My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Interruption of Schedule

I've had a busy weekend (see picture below) and am on jury duty as of tomorrow, so I have not had the time I'd liked to have had to write all my blogs. I do have a review and lyric analysis of the Emilie Autumn song 'Fight Like A Girl' for my musical Monday, but while we were next to Eden Court there was no time to photograph it further.
Muskets are heavy. Thanks to Suzy for the photograph.
Thanks to Culloden Battlefield Museum for letting me get my hands on the musket!!
I would like to leave a message to the tall Goth chap from the Netherlands whom I met at the Games: It was very nice meeting you and I'd like to have caught up with you again, but had to run for my bus! Sorry! I wish you and your friends the best on your holiday in Scotland. Have fun! You may never read this, I know, but the internet is global, so one can hope! 

I am not a pirate; the bandana is to stop owls and raptors from playing with my hair!
The Owl Is Called Cheeky. He is.
Thanks to Suzy for the photograph. 
This was my third time volunteering with 2 Wit 2 Woo. They are an excellent organisation helping lots of rescued birds, both wild and those who have been ill cared for in captivity. While they mainly help owls they also help a variety of raptors and even corvids! If you have coins to spare, donate! 

Friday, 20 July 2012

Spires, Skies and Shadows

More From The High Church Graveyard
I keep going back there, and each time I spot something else that intrigues me, something I did not capture the previous time. It seems that whenever I think I have exhausted it of material worth photographing, that something else catches my eye. Today was a trip out with the "proper camera", which is a Canon 300D, and Suzy of ::Suzy Bugs:: let me borrow some of her lenses, for a bit more experimentation. 

Shiny different lens to play with meant that I could take pictures of details up on the roof of the neighbouring church, which as they are rather pretty (especially the spire) became the focus of my little expedition. I did not actually take that many pictures of the graveyard itself. 
If Vertical Was Going To Be Impossible,
Diagonal Would Have To Do!
The spire is reasonably high on the Free Church North (at some point I will have to find out exactly how high, but it is definitely one of the taller spires in the area) and getting a shot in full of it with the lenses to hand was going to be impossible. (I have taken a photograph encompassing the whole church,  but on a different day, with a different lens) so I decided to focus on various points that interested me. 

Dramatic Clouds
Sometimes it is more the clouds than the architecture, or the combination of clouds and architecture. I think a plain blue sky is, while sunny, quite dull, and much prefer some interest in the form of clouds to balance out the image. Today it was blue skies and patchy white clouds, and these provided a lovely sky and a lot of nice shadows from the bright sunshine, which on the spire really gives a sense of the various facets of the octagonal roof. I love the pinnacles. 
Clouds Don't Always Appear When I Need Them
Clouds don't always appear where and when I need them, though! I took this photograph from reasonably close to the base of the steeple, but far enough back to get enough of a diagonal to have some sense of perspective. I tried taking a photograph really close to the base, but it did not really have the same effect. I really wanted to portray how high and imposing and solid the steeple is. As it does rise a way above the church, and is thin in relation to its height, it can seem rather elegant from a distance, but up close it is very solidly built, and for this picture I wanted to show some of that. 

