Saturday 28 January 2023

New Steampunk Painting


Here is a new steampunk painting I have just finished.

This idea sprang from a found image of someone with a lobster on their shoulder.

This led to the lobster epaulet and ,thence, to replacing the usual accoutrements of the pith helmet with sea-themed items: the turban of seaweed, the starfish helmet plate and the conch shell plume.

I also added amonites as collar rank badges.

Once again, this has been painted and airbrushed in acrylic.

I am calling the painting 'Sealord'.

Until next time


Wednesday 25 January 2023

Making The Great Axe


I made some of the items for Teddy's Viking-style costume in the Group Green set at the Dublin Worldcon in 2019.

This is how I made the great axe.

As the costume concept was a sort of 1970's idea of Viking, I designed the blade as a mix between a Dane axe, an Executioner's axe and a Bearded axe

I started out with card and papier mache. You will note that I used bulldog clips to ensure I maintained a good cutting edge to the blade.

I then applied many layers of gesso, sanding down between coats.

Next I used bright silver spay acrylic.

I then masked the edge and over-sprayed with dark silver.

Using a torn-paper mask, I then started to airbrush the pattern-welding effect.

Adding layers in different shades of silver.

Until I aheived the effect that I wanted.

The Blade was then fixed to an ash pole. I still got it in my studio.

I once handed this axe to someone, who was visibly surprised that it wasn't heavy, so I think I can say it worked...

Until next time


Saturday 21 January 2023

Hunk In Towel


Here is a coloured pencil drawing from my sketchbook

Until next time


Wednesday 18 January 2023

Making The Spear


I made my own costume for the Group Green set, but I also made some of Teddy's costume.

Teddy's character was meant to be carrying ( amongst other items) a spear with a vitreous head.

As 'Vitreous' means 'glass-like', I decided to try casting one in resin.

I had never done this before, but looked it up on line and bought the requisite kit.

First, I made a model from card, papier mache and gesso.

I then made a box and suspended the model in the activated silicone mixture.

Once this had set, I cut it in half and removed the model. I then strapped the mould closed with duck tape and tried to caste a blade.

Unfortunately, I used slightly too little resin and the blade came out with a truncated shaft.

I tried to caste a second blade. This time with an opaque resin.

This came out better and I experimented with painting it with opalescent acrylics. I also tried adding a base to the first blade with miliput.

This seemed to be successful and I was able to carve into the milliput and paint it to look like bronze.

I still decided to have another go with the more glass-like resin , ordered some more and caste the third blade.

After due consideration, I decided that the bronze-based head worked best and fixed it to the ash spear shaft once we got to the con.

I did, however, bring the other two blades with me- just in case.

It turned out to be lucky that I did, as the bronze blade shattered unexpectedly during a rehearsal.

We tried every conceivable glue to try to fix it and it seemed to have worked, but it broke again as we waited to go on and we had to hastily replace it with the last one I caste.

This made it through the performance, but must have broken later, as I only have the opaque blade left now as a memento.

So, now I know. If I have to do something similar, I will get extra resin and caste five or six blades-to allow for unexpected breakages.

Until next time



Saturday 14 January 2023



Some time ago I posted about a coloured pencil drawing of my ball-jointed doll Yoshitsune dressed in Napoleonic kit on a motorcycle.

I have always liked the work of the painter David and recently found a picture of his famous painting 'Napoleon Crossing The Alps'.

My mind drew me a picture of Napoleon's horse replaced by a motorbike...and that set me thinking...

I have just completed this painting. It is painted and airbrushed in acrylic (A4 size).

This is called ' Napoleon Crossing The Tartarus Montes'

I am very happy with the way this has worked.

Unsurprisingly, it took quite a lot of time and patience to reproduce the figure of Napoleon (especially, as I was working much smaller than the original painting). Indeed, I  ended up using the stand  magnifying glass I usually use for small illuminations whilst working on the face.

The original painting has Napoleon wearing a bright scarlet cloak, set of marvellously by the lowering dark brownish clouds of a turbulent sky.

As I had changed the setting to Mars with a more red-based sky, I also had to change the colour of the cloak to maintain its impact.  Remembering my colour theory, I therefore picked the complementary colour, light blue.

It took quite a bit of time getting the swirls and folds to look right in the new colour.

I quickly rejected the motorcycle idea. I could have had him doing wheelie, but I decided that was a little too silly...

So, robot horse- but Steam Punk...

I am particularly pleased with the replacement of the wind-whipped tail of the original with the plume of exhaust.

I also changed the canon being lugged up the mountain in the background to a Steam Punk ray-canon.
Finally, David's original has Bonapart's name incised in the rock next to that of Charlamagne (Carolus Magnus). I thought that it was appropriate in the new circumstances to change the latter name to ,,, John Carter.

From concept to completion ,I think this has worked out rather well.

Until next time


Wednesday 11 January 2023

Worldcon Group Green Set


I have been occasionally blogging about the 2019 Dublin Worldcon set,  Group Green.

Here is a picture of the full group ( photo by Andy Trembley. Used with permission).

Until next time


Saturday 7 January 2023

Landscape of the Past


I sometimes go through my old paintings and portfolios, as I occasionally discard old work if it is no longer relevant.

I also encounter old work that is still interesting.

This piece still resonates, as it is both a constructed landscape and has a link to my 'letting my subconscious out for jog' works.

It's main feature is from a sculpture by Epstine, but the painting was constructed using a mixture of collage and acrylic painting, with elements being added and/or painted out/over.

The rocky lanscape is also reminiscent of works by Salvador Dali.

Until next time


Wednesday 4 January 2023

Worldcon Group Green


Happy New Year.

Teddy and I took part in a costume set for the 2019 Worldcon in Dublin.

The set was based on the Saga of the Exiles by Julian May.

I have previously posted about my costume( all my own work)

Teddy's character had elected to be sent back in time dressed as  his idea of a Viking.

From the description in the book we deduced that this was a very 1970's idea of what Vikings looked like.

The description even included a pre-Viking Scandinavia helmet.

This is how it turned out.

The photo is by Andy Trembley ( used with permission).

I made the leather collar and the broad belt. These are decorated with brass and amber studs.

I also made the vitrious spearhead, which was my first attempt at casting in resin. .

Finally, I made the great axe.

I still think that one of the most impressive things about this costume was the beard.

Teddy is clean shaven. The beard was applied, piece by piece, to his face by one of the other members of the set ( who had learnt the method when doing a Discworld dwarf set).

It was so convincing that one of the judges thought it was a real beard.

There were a couple of Viking re-enactors in the audience. They came to find us afterwards and one of them said: 'Authenticity be damned, that was what a Viking should look like!'

I may post again about the making of the leather work and weapons.

Until next time