Commissions can be daunting
When I was first approached to create a painting to commemorate the 600 year Centenary of the Royal Latin School in Buckingham I was simultaneously excited and nervous.
600 years is a significant number
You have to get it right and produce something the customer wants as well as meeting your own artistic criteria.
The remit was to produce a painting which showed as much of the school as possible,
Including the new science block, or Discovery Centre, which was scheduled to be built. Tricky for such a large expanse of buildings.
At the time, I had included very few figures into my paintings but I felt it was essential to show the school in action. So figures were required. I was invited to take photos one summer day before the new building work had started. It was lunchtime, so there were lots of students and by the end I had a few good images of students in action as well as the architecture.
Work began to create a few composition layouts,
Playing around with photo montage and panoramic views, a created a few options which were sent to the school for approval. Eventually we agreed on one of the panoramic views and I set to work.
The biggest challenge was incorporating the new building
as I only had the architects sketches to work from and wasn’t sure how tall it was in relation to the existing structures. And, of course, none of the sketches was of the angle I actually needed.
The sketching took an age but eventually this was the result.
At the time it was the largest watercolour I’d done, and a little nerve-wracking. Starting the painting is usually the scariest part for me,
Once the initial washes are done, I start to relax and enjoy myself.
The group of boys playing football in their blazers is the section I particularly enjoyed. I knew, as soon as I took the photo of them mid tackle, it was going to be in the painting. Here’s a photo of them at the cleaning up stage with the figures beginning to take shape as the masking layers are peeled off.
Here’s the Royal Latin @600 once all the painting was complete and the masking fluid removed.
The finished painting is now hanging in the completed Discovery Centre – the red building on the far right.
If you would like a print of the painting, the Royal Latin school have decided to sell a limited edition of 600 signed gyclee prints. They are £30 each and the money raised will fund equipment for the science block.
You can get yours by emailing Jo Ballantine email@example.com