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plague doctor

Plague Doctors: The Cardinal

on January 4, 2011 - 9:58am

Figure two in series four.

I've dubbed him "The Cardinal". He doesn't have all of the classic colourings of the aforementioned bird, but the word comes to me every time I look at him.

I've wanted to paint one of those leather hoods bright red for a long time. Especially since I painted that one mask bright red. Makes me feel better now that I have it out of my system.

He has joined his brother in my Etsy shop. (Updated: he has been adopted. Thank you!)

I can't tell if the set of pictures (below) look like a mugshot collection or some sort of record album promo card. I just like how it turned out. He seems to be photogenic with a little dash of cool.

More to come!

They're Coming...

on January 3, 2011 - 11:31am

FINALLY. Series 4 of the Plague Doctors is complete. There are 4 different figures, all holding their hats.

I've been working like mad - without rushing - to get these little beauties finished to coincide with the feature in Rue Morgue Magazine.

Photos have been taken but need to be edited still, which takes an amazingly long time, especially when they all need various specs depending on where I'm posting them.

The plan is to definitely get this one posted here and in the Art Ghoullery (done), and then post him to Etsy. (Updated: he has been adopted. Thank you!)

With this Plague Doctor, I wanted to revisit the white mask on a figure who wasn't wearing a hat. Attempted to create a more traditional mask - perhaps not traditional strictly to Plague Doctors, but in general mask making. Especially since most of the figures coming up are not traditional. In any way. They've certainly taken on a life and will of their own.

As Seen in Rue Morgue Magazine

on December 30, 2010 - 8:33am

Walked into a Chapters store yesterday while celebrating Yetch's birthday. And what should I discover? The January/February issue of Rue Morgue magazine has hit the stores.


We quickly flipped to page 14 and there they were.

I laughed and said "I'm famous!", much to the confusion of fellow shoppers nearby. Ok, so I'm not really famous. I need a word that expresses kinda-sorta-famous-in-a-particular-way. I tried using "fermus" but I'm not sure it will catch on.

I snatched up three copies - one for me, one for a friend, and one for my mother if she can't find it at her local store - and happily carried them to the front cash. The woman behind the desk, as she was ringing them in, said - half stating, half asking - "you have...three of the same issue."

"Yes" I said. "I certainly do."

Now, of course, I just need to finish the next set of Plague Doctors. There are 12 in total at various stages of completion. I expect to have 4 ready by next week.

There is still one left in my Etsy store from a previous series.

Do I need to makes signs for my tables at shows that read "As seen in Rue Morgue Magazine" now? ;)

Clementines and Plague Doctors of Mine

on December 18, 2010 - 6:19am

After a ridiculous set of dreams where I was causing problems in social situations, I woke up at 5:30 am this Saturday morning. I lay still for a while, waiting to see if perhaps it was just a sleep hiccup and if so I might still drift back to dreamland.

No dice.

But that's fine. I was tired of making scenes at important events anyway.

Besides, I had tasks I could accomplish. For example, the night before I had started to make Honey Preserved Clementines. After the initial cooking, you need to set them aside for 8 to 12 hours before putting them in jars. 5:30 was the 9 hour point. It all works out.

I've never made preserved anything before. I'll tell you in a week how it turns out.

Meanwhile, I'll be trying to finish the gaggle of Plague Doctors I've started over the last month. I think they're making Santa and Mrs. Claus a bit nervous. What do you think?

Sunday Sculpting

on December 12, 2010 - 1:46pm

Spent part of the day working on the initial sculpt for some new Plague Doctors. I generally work a bit on one, then work on another one as the first one dries.

I'm glad to start getting faces on these. For a while, with just the base of white clay on their heads, all I kept seeing was the group of seagulls from Finding Nemo. Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!

Christmas Decorations & Big News (99% Confirmed)

on December 7, 2010 - 7:57am

From a grand Halloween display in my office, I moved directly into tackling Christmas decorations in the living and dining rooms.

With the exception of one gift, I am done Christmas shopping.

I have one or two gifts to make, and then I'm free to create. This is important. It will be the first time in months that I will be able to create in an organized space, without distractions of other things I should be doing.

Not only do I look forward to the simple act of getting messy while making some monsters, but it's the last thing on my 'to do' list. In fact, I've been rushing like a mad woman to get the rest of the things done so I can get to creating.

