Monday morning saw me back in the studio, feeling a little stiff and tired - but very satisfied - after a fantastic weekend of joust training up in Yorkshire. Having good weather certainly helped, (every other time I've donned my armour seems to have brought rain!) and I managed to get a lot of practice riding in full armour (which is very hot when the sun's out - you can't win!). The highlight of the weekend was a series of runs down the lists against 'Sir' William West - my armourer - which resulted in several good hits.

Click image to enlarge

Anyhow, back to the painting. My task this week is to establish the main elements more accurately and to continue to build up the tones and colours. At this stage I 'draw' quite a lot with a fairly dry brush, refining what I initially drew onto the blank canvas last week. Where I had roughly indicated the main figure, I now have to decide on the exact type of armour he would be wearing and check that all his proportions are correct. This entails going through all my reference material again to be sure I know what I am depicting, and although the figure is still very loosely painted, I am now happy with his appearance and positioning.

I discover that his horse's head needs quite a bit of adjustment, and after getting myself into a bit of a mess I decide to firstly paint it un-armoured, to make sure everything is in the right place before adding the shaffron. Although this approach is a bit time consuming, I do find it helps things look more convincing - in this case so that it looks like the horse is wearing a shaffron, rather than like a shaffron that has a horse's nose stuck on the front and an eye on the side! As with the figure, while this is still only roughly painted it will provide a good foundation and should hopefully prove time well spent as the painting progresses.

Click image to enlarge

Lighting has an important part to play in this painting as it is set in the late afternoon, and the low sun is shining from the right and slightly behind. The buildings are mostly in shadow, which will allow the main figure to really stand out when his armour has some sparkling highlights on it. I will also throw some light across the horse's forelegs, because at the moment they are lost in darkness. As you can see in the second photo, I have used this low light to justify casting a shadow from the buildings over most of the squire's violet caparison, which has helped quieten the clash of colours, but I still feel the yellow pavilion is too bright. However, I'd rather mute this in gradual stages as yellow is very difficult to brighten once it has become too dull. I'm sure it will improve once I've added some stronger shadow in the opening, so I won't rush into changing this too soon.

Just adding some dark rectangles where the windows will be also helps give the scene more depth. De la Marche comments on the amount of people watching from the buildings surrounding the square, so I intend to fill these windows with colourfully dressed figures enjoying the spectacle below them.

When I wrote the 'Arrivall' painting diary, I somehow managed to find five uninterrupted weeks to create the painting in. Trying to find a similar amount of time to dedicate exclusively to another large scale painting is one reason it's taken so long to get round to this second diary - and unfortunately it hasn't proved possible. Next week I need to finish painting the poster for this year's Tewkesbury Medieval Festival (see Latest News for details of my exhibition there), and then we are off on a family holiday. If that's not enough, on our return we have one day to sort ourselves out before heading to Ireland for a joust - and my first opportunity to joust in public. I do apologise for this interruption and hope you will log on again on the 18th June to see how the painting has progressed and find out how I faired in Ireland.

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Graham Turner's jousting career has progressed a long way from the start he made whilst writing this Painting Diary in 2004, and he has now jousted at venues such as the Tower of London, the Royal Armouries Museum, and the Historisches Museum in Bern. The incredible experiences he has gained riding and competing in full plate armour at this high level have had a profound influence on his life and work, and you can find out more about Graham's jousting and his armour by CLICKING HERE

A large range of prints and cards reproduced from Graham Turner's medieval paintings are available from Studio 88, and full details of these, plus all Graham Turner's currently available originals, can be found on our website.

CLICK HERE to be taken to the relevant section of the site.