Oh my gosh! Merlin's snazzy suit! The original painting was a wonderful choice for a portrait of Merlin and Arthur - they both look so dapper, and the gaze they share is so intense! I adore pictures of Arthur and Merlin in different time periods. Also, you have captured Colin's and Bradley's profiles perfectly. The color scheme is more muted than some of your other paintings, and I think it works very well.
What really amuses me (although it is probably coincidental) is how much Merlin's suit and bowler hat remind me of the outfit that Hank Morgan wears at the beginning of Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, when he can't figure out why the peasants are all staring at him instead of at the armored and surcoated knight who has taken him prisoner (and just before he is brought before the royal court, where it is immediately decided that his strange clothing must be magical and should be removed from him without further ado...). Yeah.
I'll admit I am a total sucker for anything that pairs BBC Merlin with Connecticut Yankee. I actually strongly suspect that the characterization of Arthur on Merlin was heavily influenced by Twain's portrayal of him: pompous, self-absorbed, not the sharpest tack, but intrinsically brave and noble when it comes down to it. (And perhaps some of Merlin's snark owes a bit to Hank Morgan as well.)
This is Hank on the subject of Arthur: "The king looked puzzled - he wasn't a very heavy weight, intellectually. His head was an hourglass; it could stow an idea, but it had to do it a grain at a time, not the whole idea at once."
And, even better, (when Hank and Arthur are touring the kingdom, disguised as peasants): "If you have ever seen an active, heedless, enterprising child going diligently out of one mischief and into another all day long, and an anxious mother at its heels all the while, just saving it by a hair from drowning itself or breaking its neck with each new experiment, you've seen the king and me."
I shall have to read that again, I've got a book of all Mark Twain's stuff upstairs. Your quotes from it are so good, Twain was so brilliant at turning a phrase.
What you say about the similarities do ring true, certainly with very early BBC Arthur. But I do like my Arthur a bit more brainy AND noble, a bit more of the Mallory Arthur. I think BBC Arthur matured a lot and grew a lot as the series went on, which I really liked.
Twain's Arthur does have his moments of sublime greatness and nobility as well. The scene in the smallpox hut, in particular, made me fall a bit in love with Arthur Pendragon before ever I saw him played by Bradley James...
Awwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I loved that story beginning and the banter between them. Although of course, NOW I want to know what that leads to. Even if you don't actually want to write the story, d'you want to give me a hint of what happens next and why the challenge is cast down?
I'm glad you liked it. I'd write it right now but I'm not fully sure how it goes although I know somewhere along the lines they end up in a compromising situation. (As yer do.)
The book Arthur is holding leads me to believe that magic is not unheard of in that universe. I would say that Arthur knows of magic but has never seen it done. He has no negative feelings towards it. He did not know Merlin had magic. Arthur being Arthur in every universe sasses and teases Merlin and Merlin finally has his fill. A mixture of teasing and ust will do that. He's tired of hearing Arthur goading him about his sporting physique and how boxing with him would be like punching a leaf. He can't resist showing Arthur who really has the upper hand. (In a mature rated fashion.)
Arthur is thrown off his guard by the change of events but approves of a rather predatory Merlin. (This idere feels like it will be next proper Merlin fic I work on.)
AHHH! I know the person who made this request and was excited when she told me she was going to ask you, but this is still a wonderful surprise! Merlin looks so damn sharp (ooh, that flash of ankle!) and I love how Arthur can look so freaking good in a shirt, tie, and trousers! I love the symbolic imagery here, from the gauntlet to the symbol on Arthur's book. This is fantastic!
Somehow I feel like this pic looks contrast, and yet perfect. Usually messy Merlin in complete outfit, holding a gauntlet in hand, and always neat Arthur with no suit, reading what I presume a magic book (or just a "Tales from neverending story"?)
OK, I know I'm babbling. All I want to say is I love this pic. Well done!
OH, I LOVE IT! Look at those expressions! Beautiful drapery, I LOVE how I can practially feel the texture of the fabric in their clothes! Pinstripes!! A gauntlet instead of a glove, lol. Hee, the pattern on the book cover . Also, OMG, the chintz, that must have been a PAIN. And I love how you've managed the texture of the background as well! Top Notch!
Thank you very much. The whole thing has come out a bit dark unfortunately. I copied Leyendecker and started off with a grey underpainting, and while he obviously has the skill to put on enough paint to completely overcome that and still make the painting vibrant, I apparently don't. I think I'll stick to the underpainting colours I usually use in future. Still, I came away with a lot in interesting knowledge from it, and I will use his idea of building up thin washes for the shadows in future, as that worked pretty okay.
I do like the way the white of the background really pops off of the grey of the underlayer, but it does kill the other colors a bit, doesn't it. I did notice that the skin tones on the hands were a bit greyer than usual (though their faces look just fine!), but I still think you pulled this off with considerable flair. And I still adore the expressions you found to put on their faces. <3
I wondered if a cream background might help, but I didn't want to lose the patchy effect, which I liked. The recipient of it did want me to change it to cream though, so I did. It didn't help unfortunately, (and now I've lost the patchy effect). Still, live and learn.
Normally a do a warm flesh-toned underpainting, and it does warm the skintones up nicely.
I used grey this time, because that's what he always used. What I forgot to allow for, is that he was using oil paints. not acrylics, and they have a much denser, thicker coverage than acrylics, so they cover the grey more effectively.
Thank you. As I said above, it's a copy of a painting, (just slightly changed). So I didn't invent the poses or the folds, but it was good painting practice to see how they were done and try to duplicate them.
I don't know why, I didn't see this piece appearing on my watch list, found it on FB so rushed here and saw it, when did you post it ? Anyway, it's beautiful (as usual) I will never been tired/fed up with your art Hope you had a great NYE and I wish you a Happy and Healthy new year !!! Lots of hugs
Oh, and (belated thought) I adore how you have their outfits sort of a mirror image of each other: Merlin in black with white stripes and Arthur in white with black stripes. Sort of giving off that "two sides of the same coin" feel. Eeee!
...as I was saying, someone asked me to paint copy of a painting by JC Leyendecker, and change the two men in it to Arthur and Merlin. The original painting is here tinyurl.com/qgof9us
So I'm afraid the composition and what they are wearing was pre-ordained and nothing to do with me being clever. I do agree though, that it actually worked out quite well, as the costumes do sorta reflect each other.