Pirate Portrait – Emma and Ben

A really fun (if slightly infuriating) commission – to create an artwork featuring two wonderfully deranged pirates in full (and I mean full) costume. Seriously, I think they’ve got at least two guns and three blades each, not to mention all the straps, strings, parrots, hats, buttons, compasses, buckles and so on… Based on a photograph and taking style hints from a Deadpool poster, this is made with india ink and watercolours on bristol board. Also there’s a hint of metallic sparkle where appropriate.

Film Challenge – Lead Time

Another short film created under ludicrous conditions by the Tortoisebutler crew. This time I contributed props (including the robot’s bite-down charging plug) and the heads up display that shows us the world from our diminutive robot’s point of view.

The biggest part of the build, though, was the creation of the beast itself: to transform our fantastically physical actor Jinny into a threatening, alien creature that would spring from the darkness and attack our hapless protagonist.

“Let’s do a simple film challenge this year” they said, “Let’s make something simple, light on the FX”… so we wrote a script with a monster. Oh, and we needed to build it in a few hours, using only what we’d brought with us.

Magda’s fantastic body (and head!) stocking gave us a perfect starting point for the transformation, dehumanising Jinny and forming n overlay to attach things to our poor actor.

Given the pale colour of the body stocking, we sketched a sinewy, insectile, carapaced creature that would almost glow in the dark. It needed to be a clear threat, so we armed it with six scything claws, a weird pointy mandible, and spines on head, elbows, and anywhere else that felt like a good idea.

Most of this was accomplished with thermoplastic pierced through the bodystocking or attached to it with double-sided sticky tape. Thermoplastic is my go-to material for creating structural elements on the fly. With some hot water it’s sculptable, it’s springy enough to be safe and tough enough to stand up to rough treatment.

Once our beast was assembled it looked a bit blank, without much secondary movement for our super slo-mo camera. Materials Magda came up trumps again though, with some fantastic long-haired fabric I’ve not seen the like of before. Hooking it through the stocking around the spines gave us a really disturbing ‘hairy insect’ effect and great flowing motion.

The finishing touch was to mix fistfuls of black and red acrylic paints with hair gel, and plaster the hair up into a stiff mane. Strategically applied paint dirtied up our monster even more, and encrusted the claws with ‘gore’ from the struggles of past victims. The pale theme made it stand out starkly, especially when light glowed through the thermoplastic weapons.

Jinny endured so much being our human mannequin in a freezing hall, but I love the hideous and unusual monstrosity we created.

Magda shared a couple of awesome picture sets from the filming here and here, and you can read another crew member’s blog post here.

Photo Credit – TortoiseButler

Rusty skull and bee

An impromptu photoshoot to show some rust treatment experiments with an iron-and-resin version of my mask sculpture, complete with an unexpected model.

Festive printable penguin for colouring

Happy Xmas, gentlepeeps, and I wish you all a fantastic new year! In lieu of a card, here’s a pdf of a festive penguin to print and colour in, if such things float your personal boat. I had so much fun inking it. Any request for other colour-able beasties for me to draw?

Inked penguin

Festive (Sc)Owl

In case there are any more Humbugs out there, here’s a high-resolution scan of my festive ScOwl picture (based on a burrowing owl) which you may print out for festooning places with humbuggery as the season demands.

(If clicking the image just takes you to the overlay you can ‘view full size’, or try opening the link in a new tab)

Jewellery for sale in the Bealach Gallery

Exciting news, a selection of my jewellery will be for sale in the Bealach Café and Gallery up in the Scottish Highlands! Check out their facebook page too – it’s a beautiful place, and I hear very good things about the scones! I covet so many of the gorgeous paintings on the walls, and I hope the locals and passing traffic like my jewellery as much as the setting.

Pierced sterling silver brooches and pendants with hammered textures.

Driftwood and barnacle scent ring

A wax-carved sculptural ring, with deep deep wood grain and a gnarly knot-hole. This driftwood’s been washing about for a while, so it’s accumulated a few passengers, in the form of barnacles ranging from a tiny 1mm to 4mm across.

The band is broad and slopes smoothly up into the knot, ensuring it’s comfortable enough to wear all day without snagging. It’s an hefty size and with patina highlighting the detail, it really looks impressive, but at 17g it’s lightweight enough not to bother me (who doesn’t usually wear anything above 5g).

The ring can be worn in two ways – with or without the knot in the middle. The knot is conical, so it can be pushed into the knot-hole from behind and is held captive by the finger while the ring is worn.

This knot is where things get a little fancy though – it is hollowed out, and three barnacles conceal vent-holes to the inside. Insert a perfume-soaked cork, and you can enjoy a fragrance without it being unduly influenced by your skin chemistry, or just to avoid wearing it directly on your skin.

This is a bronze trial version, to test it and court interest before recreating it in sterling silver.