Assignment 5: Painting 4 Hollow Crown (II)


“The hollow crown that rounds the mortal temples of a king.” Richard II | Acrylic and enamel (39 x 49c) final with tutor comments applied

My tutor suggested I pull some of the blue background into the figures. This has had the result of giving more depth to the main figure. It has also broken up some of the more simplistic outlines and, interestingly, enhanced the underlying colours making those  more prominent. Well worth doing.


“The hollow crown that rounds the mortal temples of a king.” Richard II | Acrylic and enamel (39 x 49cm) – version 1



Initial underpainting using white enamel

This painting started out as an unpromising sketchbook ink painting – from the same photograph of Fiona Shaw that I used for Hollow Crown I. The proportions were all wrong, body too long, legs too short. I tried stretching it in Photoshop to see if I could turn it into a  long, thin Giacometti King. And I played with the colours and made it glow. But it still didn’t feel right.

However, the scene and the pose had got into my mind and I wanted to try working with enamel paint again so I decided  to paint a full size picture and see what happened. I started out with a white enamel drawing on an orange background which I painted over and then sanded. I should have left the enamel to dry overnight because too much sanded away, leaving my figures very diffuse. So I decided to make them ghostly with a skim of transparent white paint, then I used my white Chinagraph pencil to put back some white lines and then added broken lines in white enamel for detail.

What works?
Again there is mood and atmosphere – a haughty, proud King in the presence of some enigmatic figures who may or may not be on his side. The proportions are better this time (I hope!). There is a limited palette but it has depth because of multiple layers of transparent paint. A little of the orange ground shows through but not too much. The dark blue base pulls the scene together and grounds the characters with echoes of the crown.

What doesn’t work so well?
I’m really not sure. David my partner thought that I  should not include this one. He’s got a point but I can’t put my finger on it. Is it that it feels a bit dead… like a brass rubbing? Feedback welcome! I decided to include it because the techniques I experimented with have worked and it is definitely not an out and out failure.

Sketchbook exploration


Double A4 sketchbook page in painting. Proportions all wrong


Stretched and colour saturated in Photoshop


Not quite so stretched.. interesting but not thrilling me


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