result… is wonderful and inspiring. It is very generous of you to take on diary of your work. I appreciate this very much.

        The pieces are really beautiful too… imaginative, creative and fresh!

        • Thank you, Cosima. Much appreciated. I feel privileged to have had this late-blooming career, and to share and celebrate seems a good way to honour my good fortune. I don’t have that sense that everything I discover by way of techniques and methods needing to be guarded and kept secret. I believe that art flourishes better when the channels are open. I don’t set out to teach, but I like it when I see ideas taking root, helping others toward their own expressions of creativity.

          I have no children. Art is the only legacy I have to offer.

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