Pinnacle or Steeple
This mini-steeple or pinnacle is part of some adjoining ecclesiastical buildings. It is much smaller than the steeple with spire (and for that matter, the spire) on the church itself, and I presume it is technically a pinnacle rather than a steeple, but I always think of pinnacles as the miniature spires decorating a full-sized spire, atop a steeple. If it protruded from a wall, I would call it a turret. At some point I will have to rat out that book of architectural terms that did rather well on historic architecture, but I think it is back in England, somewhere in my father's loft. Regardless of what it is, I love the details of the false slit windows and the arches that elaborate them. It is reminiscent of the towers on the spire, which also have arches and false-slit windows. I'm getting lost in pedantry. Whatever it is, I think it looks nice, which is why I took the photograph. 
A Rather Fancy Vent
This photograph was taken to capture the texture of the tiles and the lichen growing on them. I heard that lichen grows best in clean air, which is good news for the city of Inverness as the roof is covered with the stuff! I think the little white "light house" is actually a rather fancy cover for a vent. I love it when mundane things are made needlessly ornate, because why shouldn't functional things be beautiful too? If it were up to me, everything would be designed to be at least as beautiful as functional. Things need to be fully functional, of course, but beauty can still exceed that! 
I managed to finally get a photograph of the roof of the Catholic church across the river that I actually like. The spire is quite short, wooden and painted red - rather different to the other buildings in the area. The ornate front door of the Catholic church faces away from the afternoon and evening sun, and with mountains behind, it is soon in rather dark shadow, which means it is usually rather awkward to photograph. Sometime in the near future I will have to visit during morning hours to get a good photograph of the front of the building because it is really quite something. 
You Can See Tiles!
This is the steeple on what is now the funeral home opposite the High Church on the other side of the river. I love the conical roof and the open columns. Unlike most of the other churchy buildings in the area, this one is not in the least bit Gothic in terms of architecture, but it is still rather fabulous. It is far more austere, which is quite fitting for a funeral home. I wonder if it was purpose built as such, or is a re-purposed church. 
I also got to play with Suzy's macro lens while she was busy using the other lens to photograph a rather large rabbit. It is these sorts of decorative details on the monuments that I love, especially when they are still crisp centuries later. 
The First Five Tries Weren't Even Sharp...

Tomorrow (Saturday) I will be at the Northern Meeting Park in Inverness, which is across the road from Eden Court, for the Inverness Highland Games  & Armed Forces Day. I will be there with owls and raptors. I will also have the point-and-shoot camera with me, so hopefully next week's photography slot will be themed on that building - quite a modern departure from this week's! 

Monday, 16 July 2012

♫ Music Showcase: And Also The Trees ♫

Band Name: And Also The Trees
Genre: Post-Punk, Alternative Rock
Language: English
Active: 1979-Present
Origin: England
Page: ::Official Website::

This post has been so much fun to write, partly because as I've been writing it, checking my facts and suchlike, I've had their music playing constantly as a soundtrack.

I adore And Also The Trees. And Also The Trees are a British band, from the first wave of dark Post-Punk 'Goth' rock in the '80s, but not as well known or as well-played as acts such as Bauhaus, Joy Division, early The Cure, etc. They are comprised currently of Simon Huw Jones (vocals), Justin Jones (guitar), both of whom are original band members from 1979, and Steven Burrows (bass) who replaced original bassist Graham Havas, Ian Jenkins (bass, double bass) who joined in 2004, Paul Hill (drums) who replaced original drummer Nick Havas, and Emer Brizzolara who plays keyboards.

They were founded in the Worcestershire village of Inkberrow (which makes me think of "ink barrow"), and came to prominence after they sent off a home-made demo tape to The Cure, who really liked what he heard. And Also The Trees ended up playing in a support slot to the Cure, and a friendship formed between the bands. Their second demo 'From Under The Hill' was co-produced by Robert Smith and The Cure's producer Mike Hedges and their first two single releases ('Shantell' and 'The Secret Sea') along with their debut proper album, the eponymous And Also The Trees, were produced by The Cure's drummer and keyboard-player Lol Tolhurst.

And Also The Trees were heavily inspired by their rural origins, which is evident in not only their choice of name, but in many of their lyrics, and in how they craft sonic landscapes from their songs. I guess this is one of the reasons I enjoy listening to them so much, I come originally from a rural Oxfordshire village, and my own creativity is always returning back to the woods and fields of that first home. Now that I live in the Highlands of Scotland, it is again the landscapes that inspire me. Their 1986 album "Virus Meadow" is described as "an album of rich, pagan melancholy & disturbing laments" on their website and I think that encapsulates exactly what I like about the album.

They do not describe themselves as 'Goth', although they state their Post-Punk origins, but being so poetic, so dark, and considering their early sound, I think that the term aptly describes their early musical output. (I think this would be an apt moment to remember ::this article::
I wrote).

