Eldritch Elf: 10 XII 18

The weather in Innsmouth is pretty soupy. The locals like it that way.

Our humble public house, a subtle fluorescent glow emanating from around the door…

Whoa. Ugly brown stains. These were done with ink.

And green stains, too. I used enamels for these.

I’m quite pleased with the patinated bronze. You can perhaps see I added an optically impossible shift toward more and brighter patina on the portion of the lamp that points away from the viewer & scene.

~

All these strange visual tricks & mixed styles hopefully help create an interesting piece with a Lovecraftian feel. You can see the light effects on the door (which could definitely be better) are sketched in as if with a pencil, the slime in the street is painted like a cartoon, the enamels themselves are applied fairly naturalistically (though what’s underneath is unrealistic), and the whole thing is rigged for fluorescent illumination.

These kinds of quick & crazy projects offer great opportunities to throw yourself into new techniques (and make up your own) and try your best to capture a mood, an insight, a joke, or whatever.

And we’ll leave it there for tonight. See you soon.

Textual Innuendo

When I create something like the Gilman House, my first step and constant reference is the actual text I’m recreating.

We learn in ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth‘ that Gilman House is yellow, the buildings are made of brick, the street is cobblestone, and the sign for the hotel is “half-effaced.”

I’ve split the difference between the color and the bricks, as I intend to do some enamel or ink weathering on the plaster. Always looks good.

~

Lovecraft has been a favorite of mine and an influence upon my thinking since high school (I turn 38 tomorrow). I can remember my terror walking down a dark empty hallway after bingeing on him for the first time. It was ‘Pickman’s Model‘ that did it!

I’m also a bibliophile.

H.P. Lovecraft died in 1937, penniless and largely ignored outside of pulp fiction circles. Most of his income he earned from ghostwriting for others, while many of his own classics initially hit the ground with a thud.

Upon his death, Lovecraft’s acolyte August Derleth attempted to find a publisher for the master’s work, but found no takers. He therefore started up Arkham House Press to issue Lovecraft’s work and that of other weird authors (including Derleth). Arkham House issued books by many great writers, including Ray Bradbury, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, and others.

They also tended to feature awesome covers!

Here is a collection of Lovecraft’s poetry, including ‘Fungi from Yuggoth.’

Frank Utpatel illustrated many Arkham House volumes, and he signed this one.

Here’s the gem of the bunch.

Derleth often posthumously ‘collaborated’ with Lovecraft, completing manuscripts of varying completeness & quality and publishing them as finished works.

Derleth takes a lot of sh*t for this, especially from self-appointed Lovecraft gatekeeper S.T. Joshi. Like Derleth, Joshi deserves a lot of credit for moving Lovecraft out of the literary shade, but, like Derleth, he can get a little possessive of his darling.

It’s true that Derleth added a binary and explicit morality that Lovecraft’s fiction absolutely denies, but without him it’s unlikely Lovecraft would have endured as he has.

This copy of ‘The Survivor’ was signed by Derleth when the seller visited him in Wisconsin decades ago.

It’s unlikely I’ll ever get ahold of ‘The Outside & Others,’ the original 1939 collection with which Derleth launched Arkham House, but these little treasures mean a lot to me.

Thanks for taking a look!

Weekend Elf: 9 XII 18

Lots of painting today brings an enormous update. This was as fun a day as you can have inside on a cold day!

Your wife loves you. She supports your hobbies. Also, cats make good sources of magicians’ wards.

NO. NEVER SIDE BY SIDE.

Undercoats. This is almost wash consistency. Treat it like a watercolor.

The joy of toothpicks. They’ll help us do some quick paint chipping with foam.

I’m starting to block in colors and develop light effects, which will be a major feature of the piece.

Now that’s a big brush!

Almost looks inviting…

Bricks.

Yellow paint on the plaster.

Sketching light effects on the door.

