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Calming his excited steed, the knight takes his lance and, peering through the small vision slit in his helmet to check that his opponent is ready at the far end of the lists, he gives his horse its head and spurs it forward.....

Bruges 1468 or Essex 2004? While the setting might be different and the magnificence incomparible, I suspect that the knight's emotions in the final seconds before the joust - the excitement tempered by a calm self-control, the feeling of being totally cocooned, mind completely focused on the target - these things are probably as real today as they were 500 years ago.

Well, my second joust was quite an experience. I was entrusted with a horse who had never jousted before, and she was fantastic! By the second day of the tournament she had worked out what was required to such an extent that she was apparently lowering her head just before impact. Not that I knew; with the limited vision afforded by the helmet I can only feel what the horse is doing. We were second on both days, just beaten in the final joust off by William West (my armourer) on the Saturday and Philippe on the Sunday - well jousted gentlemen. I'll beat you next time!

So I arrived back in the studio fired up with inspiration yet again. Firstly, I give the ground a second coat of paint and then add the squire's horse's legs, painting 'wet on wet' to give them a certain softness. Most of the ground is in shadow, and to highlight the effect of the low, warm sun, I have used a lot of blue in the paint mix. This really contrasts well with the ochre hues of the sunlit areas.

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My attention then turns to the mounted squire - actually a knight or nobleman; one of seven who accompanied Anthony de la Roche. They were identically dressed in white damask short-sleeved gowns over leg armour, and rode horses wearing short violet velvet caparisons decorated with large silver bells suspended from golden buttons. These must have made quite a noise as they moved - no wonder the horse looks startled! However, I have found pictorial references to such bells, and have based the style of this caparison on a tapestry showing 'Jean de Dillon', a knight of this period.

Having removed the squire on foot from my initial composition, I have added another of the seven knights to fill this area, so I indicate him a little more solidly next. I will have to add his horse's legs at a later date because by now the paint in this area is sticky and drying.

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As each part of the painting gets worked on, it shows up other areas as being rather lacking, and the building on the left, the Market Hall, is now clearly in need of attention. This is a magnificent structure and it's a shame that I can't include more of it in the painting. With it's massive belfry towering over the square it really dominates the area, but as I wanted to concentrate on the figures in this composition, I will have to settle for showing just this corner. However, I am able to include some nice, distinctive details - the large window and small corner turret, for example. Typical with a lot of medieval buildings in the Low Countries, the Market Hall is built of brick, and I love their warm, earthy colours.

I have thrown a shadow across the Hall's front, cast by the buildings to the right, and this not only breaks up this large mass, but also provides a diagonal that helps lead the eye back to the main focus of the composition - Anthony, Count de la Roche, the 'Grand Bastard'.

Finally this week, with the paint on my palette drying, I just have time to add some form to the distant church tower in the background. This is the Church of Our Lady - coincidentally the final resting place of Duke Charles after his death in 1477.

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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.