They've had a long career in dark and brooding music, having been founded in 1979 and still being active today. Their music has explored a variety of styles and influences over that time, some of it a very long way away from 'Goth', and unlike some musicians of their era, they are still actively producing new material, with their latest album 'Hunter, Not The Hunted' being available on CD and on vinyl off their website. They have been fairly consistent in writing songs with decidedly poetic lyric content and something unnerving and melancholic in nature. Personally, I am quite happy that they strayed into a variety of styles, because this variety has allowed them to express more than they could have done had they stuck narrowly to what they sounded like in the '80s.

Some of their songs are certainly very Gothic in lyrics (in the literary meaning of the term), writing about morbid and eerie subjects, such as the lyrics of 'Scythe & Spade'. When I first heard this I thought of 17thC poets, and I wasn't far wrong at all - the lyrics being a direct reference to a quote from the James Shirley poem 'Death The Leveller'
"Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crookèd scythe and spade.
Which in the lyrics of the song forms the basis of each verse, although fabulously elaborated on in a style in keeping with the poem, and "with the poor crooked scythe and spade" forms the last line of each verse. Here we have a rock band, albeit a Post-Punk rock band, building a song around a 17th century poem about death - in Shirley's case about how the victorious warrior and those that die in battle, as well as kings, all die eventually, a response to the English Civil War and in A.A.T.T.'s case, about how the rich and powerful die and decay the same as the humble. It is a 20thC memento mori in song form, and even if not entirely original, definitely poetic. I think that rock musicians mining the rich seams of British poetry, especially from that period, is a fabulous thing to be happening. Punk is often associated with being an anti-culture, a rebellion against all institutions including the canons of "high art" and "high culture", and here is a Post-Punk embracing it and using it as creative fodder.

They also covered Cat Steven's 'Lady D'Arbanville' in a way that, if you didn't know the Cat Steven's original, you would think was taken from some centuries old ballad, that Lady D'Arbanville was not some 20thC actress and model, but a long dead-aristocrat lying in state in some chapel of pointed-arches and candles.  I think it comes from both Simon Huw Jones' lamenting voice and the swirling orchestration being translated by my decidedly dramatic imagination. (An aside: I have soft spot for the Gigliola Cinquetti cover of 'Lady D'Arbanville' - how not-Goth is that?).

Their music draws me in; with each song I feel like I've been brought into some scenario set before me - their music isn't always necessarily strictly descriptive or narrative, but when it is I really feel like I am there, for example 'Pale Sun' makes me think of claustrophobic fog over a small rural British town, sometime decades, maybe centuries ago. I can see all the lyric details in my minds eye, when they talk of geese and weathervanes.
And it's not just the lyrics and the title, it's the music itself. It is murky, everything sounds slightly muffled, petering out into obscurity at the end like a fading dream or an image receding into fog.

Fashion/aesthetic wise, there's a few rather striking black and white pictures of them in Victorian-esque garb looking brooding in front terribly ornate columns and arches (a youtube commenter said "They look like vampires" and I have to agree), and some far more recent pictures of them wearing black suits, black shirts and black ties. They tend to be associated with eerie black and white landscape photographs, which is rather fitting.

I could write several pages about them, and probably already have (maybe I should copy and paste this lot into word and see how many sheets of A4 I'd have taken up if this was in hard-copy rather than on a blog?) but really, the only way to get to know a band is to listen to the music. My favourite album is The Rag and Bone Man, identifiable by its high contrast picture of a ruined cottage (a ruined building, in black and white, set in an ominous landscape, cloudy sky, right up my street in terms of photography) . Here is a suggested playlist, in which I've tried to have a bit of variety. 