I’m trying to create interesting viewing angles with dramatic effects.

I’m very pleased with this gross stuff down in between the cobblestones.

Ew.

Sort of weird looking, isn’t it?

You should see it at night! What are those creepy locals getting up to in there?

~

This was so much fun. No time for doubt. Lots of great music. Go!

I’m really happy with the progress I made today. Much less worried about getting it out on time.

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

Ok, fifth post of my Saturday. Little bursts of productivity throughout the day have produced great progress and we’ve reached our goal of priming tonight!

You can can the lamp post overhangs the square ‘edge’ of the piece, and that the brickwork above breaks the upper limit.

These little violations of space I love to incorporate into my pieces – especially in a Lovecraftian context, where distortion of this sort is expected!

You’ll see that the angle of the wall to the cube is very narrow. I want the ‘main’ view from the front to look almost straight, but not quite, and I want to leave a large lonely space in front of the door.

I love creating little tiny slivers of buildings like this. They’re so much more interesting than just slapping a wall on the back flush with the scene. To me the illusion is dramatically improved. It’s worth the trouble of building it, I think.

I talked a few posts back about balancing control and chaos in this sort of creative effort. This is a good example of where deliberate deviations from ‘true’ create an engaging illusion of a worn in place with a history of its own. The low fidelity methods of construction help this, too.

Ready for the next stage!

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

We’ll glue on some of the Green Stuff items we made the other day.

I actually used super glue to secure the mushrooms at the base of the doorjam. The layers of dried wood glue have created a barrier between the foam & the glue that allows me to use the right glue for the job.

It’s fiddly work. Super fiddly. You pretty much have to use a pair of silicone tweezers for some of it. They don’t adhere at all to tiny pieces and they spring apart when you release pressure. Great tools. Sometimes you have to paint a dot of glue on with a toothpick and use a moistened toothpick to pick up the tiny mushroom. They’re fragile and won’t survive a serious blow, but they’re tucked away (relatively) safely at the base of the wall. Once the super glue was dry I put yet another layer of thinned wood glue over everything, taking care to work glue into all the joins between foam & other materials.

Here is the door behind the standard unit of miniature measurement, the tactical space marine.

I’ve been drying the wood glue on the heating register to speed it up. Hopefully I’ll be able to throw some primer onto this tonight and begin actually painting tomorrow. I’ve imposed a deadline on my self of Saturday a week from today. It has to travel across the globe and it is to arrive on the Solstice, which falls on the the 21st. I should have enough time, but my schedule is fragile. Perhaps Yog Sothoth can keep open a time portal for me. Whatever that means.

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

Cranking along. I’m hoping to get this primed & ready to paint by the end of the weekend. End of the day would be better, but we’ll see how long it takes to get it adequately clad in glue.

Making a sign from styrene.

Sticking the sign on. Pressing the sign into the foam (cut around the edge where the foam is high so you can compress it straight down) allowed you to bridge the levels of relief. Now we can see that the sign was once mounted in the plaster, but that now the fallen plaster has exposed most of the bricks. We’ll use these elements to tie into Lovecraft’s text.

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

Elf’s are busy this time of year, and never more so than Saturday morning before their babies wake.

We need a lamp on this scene.

Lamps! These are from Wyrd. I’m cutting one down to hang from a sconce rather than placing the whole post on the street.

Best way to nice flat ends on little tiny bits that I’ve found is to sand it. Here’s the sander I love. This one’s a medium grit, but I have a fine on order.

Doohickey to hold the lamp and a good stout metal pin to keep it in place. Gotta build them as sturdy as you can or there’s you’re setting yourself up for major disappointment later.

This has to be wood-glued into place. You can build up enough of a shell on the outside, but the pin will be in direct contact with the foam. If super glue touches the foam it will eat it, so you must use wood glue. Try to get a good amount of thick glue into the hole, but keep it tidy & tight.

We’ll see how many posts I can put up today!