Choosing the composition

The idea for the scene was an image which developed in his mind. The story seemed to spark off the picture of a dark sea cave, occupied by a basking, fat, contented dragon.

1 The first stage was to obtain photographs of caves, and George was lucky to have a friend who took photographs of the spectacular volcanic sea caves on the Canary Islands.

2 To select a suitable view, George first transferred the floor planes of the cave onto tracing paper.

3 He then composed, in great detail, a pencil study of a fat dragon. Great care was taken at this stage to resolve the construction and features of the invented dragon, as working out details on the canvas destroys the purity of the final work. Remember, a problem left until the painting stage is a problem with increased dangers of spoiling the cleanliness of the final result.

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