Friday, 16 January 2015

Melancholia III, part I: On Holloways and Harrowed Paths

I have been re-reading Dan Abnett’s excellent Pariah and was once again struck by one of the great concepts appearing in the book. A concept, which in turn have inspired me to begin my third Melancholia project and a further exploration into the ‘anatomy of melancholy’:

In Pariah the city of Queen Mab is criss-crossed with an irregular scheme of holloways and harrowed paths, which, according to Abnett, are sacred ways, streets of the vast city that are distinguished because they felt the actual step of Saint Orphaeus when he trod upon its world during his pilgrimage of grace many centuries before the story unfolds (Abnett, 2012).



The concept may have been inspired by Abnett’s own surroundings in Kent. Here long distance pathways like the North Downs Way and the Pilgrims Way between Winchester and Canterbury run along the chalk ridgeways of the high hills. In some places the ridgeways are linked to the lower levels of the river valleys by sunken lanes and holloways that are routes where footsteps over thousands of years of pilgrimage have worn a passage into the soft chalk. 


In the words of Abnett’s peer Robert Macfarlane in his beautiful book Holloway, which coincidentally was published in 2012 – the same year as Abnett’s Pariah – a holloway is:

A sunken path, a deep & shady lane. A route that centuries of foot-fall, hoof-hit, wheel-roll & rain-run have harrowed into the land. A track worn down by the traffic of ages & the fretting of water […] They are landmarks that speak of habit rather than suddenness. Like creases in the hand, or the wear of the stone sill of a doorstep or stair, they are the result of repeated human actions.  (Macfarlane, 2012)

In Queen Mab the holloways are silent and dusty, almost all colour gone and flaked, sanded down by centuries of weather. They are home to the destitute and the warblind (Abnett, 2012). Macfarlane echoes this description when he in Holloway describe some holloways also as ‘fearways, danger-ways, coffin-paths, corpse-ways and ghostways.’ (Macfarlane, 2012) 


Many of those that have walked such old ways have experienced them as places within which one might slip back out of the ordinary world and within which ghosts softly flock. For some, walking them is a wordless conversation between ghosts and ghosts-to-be

In Melancholia III I will try to convey this - and that some certain old paths are linear only in a simple sense. That some paths are echospaces where past and present - like trees - have branches and - like rivers - have tributaries. That some paths, in the strikingly beautiful words of Macfarlane, are:

[…] rifts within which time might exist as pure surface, prone to recapitulation & rhyme, weird morphologies, uncanny doublings. (Macfarlane, 2012)

Where Melancholia I and Melancholia II were about sight and sound respectively Melancholia III will be all about warblindness and otherworldly, treecovered silence!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Sanctioned One

What was intended as a last post of 2014 has become the first post of 2015: My third project of the year, which was initiated while preparing for a Golden Demon many moons ago. Back then I was struck by the amazingly vibrant and atmospheric sketches by John Blanche of inquisitor characters roaming the dystopian worlds of the Imperium of Man. In his sketches these characters became weathered in the truest sense of the word - depicting not only the characters but also, and maybe even more so, the worlds they inhabit.
 
Together with Dan Abnett's ongoing series of Eisenhorn, Ravenor and Bequin, which I truly enjoy reading, The Inquisitor Sketchbook by John Blanche has been and still is one of the most important and inspirational publications in my small collection of Games Workshop/Black Library Publications. 

Not only does it give shape to Ressurectionists, Adeptus Mechanicus Cultists, Rogue Traders, Whip Mistresses, Witch Seekers, Sidith Priests, Fire Redemptionists, Chrono Gladiators and Lex Mechanics but it also sparked my imagination and in turn the initiation of my two recently finished Melancholia projects as well as Melancholia III, which is on its way.

During my ongoing process of rediscovery in 2014 I decided to finish the important works I never got around to finish before disappearing into the boreal many moons ago. Many of them have been well hidden for almost a decade but have now resurfaced and are seeing final work done to them. My Cabinet of Wonders is slowly expanding.

My recently finished version of a Sanctioned Bounty Hunter was inspired by a Blanche sketch depicting a Sanctioned Alien Bounty Hunter appearing in his sketchbook. It was intended to be part of a Golden Demon entry a decade ago. This made 2014 a ten year jubilee of sorts and a good year to finish it and in the process give homage to the great and creative artist that was the inspiration behind it.


