Crests and Bronze

corinthian maquette

Corinthian helmet maquette, air-drying clay, acrylic paint and bristles.

The phalanx steadily amasses! For the next helmet, I wanted to include something to represent the horsehair crests many Greek helms brandished. The crest on the previous maquette was made of clay, which wouldn’t come close to showing how light and shadow would play through the massed fibres. Finding a suitable analogue for horsehair would prove tricky, short of scalping a scrubbing brush.

Which I tried.

With a pair of pliers I trimmed hundreds of plastic bristles from said scrubbing brush, the type used on bathroom tiles, but in the end they were far too rigid to be hair. They wouldn’t have the innate plumage I was after, leaving me with a pile of plastic strands and a brush handle busy searching for a toupee.

corinthian maquette

When lit from the left, the shadow side of the crest still shows some transmitted light, creating the effect of a glowing outline.

So on to Plan B, the butchery of an innocent paintbrush. I hollowed out the crest box (the ridge running forwards-backwards across the cranium of the helmet) then using craft glue affixed the bristles in bunches, blending the bunches together as much as possible. Prior to fixing the crest the helmet was painted, first with a light wash of black acrylic, which soaked into all the cracks and pits (pause to chuckle at the choice of wording), then built up the metallic effect with dry matte greys followed with a highlight of gold/silver.

The purpose of these maquettes is to show how light and shadow play over the form, as reference for future paintings and sketches. Sculpting something like this with the hands also helps give a greater sense of the form.

About Loukash

Artist & Illustrator.
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