Props

Props by Pat Byrne

 For the last couple of years I thought about exhibiting some of the props or costumes alongside my paintings so I needed to make them look a bit more presentable than what they were. The Púca horns were the first of the original props to be revamped. When I first made these costume pieces they were made with the intention of being just something to paint from and have shadows and light falling accurately on the characters. They were extremely rough and ready and fairly awkward to wear so the aim with the new ones was to have them more secure and comfortable to have on my head. I also want them to look more realistic. 

 The original horns, made from newspaper and papier mache

The original horns, made from newspaper and papier mache

The originals were made of newspaper wrapped as tight as I could get it, covered in masking tape, then given a layer of papier mache and finally having some acrylic paint slapped on. The new horns were made of tin foil crushed to a fairly solid state, wrapped in plaster bandage and then covered in a layer of filler. After sanding it down I added and shaped the ridges using a little more filler and then onto the paint. I used 2 layers of slightly watered down acrylic, mixed up and applied a dark wash then a light coloured dry brush before dry brushing on a lighter colour over the ridges.

 The newer set made from foil, plaster bandage and filler

The newer set made from foil, plaster bandage and filler

I'm planning to remake the shamrock that the leprechaun wears because the one I'm currently using is my third or fourth one in 4 years and it doesn't hold the paint due to it being made of a type of plastic, it just flakes off. I might reuse the stem but the leaves are the biggest problem, I tried fabric but it was to hard to work with, I’m looking at EVA foam now instead.

 The horns attached to a headband and hat, ready for use

The horns attached to a headband and hat, ready for use

As far as new props go I have a mask made for the Sluagh, it was just a plaster bandage cast of my face with the addition of a beak. I'm trying to make a set of antlers too, these took a bit of playing with but I think I'm happy with them now, they're currently in progress and I want to attempt a set of wings at some stage but these haven't gotten past being a balsa wood maquette yet. The stray sod is another piece of folklore that I would like to paint from too. For this character I want to try and use an under layer to stick the oversized flora to so it looks like its growing out though the hoodie instead of just looking like it is stuck on the jumper.

 The Sluagh mask made from plaster bandage

The Sluagh mask made from plaster bandage

After that some of the props are just clothes that have suitable colours to represent certain things, such as the baseball cap, which had colours and a pattern that I could use in a nod to the children of Lir in their swan form. If I get the wings made they’ll be added to the cap for the full effect, and then there’s the Fear Dearg or Red Man, a relative of the Leprechaun. As the name implies he wears mostly red garb so there wasn’t an awful lot need doing to props or costume for this character.

  He Sat Listening to the Songs , a painting of the clothing that I used without additional props

He Sat Listening to the Songs, a painting of the clothing that I used without additional props