Nine months ago I set myself a task, no ordinary task though, I was going to recreate the streets of Victorian London. In miniature, in my studio, in six square feet of space. Looking back it was absolute madness to think about it, how on earth was I going to do it, not only that but I wanted to populate it with Lost Impossimals too.
This morning I put the final brushstrokes to the last painting, it joins an army of preparatory work including charcoal and oil sketches, plein air studies and miniatures all used to build up the final imagery and to create Bloodlines, the second part of the Lost Impossimals. In my diary I noted that the model making alone had taken up nearly six weeks of the nine months so I thought today I would have a flick through some of the more unusual things I created.
Above is the first scene I built, it’s a four foot street with two storey buildings and a viaduct at the end, primarily this was to be the setting for a showdown between the Sherlock Sidewinder and its greatest adversary. To make it all look real I needed to light it correctly as the encounter was to take place at night.
So I built several lighting rigs from old batteries, bulbs and in this case wood and screws for the terminals. These were used in mock lamp posts to cast light and shadows.
The lighting rig remained in use as I continued to build with my version of a fortune telling machine created using a shoebox and an old picture frame. Another prop for another painting.
By the time I had reached model number twelve I had started to become a little more ambitious, this one had forty objects created for it, all part of a Victorian picnic spread out on a striped blanket.
But it was nothing compared to the next model which combined the history of the Magic Circle with flying false teeth, guillotenes, mirrors made out of silver foil and a peculiar puzzle box sat on a table.
Just when I thought I couldn’t push it any further I decided to build Big Ben, the sculpture was around two foot tall made out of sturdy card, it had to be as it had to withstand a plasticine Impossimal weighing a couple of pounds in weight. The model was used to get the correct angle and perspective, I then used photographs to work out all the detailing. The image above shows the working out of all the angles and perspectives and was probably one of the most difficult to paint, Big Ben took a week to get right before I could start on the rest of it.
Constructing a Victorian kitchen was aided by watching a program from the 70’s called simply the Victorian Kitchen, a gentle romp through the duties of cook and gardener working to supply a grand house with food throught the year. The range is based on a common design whilst the other furniture was created to scale to fit in. The beauty of using sets is the ability to move the camera around to find new angles with which to capture adding a more dynamic approach.
Finally the Victorian Sweetshop and street, I left the best till last, this was to be lit from the left and from the inside of the Sweetshop to create multiple shadows and light sources. Three days to model, three weeks to paint.
So that’s it, all done. Each painting has been carefully created to give you a glimpse into a different world, a world that looks real because in effect it has been painted from real life. Over three hundred objects are contained in the paintings covering stories involving baking, thrifty living, retro sweets, chocolate, the magic circle, murder mysteries, board games, money, time, picnics, candy crush and much more with nods to Bram Stoker, Roald Dahl, Mary Berry, Mrs Beeton, Arthur Conan Doyle and many more along the way, that is just the tip of the iceberg though. Codes, hidden object games and connections through pieces and their contents adds a new puzzle level whilst the inclusion of dynamic under painting and natural light finishing will make them reveal even more after dark.
In essence Bloodlines is a world that existed with stories that will twist your reality to the extreme, you get to peek through it’s windows this September.
I hope you are ready.