The Gondwana portrait

I started a number of further pictures for Regina Rex – and I’ve started to finish some of them. I’ve spent more time painting recently than ever before. It’s been good but by golly my wrist is sore.   Here’s the first!

Based on The Ditchley Portrait, this is Elizabeth I standing on a map of Gondwanaland (the original painting she was standing on Ditchley, in England), with an Australian dinosaur called ‘Ozraptor’ (yeah really!) next to her.

The Gondwana portrait

The Gondwana portrait

I am not the fondest of this style of Elizabethan clothing. The wheel farthingale just looks frankly dumb, and all the proportions are out.  Early Elizabethan is flattering and glorious, later is a bit naff. Still, was fun to paint.

One thing I’ve discovered about going back to painting this sort of thing – portraits of an older style era – the paintings of this time are very flat and very meticulous and very clean. Getting rid of visible brush strokes is really what it’s about for this style. I do a lot of smoothing with my finger and with very soft brushes to get the carefully contrived flatness of surface, else it just does not look right – and I utterly love this look. This is how I’ve always painted in oil from the first time I tried to paint, as I’ve always really liked this type of effect. However it’s this practice that works so well here, that is holding me back in landscape. Landscape of the type I like (think Tom Roberts or Arthur Streeton – impressionistic) you need to have lots of juicy brush strokes and lots of uncertainty that the viewer fills in themself to make the narrative. Also there are no ‘lost edges’ to a Tudor painting and no fading into background- everything is sharp and clear, all backgrounds are pretty flat or dark or very contrived. Again, this is something I am having to unlearn in doing landscape.

So when I do finish this current batch of painting I’m looking forward to getting back and trying out some new things in the landscape, that are as far removed from this style as possible.

Actually I’ve painted a version of this portrait before a number of years ago, so this one was childs play.  I for one, welcome our alien overlords.


BTW. Not childs play to paint. So many little jewels. WHAT WAS I THINKING.