24 Aug 18. I began this drawing several years ago and abandoned it because I wasn’t pleased with how it was looking and I couldn’t see a way to progress with it. It was after a few months of my OCA course that I began to see what I needed to do with it. This is how it looked until recently:
The image developed from my memory of seeing dead soldiers during my army service, body in particular was played on his back with forearms raised. I imagined his death and tried to create a picture that conveyed the noise, danger and confusion of the battlefield. It was drawn on watercolour paper with charcoal, pastel and some paint. I was fairly pleased with the composition but not with the overall effect, which I thought should have been darker and more threatening.
Looking at other examples on the same theme, I’ve been impressed with Henry Moore’s “Falling Warrior” since I first saw it many years ago at Leeds Art Gallery. This is it, with my drawing of it below:
During recent research on the theme I discovered Henry Moore’s “Warrior with shield”, which I find equally impressive:
It seems likely that Moore was influenced by classical Greek carvings, particularly the fallen warriors from the Temple at Aphaia:
I didn’t want to give my fallen warrior a shield, because I wanted him to appear totally defenceless in the face the artillery and small-arms fire. I began to change the picture by cutting and tearing parts of it and then decided to paste some of the pieces back on in different positions, after glueing the whole drawing to a larger piece of card:
I then worked on it with black ink, charcoal, some acrylic paint, including silver and gold. I made the legs more defined and added some other abstract elements until I decided enough was enough. I’m pleased with the end result:
I think I may have been unconsciously influenced by Picasso’s “Guernica”, which, bizarrely enough, I used to see regularly near my Grandma’s house in Batley when I was a boy – someone had painted a copy of it on their garden wall! It depicts the Fascist bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War:
Now that I’ve got the picture finished I feel better able to continue with my project, so I will progress on the same theme, using the Ossett War Memorial as a starting point. My current thoughts are:
- Draw the memorial as it is, but change the market place it stands in to a battlefield, probably a night scene, with shell bursts and flares illuminating it.
- Draw the same plinth but change the statue, either to a “fallen warrior”, or a badly wounded soldier.
I will start with some research of other war art and photographs.