Anyone who knows me knows that one of my all time favorite artists is Alphonse Mucha. Most people know him as one the driving forces and pioneers of Art Nouveau and his posters for Sarah Bernhardt. What most people do not know is that he was an exceptional oil painter. His crowning achievement as an artist was completing a master series of work called the Slavic Epic, a series of 20 large scale multi figure paintings depicting the history of the slavic people. When I first saw these paintings I was completely blown away, I was fascinated by the sheer amount of work skill used on each painting, let alone all twenty of them. There was one painting in particular that has stood in my mind constantly.
The Hussite King Jiří z Podĕbrad
What I love about the paintings in this series is the powerful emotional impact each painting has, each painting moves you in different and interesting ways. What I love about this painting in particular is the tension between two powerful forces and the bystanders waiting to see what is going to happen/who will win the standoff. I have always loved emotional high drama paintings and this is one of my favorites.
In the fall I thought it was time to push myself further as an artist and I thought a great challenge for myself would be working on my own epic multi figure painting. As a huge fan of the Game of Thrones books I thought it would be the perfect subject matter to use for my painting. One scene/event from the book that really fascinated me when Daenerys Targaryen conquers the slave city of Mereen. There is no exact scene in the book or the show but I imagine that at some point soon after taking the city she would have presented herself to the ruling families of Mereen. There is a lot of tension in Mereen with Daenerys taking over the city, releasing all of the slaves, and upsetting a social order that has been in place for thousands of years. The people of Mereen are obviously intimidated and frightened of her, I mean she has dragons...Dragons I say! Though they are scared and intimidated by her they are also angry at her for imposing her foreign rule on them and taking away their primary resource of slaves, and they are not going to go down without a fight.
This is exactly what I want to depict in my illustration, Daenerys, the conquering mother of dragons presenting herself to the elite slave families demanding they submit to her, giving up their whips and control of their slaves. The slavers on the other hand although they are submitting to her, some of them are showing their anger and dissent, showing the seeds and tension for a combustable conflict. Daenerys and the slavers, the battle may be over but the war has only just begun.
Below is a more refined sketch for the painting, all of the major elements are starting to be placed and the figures starting to be grouped while also trying determine the overall lighting scheme. Next up is cleaning up the sketch some more and beginning to acquire some props and maybe begin shooting some reference.