Furthermore, it is a proper first post of 2015 as it fits very well into the theme of FPOA by showing that the divine light of the Emperor works in truly mysterious ways;

In this case making a hunter of the hunted...

His chains of enslavement are broken and he is standing aloof some shattered remains of his foes. Apart from a lot of added small details like the inquisition seal of sanctioned enlistement, personal totems and various Imperial insignia showing The Sanctioned One's devotion to the cause, he is wielding two slightly altered hunting rifles from his home world, various types of purity seals and handcrafted Xeno bullets. Also he is being assisted by a specially crafted Servo Skull intented to search out the aliens he is sanctioned to hunt...

...the dreaded Tau!







Friday, 26 December 2014

An Imperial Knight and inspirational reads

Before the end of 2014 I will post my third completed miniature of 2014: An Imperial relic from the past originally built as part of a Golden Demon entry in 2004 and now, a decade later, found and finished - and part of my (luckily) growing Cabinet of Wonders. 

But before that I will wish you all a great holiday and, with two small things to share, thank you for hanging on to FPOA:

First of all one of my favourite treats of this December has been the Christmas Countdown over at Miniatextures by the ever-so-talented Jakob Rune Nielsen. It was a pleasure to follow his journey of finishing an Imperial Knight in 24 days - and even though the result is a true beauty it is the experimentation and testing of new colours and techniques, which I really want to compliment.

Secondly I have been re-reading Dan Abnett's brilliant Pariah and Perihelion on the recommendable Alizabeth Bequin and the continued journeys of Gregor Eisenhorn and Gideon Ravenor: A re-reading which has inspired me to begin a third Melancholia piece, which I look forward to share with you in 2015!


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Ravens gathering!

After a year of wandering, in solitude, tired and weary, among rooks and ravens in the shadows of dark Northern forests, I have found my way home to the dimly lit hallways of FPOA...at least for a while as I will most likely loose myself in the boreal once again.

From craggy and pinecovered fells I have brought with me a small but precious - for me at least - collection of relics, which have been lost for many moons. The first two, Melancholia I and II, are in many ways thought of as a pair. They are beacons of sight and sound, now found and finished:

Melancholia I has been inspired by a hauntingly beautiful painting by Caspar David Friedrich from 1818 of a wanderer lost in a sea of fog. It depicts an Imperial Navigator from the Navis Nobilite (thank you Krautscientist for clarifying) and his servants on their way through the vast expanses of a wartorn galaxy. The Navigator himself is centuries old, tall, thin and pale. His assistants, a burdened, crippled and hunchbacked servant and a blindfolded cherub. Apparently none of them can see, blind or blindfolded as they are - lost in a sea of fog

Together they make up a small entourage fitting the theme of FPOA eloquently balancing as they are between the visible and invisible worlds of the darkness of the Warp and the light of the God Emperor. And as I have hinted at in earlier FPOA posts there may - literally - be more than what initially meets the eye.






Melancholia II has been inspired by the weathered, dystopian and deeply sensous paintings of artist extraordinaire John Blanche. It depicts an Ecclesiarchy Echo Priest who himself - albeit only through hissing and analogue sound - has haunted the lost Arkke, a vast Space Hulk aimlessly adrift in a silent and long-forgotten corner of the galaxy. Weathered and beaten.

A hunchbacked servant of the Ecclesiarchy preaching the echoes of a millionstrong choir of dying God Emperor devotees. Echoes which can still be heard as a musical discord, an ambient resonance of prayers past, in the vast soundclouds of the Imperium here.






As my painting skills are rusty to say the least the painting process has been trial and error - experimenting mainly with inks and glazes in order to paint more quickly than I used to in the past. So Melancholia I and II represent my point zero. From here onwards I intend to progress and get both better and faster.

But these relics of the past are not all I bring back with me to FPOA from the cold north: 

First of all there are now several more relics in my Cabinet of Wonders, which I am working on getting finished and look forward to share with you in the hallways of FPOA. All of them are showing that the divine light of the Emperor works in truly mysterious ways - and that there is a fine line between darkness and light in the wartorn galaxy of the 40K universe.