Suggested Playlists
❧ "So This Is Silence" from 'And Also The Trees'
❧ "Midnight Garden" from 'And Also The Trees' 
❧ "Virus Meadow" from 'Virus Meadow'
❧ "Maps In Her Wrists and Arms" from "Virus Meadow"
❧ "Scythe and Spade" from 'Farewell To The Shade'
❧ "Misfortune" from 'Farewell To The Shade' (slightly more upbeat). 
❧ "The Pear Tree" from 'The Pear Tree' (I like the Robert Smith remix version)
❧ "The Way The Land Lies" from 'The Rag and Bone Man'
❧ "Domed" from 'The Rag and Bone Man' 
❧ "The Beautiful Silence" from 'The Rag and Bone Man'

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Changes - Future Plans

Hello All,
I can say that responses to my post announcing possible changes were not as numerous as I had hoped, but thank-you to all who did respond. My plans are as such:

On Mondays I am going to try and post things that are music-related, such as 'Music Showcase' posts and opinion articles on musical matters. Any suggestions of extant blogs discussing '80s Darkwave, Goth and Post-Punk that might provide inspiration on how to tackle this subject would certainly be helpful! I do hope to write about more than only music within the subculture though, and hope to write about not-Goth music that is dark in theme or sound and which might appeal.

As well as writing about Goth-y things, I wish to write about my first love, musically, and talk about what is generally termed 'classical' music, but spanning a much broader time-span than the Classical era, as my particular interests are in various forms of choral music, especially Renaissance-era choral polyphony and latter sacred works, and in all sorts of Romantic-era music, especially Romantic-era piano music.

On Fridays I hope to post photographs I've taken myself. As regular readers might have noticed, this will be a lot of architectural and monumental subjects. Primarily these will be of Gothic, Perpendicular, and Gothic Revival style buildings, taking 'Gothic' in its architectural sense, but will include other buildings in other styles that I feel are relevant contributions to my blog and somehow fit the broader 'Goth' or 'Dark Romantic' aesthetic, or is just something I find interesting. Expect graveyards.

Wednesdays will be for art and art-history related posts. These might be infrequent as they take longer to write and research, and for me to track down images out of copyright and in the public domain.

The rest of the time I will write opinion pieces,  and a few fashion posts in response to blogging events, and maybe illustrate some things with outfit pictures in keeping with the theme. As I have mentioned before, I don't really want this to become another fashion blog. I am hopefully going to include a lot more craft projects and finally a few recipes. I have recipes in the works, but need to finalise them. I am also going to write about books I read, movies I've watched, and concerts I'll attend.

Hopefully this will still interest readers. I may on occasions delve off into philosophy, or feel particularly tempted to indulge vanity in outfit posts, but hopefully this blog will stay true to its aims as a sub-culturual blog.

Thank-you for patience,

Monday, 9 July 2012

Changes - Proposed New Directions

Hello all,
I am coming to a bit of a cross-roads in my blog. I feel that the direction I want to take this blog in is actually going to alienate some of my readers. Now my blog is a bit more established, I want to begin  delving properly into the Gothic subculture and into the arts where the subject matter is darker and in keeping with the subculture. I'd like to interview more creative types, including musicians and artists currently active, I'd like to showcase more bands, write more opinion pieces, write about art history, write about books I've read, carry on photographing buildings, display more of my own art-work, etc. and generally move away from shallower things such as outfit posts, make-up tutorials, decor posts, etc. 

I'd also like to finally start posting more recipes and more crafting tutorials; I know it's not exactly high culture, but this blog is for things I enjoy and I enjoy cooking and making things, and it is called "Domesticated" after all, but I haven't been living up to that so far!  I don't see the point in posting about my clothes unless it will somehow be helpful to others, and there are plenty of extant blogs discussing Goth fashion and similar subcultural styles, and do so better than I could. There isn't much I can add in terms of blogging a style column, but I can post about how I have made and modified things, as hopefully this will help others with their own projects. Goth is not about what clothes you can afford to buy, it is a subculture and artistic movement - not a fashion trend. Goth is about your own creativity, and I'm not displaying mine. 

That said, it is generally my fashion related posts that get the biggest positive response.  Personally, I would rather write about what I actually enjoy (music, art, photography) than simply cater to what is popular, but I also do not want to disappoint people who have come to enjoy this blog as it is over the past few months. I know that if I consistently write about stuff that interests me, that with time I will attract followers with shared interests, but I don't see followers as a replaceable commodity or measure of achievement to be gained, I think of them as actual people whom I am communicating with. 

