I recently blasted out a quick, fun bust of Wilbur Whateley, one of the boogeymen from H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror. Dunwich is my favorite Lovecraft story, despite my fondness for many others. The sense of rural decay, the intimations of cosmic entities, and the academic heroes all strike a chord with me.
I tried to work as much mysterious color into the shadow area as possible, and to sort of smear the bright light into the shadows. In my mind Wilbur is creeping through Orne Library at Miskatonic, hoping to lay illicit hands on the Necronomicon which was denied to him by the administrator of the special collection. A light shining through one of the library windows catches him for a moment, illuminating the swirl of his emotions.
My friend Alessandro Natale put me up to this one. He had me pick a model I was not attached to, then paint it while focusing on a single element of the piece. I had chosen ‘humanity’ as that central element, which was funny when I selected the semi-human Wilbur as my subject! In any event, I had a fun time trying to capture the feelings and character of the villain.
The sculpt is by Oleksandr Bilibov, released by Polaris Minor, and can be purchased at Mr. Lee’s.
I’ve been very productive painting lately, finishing three miniatures since I posted WIP shots of the Norman warrior figure nine days ago. I’m eager to share them all with you, but I am really trying to level up my photography and I’d like to give you higher quality images to enjoy.
Anyway, you can see one of the figures here, hopefully looking a little better than usual.
Lots of time and motivation Sunday afternoon saw my little bust of H.P. Lovecraft to completion. Last year I was pushing to finish my Eldritch Elf gift in time, but this one just sort of blurped itself into existence. I sculpted and painted it in well under a week.
I had an absolute blast on this one. I don’t fall into a perfectionist trap on these projects, and I think the joy of creativity shows through in the final product.
I returned from a wonderful Thanksgiving trip with my family, which included a crackling fire at my parents’ cabin, a nice walk in a dark, quiet forest, and a ton of great food. Upon my return, my miniature Lovecraft was eager for some hair & clothing.
I’m fairly pleased with this result. I obviously have areas that could be improved, but it’s pretty close to my original idea and I learned some things along the way.
I used a mixture of Original Sculpey and Sculpey Firm. I built around a little wad of aluminum foil that I added for bulk and to help in evening out the baking. I baked at least 5 layers into the sculpture without cracking or even browning, which had been a concern.
Stay tuned to watch this little fellow come together!
I’ve got to let my streak of monster drawings lapse because once again it’s time for Eldritch Elf! This is the international gift exchange run by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. I really love this opportunity for creativity and generosity and look forward to it every year. I’ve sent weird little things to England, Argentina, and New Zealand, and this year I’m sending a gift to Sweden.
So far I have most of the work done on a little bust of Lovecraft himself. I still need to add the author’s hair and whatever clothes I think will work best. I haven’t decided yet whether to add tentacles or something explicitly creepy or just play it straight.
We’re out of town celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, so I had to put the sculpture down for a few days. When I return I need to finish off the figure and get it painted. I have an idea of how I want to approach that.
If you’re interested, there are quite a few posts regarding the creation of last year’s Eldritch Elf gift on the site, starting here. You can find the entire series under the Arkham & Environs tab.
Stay tuned for updates as I complete this little guy!
Driving 8.5 hours from Pittsburgh to Connecticut, we broke up the trip by overnighting with my parents midway. I was happy to see these old friends again.
These are over twenty years old. I made them in high school when my imagination was deeply colored by the classic American weird writers Edgar Allen Poe & H.P. Lovecraft. Some classics merit acclaim, or attention, or whatever they merit chiefly due to their influence, but others stand on their own artistic achievement even today.
The urgent and concrete terror both authors can convey in their fiction holds up well to the modern reader. Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart introduced me to psychological horror around age twelve and has stuck with me for the next two and a half decades. The cataclysmic emotional release at the end of the tale demonstrated what a well crafted short story could accomplish. Lovecraft typically paints in dread rather than pandemonium. When I first discovered Lovecraft at fourteen I read (like so many of his protagonists) too much too quickly and ended up scared to walk down the dark hallway at night. I was certain that there were ghouls ready to pounce on me from the shadows!
My ceramics teacher, Jim Shirk, was a supportive mentor and always allowed me to create my own projects rather than follow his syllabus. I can remember the incredible schematic drawings he would spontaneously produce whenever we asked for creative advice and his beautiful, meticulous handwriting. Jim is a wonderful artist who, like me, loves to capture Nature’s beauty in his work. These two sculptures always evoke fond memories of my time learning from him.
There’s little left to do on this fun project. Most important had been the painting of the illuminated portions of the lamp.
My idea was to use pointillism to create a weird but not immediately implausible effect. I wanted the light to look dingy. I also wanted the lamp to function almost like a black hole, sucking most of the light around it into itself. Hopefully the chiaroscuro makes a bit more sense now!