The Art and Ghosts Circus are recruiting. (please see my profile for details of application). We do this every autumn. Autumn is when we come alive. That said, we already have a small number of new performers and friends that i would like to present to you this evening.
I decided to do away with props, backgrounds, the extraneous details, and even colour in some of these new images. I wanted to concentrate on the characters themselves, with a possible view to incorporating them into new scenes in the future. Muted hues and only the barest of details; this is the closest i get to actual drawing or painting (digitally, of course), working into the faces, expressions, hairstyling, etc. I had a lot of fun with these pictures! I literally had to get up and dance around the room, laughing out loud during the creation of some of them.......particularly the new Proud Sally outing, the Harpy, and a delightfully silly portrait of my friend Maren's cat, Milou....
Yes, Proud Sally, this time playing the role of Marie Antoinette. You may have heard of her ever-so-lofty film aspirations before, particularly her debut, but this is her all-time favourite part, her dream role, so to speak. Have you ever seen a more dignified portrait of an anomaly? Perhaps you have, but please don't tell her that, she is proud after all.....
Sadly, she could not be persuaded to have her hair 'done' Antoinette style. She is almost frighteningly particular about the elegant positioning of her ears.
She's my new favourite.
I had great difficulty deciding upon hairstyles for this little madam, but i dare say that was 90% part of the fun. I finally settled for this curious little number, but i cannot tell you why; i think the incongruity of the hair flowing forwards kind of swung it for me. She is the masked somnambulist, nowhere near as sinister as the Dr Caligari variety, but far, far more mischievous.
I actually prefer some of these images without the distraction of backgrounds. I see them as a sort of sketchbook, of ideas, portraits of characters that might go on to perform in future works. Like Sally.
The Somnambulist is one of the more silent members of the Art and Ghosts Circus. She doesn't care very much for the company of the other circus members, or even our infamous Twilight Tea Parties. She much prefers to sit alone of an evening, playing with her cardboard cut-out shadow puppets by the light of a solitary candle, listening to the radio or the shipping forecast . A bit like myself, come to think of it.....apart from the shipping forecast part.
Polar Girl thrives on the cold.
Please don't pity her condition, she is likely the most content polar-anomaly this side of the north pole. She is one of our sweetest new members, too. A warm, generous, lovely little thing, and a rather gifted storyteller. Since joining us, she has helped to curb the habitual bedtime naughtiness of our younger circus members by lulling them to sleep with her magical, warmhearted stories....tales of lost and found princesses and of hero's who journey across wild, raging seas just to comb the hair of their sweethearts in lost lands.
She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in surreal folklore.
My unicorn child. Something like a cross between Bacchus and Pan, perhaps, but a little girl...not your average wood sprite. But i love her. Her creation was fraught with difficulties, particularly her legs ( i practically recreated the entirety of that cursed unicorn body with a digital pen and a rather wonky expedition with the smudge tool - best if you don't hear the details).
Another new circus recruit. Shy, conceited, just a touch. She also plays the pan pipes extraordinarily well. Some of the younger members are a little jealous of her, they have taken to tweaking their noses in imitation of her apparent snobbery whenever she passes by. Even her name is suspiciously snooty, the younger ones insist. I am hoping that she will integrate, eventually, join in with their more frivolous games, share those precious peppermint flavoured bon-bons....you know.
Our very first Siamese sisters.
Meet the Emilia's. It may surprise you to hear that they are our most gifted of all performers, especially on the trapeze (The Art and Ghosts trapeze being renowned for its 'mysterious' ropes, which are reputedly suspended from thin air. Many have tried to debunk this 'myth', but to no avail, it is yet to be proved that anything is holding the ropes up at all...excepting the sheer mind power of the performers, but nobody likes to think about that one for too long).
The Emilia's are both Aries, born at the full moon... on a Tuesday i think it was. They have a great fondness for Regency furniture, fancy ribbons, papery ephemera and costume jewellery, all of which adorn the entire interior of their rather spacious, seven-cornered caravan. This particular caravan suffers from a somewhat poorly documented malady referred to (in magical circles only) as the occasional dubious enchantment - put simply, it was presented to the Emilia's as a gift from their maternal grandfather, The Weird Whistling Warlock.
A snippet of circus history:
This particular warlock was one of the greatest, most expensive circus performers of the last century. His speciality act involved separating the butter from freshly toasted crumpets with mind power alone. In private, The Whistling Warlock was a lovelorn, rather miserable old man, whose preferred mode of relaxation involved hexing the caravans of his fellow circus performers...... particularly those who possessed a beautiful wife and several healthy children. The Whistling Warlock's first and only wife had mysteriously disappeared in 1931. That very same year, a rather handsome young man known as The Flying Fox had caused a sensation all through the West Country with his daring renditions of the Dorset Jig (The dorset Jig is quite unlike the Irish Jig. It is also known to be hazardous to the ankles). The Whistling Warlock's first and only wife was last seen stumbling through a moonlit wood at half past two in the morning, laughing out loud at something just a few feet ahead of her that nobody else could see. (Although further reports suggested that whatever the nature of the invisible entity that had accompanied the Whistling Warlock's first and only wife through the moonlit wood, it had a curious habit of falling into the shrubbery at intervals like a man who had partaken of a few too many ales. Either that, or it was suffering from the preliminary stages of the Dorset Jig Ankle)
The mystery remains unsolved, but the Emilia's inherited their elaborately embellished home-from-home with this one and only drawback; said caravan still wears the evidence of a hex-gone-wrong, namely, a backfired spell. The Whistling Warlock was a genius with crumpets, but somewhat shoddy with the execution of practical magic. Nowadays, the sisters are quite used to the curious, changeable behaviour of their inheritance, but the seven-cornered caravan has a disconcerting habit of turning into a seven-and-a-half-cornered caravan whenever there is a sudden drop in temperature. Love or loathe the winter months, the Emilia's do find it all quite tiresome if truth be told.
Enjoy your weekend!
Oh, and i absolutely love Dorset.
I want to go and live there, but i shan't.
Get acquainted with all manner of English and Cornish (West Country) folklore....here.