Hopefully my blog will improve, whatever direction I go in.  Maybe I'll reach compromise; maybe I can retain some of the style elements and still have plenty of time to write of other things. 

Please, please, write in the comments about how you feel about such changes, about what you enjoy reading. I do heed my comments and respond to as many as I can.


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Tea And Coffee

Caffeinated HouseCat
You only ~have~ to drink tea & coffee if you actually like them. 

I've noticed a trend of people drinking tea to seem more Lolita or more like Emilie Autumn or even more Goth. Sometimes they video themselves drinking tea really awkwardly. It seems strange and sort of pretentious behaviour. They are clearly trying really hard to look like they are enjoying their tea and their tea-party, and while they might be enjoying the rest of the tea-party, they are trying very hard not to grimace at the actual tea. 

(An aside: I know that tea is an everyday beverage in the UK, and that there are places where tea being made with hot water, a tea-bag and possibly milk and sugar is something of a rarity, but it is a very simple process, and should be quite hard to get wrong.) 

Anyway, this is not about getting making tea wrong, this is about people trying too hard to be quaintly British-esque in search of being more subcultural. I am inherently quaintly British so have never had that as something I wish to become, and can't exactly see the reason why people so desire to be like this. The only motivation I can see is an idealisation of Victorian society and a belief that all Victorian people did is sit around on sunny afternoons drinking tea, playing croquet and, if female, doing embroidery. Victorian life was not actually like that. 

Maybe it is a reaction to the culture of youth binge-drinking, with drinking tea being a stereotypically "civilised" thing to do, and I quite agree that afternoon tea is far superior to evening drunkenness, but there are plenty of soft drinks that are not tea to drink if you dislike tea. There are exceedingly elegant and refined tea meals and ceremonies, and yes the 1840's Afternoon Tea, earlier 18thC tea and of course various Tea Ceremonies from the Orient are all elegant and refined occasions, but that requires more than simply the act of consuming tea from pretty containers or of eating cake off a tiered stand. And engaging in any of the above activities for the purpose of becoming 'more Lolita' or 'more Goth' is silly and a bit appropriative. 

Not drinking tea does not make one any less goth, in the same way that drinking tea does not make one any more goth. I'm not sure why this has become a hugely 'Goth' thing to do, any more than why drinking coffee black was a hugely 'Goth' thing to do when I was a teenage babybat. 

☕ "Give me coffee, black, black as my soul!

I happen to rather like coffee, but I have a caffeine intolerance and get a little too wired if I have anything other than decaff, and I like lattes. This does not make me less Goth. I also like frappuccinos. Most of all, I like rose milkshakes with real vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream on top, served in a tall glass with a straw and marshmallows. Hideously pink, calorific, and decidedly fabulous. Aesthetically one would look fitting in the hands of a Sweet Lolita, but food should not be about what it looks like, or which culture it is from, but about the taste. Really, only drink or eat things because you like them. This does not just apply to tea and coffee, but to sushi and other Japanese food, absinthe, red wine, snakebite & black or anything else that is edible and related to a subculture. 

Be yourself. Eat and drink what you enjoy (in healthy moderation, of course). 

Friday, 6 July 2012

Architecture, Statuary and Suchlike

I have been into Inverness taking photographs of buildings, details and in graveyards again.  As far as photography goes it is buildings, monuments and similar things that I prefer taking pictures of. I have a fondness for architecture stemming to my teenage years, having once aspired to being an architect. To me, my photographs are a form of appreciation of the buildings I admire. Inanimate objects that won't run away when I point a camera at them also provide good practice material. 