Secondly, one dreary night while stumbling my way back to FPOA through the boreal I caught glimpses of what appeared to be weathered figures twice the size of ordinary men. Soaring among the craggy pines of the fells. Their distant voices were coarse, rasping and leathery. Like archaic drones they bore through the dimly lit forests with a deep and resonant sound of dry parchment, which, like a palimpsest, had several layers of tones intertwined in each other.

What had caught my eyes - and ears - that night in the boreal were ravens gathering!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Vox-com sounds of the Arkke

When I was asked py PDH to take part in the latest Arkke Retour as eloquently presented on The Tears of Istvaan I began working on my Ecclesiarchy Echo Priest. I imagined him being part of a million strong choir spanning star systems echoing the dying voices of uncountable God Emperor devotees. 

The Echo Priest was to be a beacon of holy, hissing, analogue, mechanical, vox-com sound in a silent and forgotten corner of the vast Imperium - the drifting dark hulk of the Arkke.

Sadly I didnt manage to finish the miniature before the event took place in April. 

Instead, as I really wanted to have at least the idea of the Echo Priest present in the Arkke during the game, I managed to pursuade | D R E A M B I E N T | to compose a fitting soundpiece, which PDH played at a certain moment during the game:

Echo Priest Vox-Com Choir

| D R E A M B I E N T | is electronic sound making by composer Martin Darlan Boris, who among other things collaborates with astronomers in the US and Europe. A collaboration I thought was fitting for a game of Warhammer 40K, set as it was, in a dark corner of the galaxy.

I look forward to share with you the finished Echo Priest...until then please do check out some of the other compositions at | D R E A M B I E N T | :

| D R E A M B I E N T |  

:)





Sunday, 17 March 2013

Remember the future!

Since my 2013 New Years Eve post on rooks and walking I have been away from most hobby stuff. I have had to concentrate mostly on family and my work at the Aarhus School of Architecture. 

But during the short life span of FPOA it has become an important place for me to share not only hobby stuff but also the stuff that inspires me as a hobbyist. I get immensely inspired by reading and recently fell upon a beautiful text on Mexican novellist Carlos Fuentes who, in his La gran novela latinoamericana / The Great Latin American Novel (2011), wrote something worth remembering - the future:

Remembering the future. Imagining the past. This is a way of saying that, now that the past is irreversible and the future uncertain, men and women remain alone with the scenery of today if they want to represent the past and the future. The human past is called Memory. The human future is called Desire. Both come together in the present, where we remember, where we yearn [...] We ought to imagine the past so the future, when it arrives, can also be remembered [...] (Fuentes, 2011)

The future of FPOA is uncertain, but I imagine that some of the past pieces already shown will be finished. 

Until then I would love to direct you to a couple of sites that have also been a great source of inspiration for me during the first months of 2013 (you guys probably know them already, but as the guys behind the sites are such great talents they can easily bear repeating):

Tears of Isstvan

Spiky Rat Pack

Take care!

Monday, 31 December 2012

13 rooks

Christmas time has been hectic for me and most of my days have flown by with work, family and other projects. Sadly only a small amount of FPOA time, which means that I am a bit behind on my Melancholia Project and the Ecclesiarchy Echo Priest.

Today, on the last day of the year, I went walking in a local wood with my family. At some point we came to a gathering of 13 empty rooks nests in some tall trees. A very fitting number, which reminded me of a book I am reading at the moment, Wildwood - A Journey Through Trees by late Roger Deakin. He writes of rooks that they in the gaity of their hearts attempt to sing, but with no great success:

Most of the old bird-books attempt some version of 'rude harmony', 'sweet thunder' or 'musical discord', but I prefer to think of their utterances as conversation, or the roughest of folksong. Rooks speak in the strongest of country burrs. They are rasping, leathery, parched, raucous, hoarse, strangled, deep-throated, brawling, plaintive, never reticent and, like all good yokels, incomprehensible. No doubt you could play a dead rook like a bagpipe, all drone and no melody. (Deakin, 2007)

FPOA is partly inspired by Echospace drone and I like the idea of Deakins rook drone. Related as they are. 

I look forward to share with you in 2013 more of my miniature stuff and what is for me closely related to this; weather, music, landscapes, walks.

Take care and all the best for the coming evening. See you next year.