St. George and the Dragon: The Force Awakens.

I went to a three-day beading intensive in New Orleans a couple months ago and I needed a project to work on. I was going to bring a board with a design on it to glue tiny beads to but an employee of mine quit. I took over her work and therefore didn’t complete as much as I wanted. So I ended up gluing teeny tiny sequins instead. Let me tell you my story with St. George and the Dragon.

A while back I went to the Neue Gallerie, the German art museum in NY, for their Weiner Werkstätte exhibit. In the entrance hall there was a mosaic (you know how I feel about mosaics) of St. George and his dragon.

I was like GIVE THAT TO ME I WANT IT  but shocker, they did not give it to me. So I was like FINE I’ll make it myself. And I’ll make it exactly how I want it. For example, I don’t love that dragon, but I very much love the dragon on the fountain in Antwerp.

I decided to use the head and some of the body style. Done. Then I wanted smoke to come out of the nose. And I like the way the Chinese draw clouds.

Boom. Put that in.

I decided that I wanted the piece to be matte but the suit of armor and his halo should be encrusted like a Russian icon. I’ve had a soft spot for Russian icons for a long time. The hands and face are painted and the rest is hammered metal, usually gold or silver. Here is an example.

And finally I’ve always wanted to make a drawing with red outlines instead of the usual black. I like to make my life difficult because that’s how you grow and evolve as a creative person.

SO, armed with all this everything I made a drawing.

That’s Cricket’s face which I used as a guide for the face.

I did such a good job! Hooray for me! So talented! (Get ready for a fat pile of hubris.)

I transferred the design to the board by punching little holes using a pushpin onto the lines using a soft backing, in this case I used foamcore, taping it to the board and pressing a pale-colored Sharpie on the holes thereby making wee dots on the board. I can then connect the dots and have the pattern.

And I colored in all the red. Which is when I realized I screwed up all the proportions on St. George.

His head is too big, his waist is too small and his legs are too short. But I didn’t have time to redo it so I convinced myself hey, it’s the Middle Ages, he’s a young child and he has rickets and a tapeworm. Fine, good, solution. Moving on.

Gray and silver washes as a background. And darker gray for depth.

And the beginning of the sequin-gluing process. I found some flowers and cut off the petals to make the chain-mail.

I finished all the sequins and started on the dragon’s body. I painted it a rich deep blue-green.

And then I screwed up the cloud. And scraped it off. I proceeded to screw it up three more times. And at that moment I made the decision to start over. George was the wrong size, I didn’t use a sticky enough glue for the sequins and they started coming off, and the smoke cloud was not happening. You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, etc.

First thing I did was find a photo of a tall man, chopped off chunks of my original St. George drawing in Photoshop and reassembled them over the new body so the proportions were correct.

Then I made an entirely new drawing. I wanted the cloud to balance the curve of the dragon so I moved it over.

I used the same technique of the pushpin on the soft backing material,this time apadded envelope, taping it to the board and tapping a Sharpie on the dots. This is what the paper should look like when done if it’s done correctly.

Before I got to the tail I decided I didn’t like that odd turn and redesigned it using light pencil lines. You can see Old George who is not great and New George who is really coming together.

And now I begin the painting process. Since I made a ton of mistakes on Old George I feel like I’m starting New George with a lot of good information. Let’s see if I’m right.

Leave a Reply