Suzy has lent me a nice Canon camera with proper manual settings to play with, but it's big and heavy, not weatherproof and I'm still not very confident using it, so for this trip I took my little pocket point-and-shoot camera as it fits in my handbag and I am not afraid to take it out in the rain. I really want to get more confident using the proper camera because when I have taken pictures with it, they are so much better than with the point-and-shoot because I can control the variables to favour the results I am aiming for, rather than have to put up with the automated choices that the point-and-shoot assumes are what I want (and rarely are). 
Pay attention to that storm...
As per usual I began my trip at the Old High Church, on Church St. (aptly named, it has several churches) and took pictures there. Whenever I go there I spot something else I want  to photograph that I did not spot on the previous occasion. Today it was the lamp-post at the top of the ridge overlooking the river that caught my eye. Behind it was a moody sky, and I wanted to capture that. That is indeed a typical Scottish summer sky; full of rain and thunder. I'm sure Noah accidentally wandered up here when he had to build that ark... 
Slightly less rainy.
I find dramatic rain-laden clouds the most interesting backgrounds, second only to sunsets. There is something fascinating about the contrast of the perpetually changing natural beauty of the weather and the static beauty of human artifice. In this picture I concentrated on the thick glass of the lantern portion and the way the clouds are distorted in it. Most of my pictures on this blog are set to black and white to fit the aesthetic of the blog, but here the colours have been kept as it conveys the atmosphere better with the colours retained, and the image is fairly grey anyway.
Sometimes it is the smaller things I notice, such as these grass seeds by a grave, where the monument has sheltered the grass from the strimmer and it has grown long. Next time I try this I will try and angle myself so that the background is all church and graves as the grass was well-lit and the composition would have been better if it was the grass with its highlights against the darker blurred stone. There are all sorts of interesting natural things in graveyards. I tried taking a photograph of a spider in the stone folds of a monumental draped urn, but it scurried off at my invasion of its privacy. 
Carved on a headstone.
The above image is a detail from a headstone. I tend to shy away from photographing headstones and actual grave markers in their entirety as to me they are personal things erected by family as memorials, but sometimes I photograph statuary and small details, trying to avoid the names and dates upon the stones. This stone is actually relatively old, 19thC in fact, but the carved vegetative design is still crisp, the narrow stems and the indentations in the flower still clearly visible and relatively unweathered despite the exposed position of the graveyard. 

I had a lot of fun wandering around the city and crossed the bridge to look for more buildings to and locations, in search of some variety. Inverness is a really interesting city, there are plenty of things to photograph. I have to explore  more of the Northern bank of the river and the city beyond.
Eden Court Theatre
It is not only Gothic Revival and other historic buildings that I enjoy photographing. This is Eden Court, a rather modern building. Eden Court was opened in April 1976. At the time, the design was strikingly modern, and to this day it is still striking and feels decidedly contemporary. It is a very angular building, but with interesting geometry - it is full of diagonals and not at all box-like. It is clad with a variety of textures and has a large amount of glass, making the building reasonably light indoors even with the notoriously dingy Scottish weather. When I first visited, I assumed the building was built in the last 10 years, not over 40 years ago. Eden Court is the only large performance venue in the region, with a very good variety of performances and exhibitions to attend. The building was designed by architects Law & Dunbar-Nasmith to house all types of performing arts from opera to drama and films (it is also a cinema and even shows art-house movies) to things like the HiEx comic convention.
Railings on an exterior stairwell.
Eden Court is a very interesting building. I think its strong lines, angular design and interesting textures, combined with a lot of interesting dark greys make it an interesting building for this blog, even if it is not Gothic, Perpendicular or Gothic Revival. Mind you, 20thC architecture has its links to the Gothic subculture too - after all, one of the seminal Goth bands is called 'Bauhaus'. Today I only took a few photographs of Eden Court, but I feel that it is one of these buildings that I will keep coming back to - expect to see more of it here on this blog. 
Architecture reflected in architecture
Sometimes the old and the new meet in clear contrast, such as the reflection of this Gothic Revival townhouse (I don't think it was built as a hotel or other non-residential building) caught in the polished surface of part of the cladding of Eden Court theatre, a building that, as you can see from previous photographs, is thoroughly modern. It is these sorts of little things that make me smile. Life is full of moments of unexpected beauty. 
I look for interesting architectural details wherever I go. This is an upper-floor arch between two curved turrets (the sort that are really stacked bay windows than actual turrets - towers, maybe) which have lovely "fantasy castle" conical roofs. This is part of the facade of the Palace Hotel, on the riverfront in central Inverness, across the bridge from most of the churches I photograph, on the road to the Cathedral and Eden Court. 
Arrogant Angel
Above is a rather arrogant looking angel I found nestled in a the concave nook of a corner. Its expression seems so haughty and condescending - not exactly suitable for an angel! I thought the attention to detail on the folds of its robes, the curls of its hair and the feathers of its wings were really quite exacting, so I wonder if the expression was the result of the mason making some sort of joke, and if the angel was modelled on a real person who exhibited such traits. It definitely seems to be looking down its nose at the humans walking around below it. 

