Dr. John

Here’s my friend and colleague Dr. John Tanacci checking on the still to make sure everything is bubbling away nicely. He came out to the gallery to set up the apparatus and has been a great teacher as I have been bumbling about in the laboratory recreating alchemical experiments that were practiced hundreds of years…

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Roses

I love California’s weather for its kindness to roses – here you can grow plants that will bloom almost all year round, and I’ve often bragged about them to my father on the telephone as he looks out over his rain-swept English garden. Egyptian followers of Horus used the rose as the symbol of the deity, then…

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Gesso

I’ve been laying down lots of gesso today, preparing the tall canvases for painting and getting those spheres that Justice and Temperance are standing upon ready for gold. The two virtues have had at least four thick coats to get rid of the weave of the canvas. Once I no longer see the fabric beneath…

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Amelia’s Feet

                           Amelia’s feet are progressing well, and I’ve added a shadow to the ground to her right so she touches the ground. I added some shadows and details to the rocks, and will continue bringing colour into the surfaces of these stones. I added…

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Headless

The sword is coming along, based on a fabulous samurai sword loaned to me by our lovely costume designer, Lolita Ball, who is simply delightful. The alchemical Queen Amelia looks dramatic and intentional now, having acted to behead the king, now she has to transform herself in order to join the alchemical king in the…

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Temperance chastens

Another layer of zinc white over the shadow work in the wings,  dropping the dark areas back into the white and giving a softer quality to the surface of the feathers. I put the stream of water between the bottles in, which was tricky, because I wanted to get this umbilical twisting to the fluid…

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Face and Hand

I worked on defining the features of the face first, using the Prussian blue to draw edges and shadows around the eyes, nose and mouth. Having defined the features I added some pinks and reds around the mouth in particular, but also a few touches around the nostrils and the corners of the eyes, to…

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Face

Amelia’s face got the attention it has waited for, and I’m pleased with the way it’s going. She’s going to look great now. I’ll let this layer dry thoroughly then continue laying down the layers of the flesh over this much improved base layer. She’s ghostly white right now, and will get more solid flesh…

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Rock salt

I added a layer of zinc white to the rocks. Zinc is a very transparent white, so it’s great for jobs like this, where I want to keep the colour and texture beneath it coming through. With the remaining paint I added a knifed layer to the Justice painting, which is now nicely textured. The…

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Reworked jacket, sky and stone

Amelia is developing well. My ideas are changing all the time at the moment, and I’m really enjoying the developments. Having painted the sky in, I got into the next unifying layer of raw sienna over the landscape, and added some of the sky’s Prussian into the yellowy paint, making a very pleasant green layer…

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