Work in Progress

Damsel in Distress

Posted by sberry on 11 Feb 2024, 11:45

First of all, I want to apologize for being so inactive here for such a long time. Partially, this is due to the recent problems of accessing the forum. And it is not only the login, often even loading the pages does not work.
But the technical problems of the forum don’t explain that I have been also quite lazy at my own workbench – I have not finished a single project in 2023! Nothing, zero, niente. That’s shocking, and it is time to change that. So here comes my first project for 2024.

Let’s call it “Damsel in Distress”: A princess, chained to a rock, with a terrible monster in the waters below her (not shown)…

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…You probably have already recognized what I have in mind here: It is the myth of Perseus & Andromeda that I want to picture in this vignette. The figure to be used as Andromeda will also easily be recognized, it is of course from the Life on the Acropolis set by Atlantic. One of my favorite sets of all time, because of its many uses.

European art history is full of Perseus and Andromeda, in particular the latter one. For instance, last summer during my trip to Copenhagen I encountered this one made from coral at Rosenborg Castle (note the monster at her feet, ain’t it cute?)

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… and a few meters across the street, at the Danish National Gallery, another one in bronze

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And of course, the myth is also tremendously popular among painters, see for instance these examples by Titian (c. 1555):

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Wallace Collection London / Public Domain

or Rubens (c. 1620):

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Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders

All in all, from the Renaissance onward there is a strong preference for showing Andromeda in the nude, while Perseus is depicted in full dress and armor most of the times. This differs quite strongly from the conventions in Antiquity, when it was the other way round in most artworks. See e.g. this wall painting from Pompeii (Casa dei Dioscuri)

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Museo Nazionale Napoli / Public Domain

or this Corinthian vase, 6th cent. BC:

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Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / user BishkekRocks

I love the head of Medusa (?) with its handy carrying handles!
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sberry  Germany
 
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Posted by CliosPaintingBench on 13 Feb 2024, 16:09

Ah, a good start, I can see where the inspiration from the classics come from. Hoping the technical problems don't plague us for much longer haha
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CliosPaintingBench  Australia
 
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Posted by sberry on 13 Feb 2024, 18:51

CliosPaintingBench wrote:Ah, a good start, I can see where the inspiration from the classics come from. Hoping the technical problems don't plague us for much longer haha

Thanks! Well, the problems are definitely not over yet...
The motivation for this project was twofold: First, the inspiration from classics, and second, it is a sort of test-run for the water surface in a future larger project. This small vignette seems good for experiments. Here is the base of the whole thing:

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The surface you see here, with those crudely modelled "waves", will not be the final water surface!
And here we have the first layer of paint:

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Still far from being finished, but with a fitting background, it looks already quite dramatic:

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And of course, we also need a Perseus – and his flying horse Pegasus! They are both from Zvezda 8007 Macedonian Cavalry:

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The wings are “Feathery Wings” by Bad Squiddo Games, originally made for 28 mm fantasy figures, but as they say “This beautiful pair of wings can be used for all manner of conversions. They are listed as 28mm but can of course be used for other scales, depending on how big or small you wish them to be. These can convert any of our miniatures (or those from other manufacturers) into majestic flying....things. Flap flap!” Right they are!
But there still is the problem of getting the flying horse into the air. What I can tell you right now is that I will neither use an “invisible” support of transparent plastic, nor will be there an “invisible” nylon string, as you can frequently see in scenes that involve airplanes.

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sberry  Germany
 
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Posted by Santi Pérez on 13 Feb 2024, 20:36

Mmm, sberry, this project looks very attractive. I will follow it with great interest. And thank you for sharing your sources of inspiration as well. I think these sources are fundamental for all of us when we are going to start a new project. ;-)

Santi.
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Santi Pérez  Spain
 
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Posted by MABO on 17 Feb 2024, 09:30

Looks promising. Good to have you back here with your special ideas. I will follow this.
Concerning the slow Forum: I am in contact with Benno, who has to move from one to another server. He promised to do it in March. I will poke him!!
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Posted by MABO on 17 Feb 2024, 09:36

BTW: For me it will always look like the movie from 1981:

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Lovely Judi Bowker as Andromeda :-D
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Posted by sberry on 18 Feb 2024, 17:49

Thank you, Santi and Mabo! And thanks for reminding me of Clash of the Titans!