Because you see, I have some news.

It's 99% confirmed. And being a pessimist sometimes, I generally like to keep news to myself until I know the good is going to happen. But I don't think I can keep it a secret any longer, and I don't think I can wait until January.

So here it is.

I'm going to be in the January/February issue of Rue Morgue Magazine.

Well, my Plague Doctors will, in their Needful Things section.

Plague Doctor and a Letter to Ruth

on September 26, 2010 - 8:39pm

Another long overdue post. We'll start with the last Plague Doctor that was sold at Festival of Fear.

Playing around with the texturing on his mask, I ended up giving this fellow an orange/yellow finish which I really liked. I was entertained by how such a warm colour still came across as remarkably dark and sinister, regardless of its bright tones.

I've also started using metallic paints for the eye goggles, and I think this makes such a difference in appearance (not that my earlier versions looked bad, but it certainly adds a new dimension).

I hope to experiment further with different colours in the future.

But now, I have to write about Ruth who adopted one of my earlier Plague Doctors. I've been meaning to email Ruth back for months...that's right, months. And I've felt very guilty about not making the time to do so, especially because her story and comments touched my heart.

Ruth actually got one of my figures as a present. I didn't know how she'd react to it, especially since it turned out Ruth actually works in a field that deals with infectious disease. AND she had been to Italy, and had seen the wonderful Plague Doctor masks made by people with far more skilled hands than I.

Plague Doctor, Ghoulish Gary and Fido

on September 1, 2010 - 5:38pm

If you were following my blog last year during Festival of Fear, you may recall my post where I talked about wanting a certain print from Toronto artist Ghoulish Gary Pullin. Sadly, he didn't have any in 2009. I still walked away with a beautiful Frankenstein print (that looks fantastic framed, by the way), but when you have your heart set on one particular thing, it's hard to let it go.

It was the Fido image I was coveting. Not only is it easily one of my top zombie movies of all time (plus it's Canadian, and it has Billy Connolly as a zombie), but the artwork is stunning. So it should be no surprise that the very first thing I did when my table was set up on Friday was head over to Gary and lay claim to a copy of the print (pictured right).

The surprise (at least to me) came on Saturday. My table was buzzing with people (at the convention it went in waves: it was like you either had no one around or 5 people at once wanting to buy something), and in the middle of packing up an item I look up and see Gary.

No, that's not the surprise.

Festival of Fear Starts Today!

on August 27, 2010 - 8:44am

In about two hours, I am off to Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear, Canada's largest Horror event and part of Hobby Star's FanExpo. I will be at table A24, close to Rue Morgue and the HMV booth.

Hopefully you got your advance tickets and don't have to face the ludicrous lines (it takes a long time to get 50,000 people in and out of an event). If you didn't get advanced tickets or passes, I suggest you attend on Sunday or today (Saturday's line-up last year apparently hit a 5 hour wait, and circled city blocks).

If you follow the blog, be sure to say hello and tell me who you are (and if you post comments using a handle instead of your actual name, be sure to mention it!). Meeting people who know my work is one of the coolest things. As an artist, I live under the assumption that no one has a clue who I am in the real world, and I'm always genuinely shocked when someone does.

Here's a glimpse of one of three new Plague Doctors that's making its debut at the show. I had a little fun with this guy and gave him a telescopic eye, then highlighted it with a metallic copper paint.

Plague Doctor: Last of the Second Set

on July 8, 2010 - 12:56pm

Plague Doctor commission piece by Ghoul Friday
The last figure of this second set was specially made for a friend.

I've enjoyed creating these figures, but there's an added joy when you're making one with someone specific in mind, and you know it's going to a good home.

As an update, half of the figures have already found a home. And to those new owners, I say thank you for your support.

I've plans to make 1 or 2 more sets for Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear next month (time permitting), but they are on the back burner as I focus on other projects (like, for instance, 3 huge peek-a-boo plants that are over a foot tall).

But let's get back to the star of this post.

This is easily my favourite pose yet. The bowed head gives a sense of contemplation, or a false sense of gentility. This changes when the figure is perched above the spectator.

While tidying, I had moved this Plague Doctor to a high shelf. Having the feeling I was being watched while I vacuumed, I looked up. There he was, staring down his beak at me.