The Making of Gringolet: part 2

The finished maquette.

There are thirty separate parts that make up the maquette, including the bars and cams at the back of it.

Of course there is none of the stretch and compression of real flesh. The card is unyielding. This is what I celebrate in the maquettes by frequently showing their angularities and segmentations in the paintings I make, but also fight against by finding ever-increasingly ingenious ways to make plausible movement. I both celebrate the flattening out and awkwardness, and continue to tinker with it, to extend the possibilities of the maquettes, and it’s probably the tension between these two that pleases me most. I want them to be real and not real at the same time. Convincing, and unconvincing. Puppets are always at their best when they are being puppets, and not getting too close to being the real things they imitate.

It’s complicated. But then all the best things are!

And the technique really comes into its own in my search for expressive movement.

The Making of Gringolet: part 1

Gawain’s horse is named in the text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as Gringolet. I’m making a maquette of him in preparation for my Penfold Press series of fourteen editioned prints based on the poem.

I’ve spent more time than usual on this maquette, as I was looking for an elegant sense of movement in the horse. I’m not yet sure whether that’s a quality I’ll transfer to the prints, but I feel the maquette will be more useful to me in the long term if I can invest it with grace.

I begin by constructing a paper pattern to the scale of the planned maquette.

When all the details of construction and movement repertoire have been worked out, I transfer the component shapes to coloured paper and begin rendering in pencil.

The rendered papers are glued to card, trimmed and fitted with brads on the backs. Holes are made where required to receive the brads. When maquettes are assembled, these attachment-points don’t show on the fronts of them.

Gradually, piece by piece, Gringolet appears.