Here we have some progress in the painting of the rocks. The monster you can see here is a dummy for demonstration purposes, not the final version!

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And here is the unfortunate Andromeda. The picture from the 1981 movie posted by Mabo, with her parents and a whole crowd of other people present in the scene, accurately reflects the ancient myth as provided by Ovid, but I will focus on the three central players instead. The color of Andromeda’s dress I have chosen in accordance with the Pompeii fresco above, but it is also the traditional color of a Roman bridal dress:

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The color of the water is matched to a photo that I will use later as the background for the photography sessions:

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Here is a first glimpse of the monster Ketos, the real one this time, that is about to devour Andromeda. Note that these are the very first steps of painting, not the final result (my painting skills are limited, but not that limited…):

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This two-part figure of the monster came with its own base, which I will not use.

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I am happy that I found a figure that resembles the snake-/dragon-like appearance of Ketos in most ancient and modern depictions (quite unlike the troll in the 1981 movie). But it’s a pity that I seem to have lost the description and all manufacturer’s info; I have no idea who made it and how it is called. As far as I remember, it must be from some range of 28 mm (?) fantasy figures. If anybody recognizes it, please let me know!
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Posted by MABO on 18 Feb 2024, 20:54

I think in the moment of the sacrifice she would have been alone. :shock:
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Posted by Peter on 22 Feb 2024, 23:10

Wonderful project! And I love the dummy! :-D
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Peter  Belgium

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Posted by Santi Pérez on 22 Feb 2024, 23:37

sberry wrote:...The monster you can see here is a dummy for demonstration purposes, not the final version!...

Thanks for clarifying it, sberry, because I was already thinking that your diorama was going to be cartoonish and that you were going to compete with me in that style, hahaha. :mrgreen:

Santi.
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Santi Pérez  Spain
 
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Posted by sberry on 25 Feb 2024, 09:12

Santi Pérez wrote:Thanks for clarifying it, sberry, because I was already thinking that your diorama was going to be cartoonish and that you were going to compete with me in that style

Dear Santi, nobody can copy your unique style, which is not only cartoonish and very entertaining, but also ultra-precise and clean!

MABO wrote:I think in the moment of the sacrifice she would have been alone. :shock:

Yes, a scene where Andromeda is alone is IMHO more chilling than the circus atmosphere with a whole crowd present (and it also means I have to paint much less figures!).

But there is also another point where I will probably deviate from the version found in Ovid. Before his adventure with Andromeda, Perseus had killed the Gorgon Medusa, whose head can turn anybody (and anything, it seems) into stone. Perseus had this head, the ultimate weapon I would think, with him, but it plays no role in the encounter with Ketos, which he kills in a rather conventional way using his sword. Only afterwards, when Ketos is already dead, Medusa’s head comes into play, turning some seaweeds into stone, which is a sort of explanation for the origin of corals. Rather lame, if you ask me.

But this gives me the excuse to omit the Medusa head altogether from the scene. Actually, I had started a little conversion to create one, but the result is not promising. There are real grandmasters of figure conversions among us at this forum – I am obviously not one of them:

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The figure comes from a Caesar fantasy set (which I bought many years ago simply because I needed skeletons, but that is another story). The snakes are pieces of wire that I bent into shape, heated them with a Bunsen burner (I’m still a chemist after all) and pushed into the plastic head while still hot. This worked surprisingly well, but I still don’t find the result useful.
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sberry  Germany
 
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Posted by Michael Robert on 26 Feb 2024, 19:06

Hello SBerry,
I just love this topic.
The Medusa mask I am not so sure about. Maybe need to see it painted. It could be ugly without snakes sprouting out of it, no?
Greetings
Michael
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Posted by Rich W on 26 Feb 2024, 23:52

Very interesting topic!
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Posted by C M Dodson on 27 Feb 2024, 05:44

Brilliant stuff.

The Greek stories of the Titans, Gods and all involved are fascinating tales that almost defy imagination at times.

I think your snakes were looking quite the part on Medusa’s head.

The Pegasus conversion is inspired .

Best wishes,

Chris

Keep up the good work
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Posted by Susofrick on 27 Feb 2024, 09:08

Good work and quite typical sberry. Very good, even. Been toying with the pegasus idea using some wings from Zvesda's Polish Hussars, but never came to doing anything with them. Looking very much forward to see more of this!
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