Part of my studio practice lately has been to work with acrylic on the weekend, putting to canvas images as spontaneously as possible. This practice benefits from my readings which often serve as an inspiration. Having just finished Richard III, the following is a result of this new and at times challenging experiment .
On Bosworth Field
acrylic on canvas
16 by 20″
Richard III offers many scenes of pathos, violence and questionable morality, often with great wit, Richard is a very funny fellow. But only one scene inspired me to put it to paint ,Act V, scene 3. Set on Bosworth Field, on the eve of battle, Richard is in his tent; his enemy (and future king Henry VII) Richmond is in his. Richard when he needs to be as steely and as brave as he ever has been ,is set upon by the ghosts of all those he has slain: Prince Edward, Henry VI, Clarence, Rivers, Grey, Vaughan, the young princes, Hastings, Lady Anne and Buckingham. Quite an assembly and each rattles his slumber with the curse “Despair and die”. With that joyful tiding they depart, leaving Richard rattled and in despair;they then head to Richmond’s tent offering him the blessing of “Live and flourish! “. One can guess the outcome.
So this is that pivotal moment, and the one I chose to depict- with many liberties taken, the young princes are far from boyhood.
I’m not sure what I think of this painting and it has taken a certain degree of will and courage even to just post it. But my discipline with this studio journal is to post work even when I am unsure about it. I may go back to this painting, soften it, creating a more subtle surface with oil . I’m not sure, I might very well just shove it in the closet with the other forlorn paintings and drawings I have made. There is enough within the painting to justify not just chucking it, which is my usual inclination. It might inspire something in the future as this following sketch did for this very painting. I made the sketch after having read the remains of Richard III had been authenticated a few years back. I based the drawing upon the skeleton as it had been found. At the time the crooked skeleton seemed to validate the hunchbacked myth but that seems to have been disproven.
If I am unsure of the painting I am sure of Richard III, its an incredible play.
Now onto Othello.