One of the most controversial figures in the History of the American West is George Armstrong Custer. Often referred to as `General' Custer, his brevet rank during the Civil War, he was actually a Lieutenant Colonel when commanding the 7th Cavalry at the famous battle of the Little Bighorn on 25 June 1876. Custer's total force amounted to 667 soldiers, scouts and civilians. Underestimating the Indians - it is now believed there were about 1500 warriors, mainly Sioux, some Cheyenne and a few Arapahoes, although some estimates give much higher figures - he made the fatal error of splitting his force into three non supporting groups, his of 200 plus being completely wiped out. Total losses were approximately 253 soldiers and civilians killed plus 53 wounded. These are minuscule figures compared to what has happened in other conflicts but created a sensation at the time and has led to a huge literature, many films and continuing controversy to this day. The 7th cavalry gained their revenge over the Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek on the 29 December 1890 killing 128 Lakota Sioux, including women and children, with 33 more Wounded. It was not the one-sided battle often portrayed as 25 soldiers were killed and 35 wounded, the 7th Cavalry's biggest loss other than at the Little Big Horn.
George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer. A2 Waterford Rough 140lb (300gsm).
I first made a pencil drawing using a Pentel 205 mechanical 05 2B pencil. I then painted the features using various combinations of Cadmium Red Light, Yellow Ochre and Cerulean Blue. I avoided hard edges other than on the right facing side of the face. The hat is a mixture of Indigo (Daniel Smith) in various dilutions with some Cerulean and the hair a mixture of Raw Umber, Raw Sienna, Gold Ochre and a little blue. His coat is Cerulean and Cobalt Blue with the bow and buttons a mix of Raw Umber and Gold Ochre (W & N). Possibly I've missed out some Quinacridone Gold (DS).
Custer was played by Errol Flynn in the historically very inaccurate movie `They Died with Their Boots On' - a typical Hollywood distortion - and I keep thinking my painting looks rather like Flynn!
Usual brushes currently the Isabey Kolinsky sables including retractables sizes 4 to 8 and the Da Vinci Artissimo 44 No 2 mop - roughly equivalent to between a 12 and 14 round.