Greg Manchess

The Opening debuted in Paris on October 17th, at Galerie Daniel Maghen. A charging knight, riding full-tilt right at the viewer, was a challenge offered by a friend who was excited about the show.

It was a tempting subject. Armor, like helmets, continues to evolve from knights to special forces. I like that history. The straight-on charge though, wouldn’t allow me to show much of the knight I wanted to paint, so I adjusted it to be a little offset. Question was, how do I start this thing? I don’t have much access to knights or horses.

The entire drawing was built from about 10 different pieces of reference: helmet, arms, legs, lighting, color, drapery, horse head, horse body, horse hooves, etc. I tried projecting a couple parts, but finding it warped and accuracy compromised, I opted to freehand it all into position.

Part of the problem with action pieces is that the longer you work on them, the less you can feel the movement, and it gets difficult to discern whether it has that fresh moment. I had to keep referring back to the sketch, where initially all the life of the moment was captured.

This was painted with a palette knife and a big fat brush over several hours. Very little noodling. Then it sat on the wall for weeks while I studied it. The advantage of the palette knife is that less is more. I can’t get particular with it, and most times it will obliterate the drawing structure underneath.

But if I can live with it, just for awhile, I come to accept the strokes, both deliberate and jumbled.