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Big Benned

I have just spent two days absolutely brain dead, no ideas, no creative thoughts whatsoever that it started to get more than a little worrying. Eventually I came to the conclusion that the last six months workload had contributed to the moment along with my last Lost Impossimal painting, Big Ben.

It was a tall order, make Big Ben from cardboard, place it in a scene with an Impossimal and paint it in the traditional style of the turn of the century 1900. Boy, did it take some doing.

First the construction of Big Ben. I had no detailed scale to work to so employed my old architect skills and used measurements from photographs to come up with a rough proportion shape which I fashioned out of an old cardboard box for rigidity. You can see the construction lines above. This was then placed in my scene and I started work on the plasticine Impossimal that was going to feature in it. The whole process took three days to model, adjust, strengthen when it collapsed, model again and finally photograph ready for the next process, transferring all that work onto a prepared board for painting.

I’d like to say it was painless but actually it was far from it. The angle I wished to work at used multiple vanishing points, all of which had to be adjusted to account for the inaccuracy of my model, further more my Impossimal had real hands so using photographs of my own these had to be worked in to grip on to Big Ben in the right places.

Getting the brickwork looking Big Ben’ish was cruicial, this was the first stage of a nine day painting process on the clock that took into account all the detail before I painted over the top of it in places with my Lost Impossimal. Every aspect was checked and the painting turned upside down occasionally to look for errors.

Eventually I made it to the clock face and decoration, another days work using a mapping system I learned many years ago when surveying a road network.

It paid dividends, here’s the first face halfway through the detailing, already it’s looking rather accurate.

Four weeks from start to finish, joining nine others raring to go. Only they will have to wait a while longer. Two more to paint over the next two months then I start on tying up all the links between the items in the paintings and rewriting the stories accordingly. Then and only then will I start to build the final document that will form Bloodline, a story of household items, a surprising chain of historical events, nostalgia, horror and ultimately murder. I can’t wait!


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