Dr Sketchy: Steampunk IV – windswept

The Victoria pub sits on a bend in the road.  The wind is channelled straight to the front door by the elevated highway running alongside.  Sitting outside the pub were hardened smokers, plus the two of us having a drink and warming up to draw, and the Dr Sketchy’s performers posing for photographs before the show.

My sketch, drawn between gusts, is not very good, offers a poor likeness and will cause me some grief for posting it here.

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My second drawing was from the imagination, starting with random doodles.  There is a bit of punk but little steam about this picture.

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Dr Sketchy’s: Steampunk II

This house was made for happier times, with wide windows looking onto landscaped gardens. The walled terraces, the tromp d’oeil, the stone grotesques and the hedged maze all obscure direct vision and advantage that which hunts by smell.

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Twice we have been saved by the Duchess’ toys and eccentric hobbies. The cracked fogged lenses of her eyeglasses give clear sight of what is true and in that way we recognised and repelled the thirteenth guest while twelve of us yet lived. Concluding the last assault, the copper wires round the spinning lodestone powered a crackling energy that caught the creature between hindquarters and tail and held it off the ground, howling, outlined in sparks while its bones glowed green. When it fell, it scarpered on two legs, shouting curses as he went. That has given us brief respite, until the waxing moon gives him again its predatory shape. But we must keep the contraption continually charged, and coal for the steam pump is nigh exhausted.

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The Duchess has taken up her cross, its stock made of tensioned hawthorn, the bow seeming spun of fine black metal, the string she says is maidens’ hair, and the bolts are bone. We, she has drilled as a hunting party and equipped from her eclectic store. We have swords and silver stilletos, and wide bore muskets loaded with exotic shot. The curate offered to bless water to load into cartridges. She cursed him for a fool and he sulked, became neglectful and so was taken.

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I count myself a brave man. I have revelled in pain and see my own death as but a stepping stone.     But tonight my mouth is dry and my bowels are loosed, my heart is rattling its cage. I do not know what frightens me more, the horror outside, or the quiet exaltation of the Duchess as she prepares to meet it.

 

Credits

Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, The Victoria, Birmingham.  24th September 2016

The Duchess – Rebecca Thompson

The Veteran – Trampy Holford

Dr Sketchy’s: Steampunk I

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This is not real but is the fantasy of the hysterical mind.  There are treatments: electrocution, laudanum and, failing all, arsenic.

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Dr Sketchy’s, Victoria pub, Birmingham 24th September.  Ten minute poses by the wonderful and astounding Time Healers, Joanne Hemlock Wenlock and Richildis Mary Tonks.

The Ribs

The idea for this image clearly has its origins in China Mielville’s steampunk masterpiece, Perdido Street Station.

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In my imagining, an urban density of neon-lit blocks and dwellings, surmounted by a tall temple’s spire, has risen beneath the gigantic fossilised skeleton of an ancient beast.

So this image does not truly depict Mielville’s vast diverse metropolis, New Crobuzon. where the Ribs jut over Bonetown, a makeshift market of temporary stalls, with scanty brick buildings and abandoned lots edging dirty scrubland. Tools break and cement remains fluid.  A baleful influence from the gigantic half-exhumed bones limits development on the gravesite.

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This piece started as an A1 size memory of the fallen tree in backlit woodland, drawn in chalk pastel, washed and blotted.  Seeking to further disintegrate it, it was wetted and covered in inks and white gouache.  Weeks later, I drew the Ribs into the dried-dark image in oil pastel and painted onto this resist with diluted white acrylic.  This still exists in that form, awaiting further work. I took a digital image and explored future directions of travel on the iPad in ArtRage.