Inverness has a truly vast cemetery at Tomnahurich. It has been used for centuries. I stayed over an hour there, on my first visit and only explored a small fraction of the graveyard. It is very leafy, and a good section of it on the hill is actually woodland. It has a variety of grave markers and monuments from the local Victorian-era style of grave-markers, to rather ornate graves, especially at the graves of families that had immigrated from Southern Europe, especially Italy. 
Hope, Faith and the Immortal Soul
The above figure is from a Victorian era grave, it is placed above the actual marker. The figure is an allegory of Hope, and the anchor represents the following passage from the Bible: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." (Hebrews 6:19), the five-pointed star on her brow is representative of the soul, and the hand across the heart a symbol of faith. The anchor itself echoes the cross with wreath in its design. There are actually quite a few figurative monuments and allegorical and religious statuary
Intriguing Statuary
This is part of a fabulous statue in a part of the cemetery where many Italian immigrant families are buried. It really intrigued me because I had never seen such a figure at a grave before. It is young woman down on one knee, barefoot in Neoclassical robes (and a Neoclassical style), with a scallop shaped bowl containing a cross with the iota-eta-sigma monogram resting at an angle in the bowl. Not only had I never seen such a statue at a grave, I had never seen such a statue at all. It would have been so useful had I taken a full-length picture of the statue rather than this bust. I asked Magdalena of ::Goth In Plain Sight:: who is rather knowledgeable in Christian iconography about it. It is a pilgrim to the shrine of Sant Iago. (Saint James.) There is a big shrine to him in Spain. The person buried there probably made the pilgrimage, or had some connection to the shrine. Maybe they were Spanish rather than Italian and that the area of the cemetery is bonded by common Catholicism rather than common location. 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Makeup Tutorial: Foliate Swirls

I see a lot of babybat goths with just a heap of black eyeliner and then some incoherent squiggles at the corner, and it seems that a lot of people think this is the limit to swirly eyeliner designs, and that they cannot ever look good. Personally, I think that it is possible to have swirls that look good. This tutorial was actually based on a request by Raven (not my partner, a different Raven) commenting on ::this post::. It is not the same makeup as worn in that post, but hopefully it will be helpful, and I will also do a complete tutorial for that look (with variant swirls; I can't exactly replicate them) at a later point.

You will need:
✥Primer and foundation to match your skin tone
✥Matt white eyeshadow
✥Black soft kohl pencil
✥Felt-tipped eyeliner pen
✥Silver liquid eyeliner
✥Metallic silver eyeshadow
✥Metallic pewter eyeshadow
✥Black eyeshadow.
✥Brush-tipped liquid liner.

Apply primer and foundation.
The first step is to prime and apply foundation. As this design itself is quite heavy, I have applied primer and a very sparing amount of foundation under my eyes to act as concealer, and a tad of actual concealer over the worst of the bags under my eyes. Too much foundation and heavy looks can appear caked. I'm relatively pale naturally, and am using tinted primer and foundation that approximately match my skin tone. If you look very carefully at the roots of my eyebrows, you can see where some has clumped and that it's actually a tad yellower than my actual skin tone. Don't forget to set the nose and the rest of the face with powder, but don't set the foundation around the eyes.
Apply matt white eyeshadow.
The next step is to add some strong matt white eye-shadow under the brow line, and then to dust some lightly across the cheeks and above the brow line, forming a 'C' shape around the outside of the eye on the bony parts of the face. This is basically for the purpose of highlighting the contours and to contrast better against the black that will be added later in this look. I use a matt white at this point because a shimmer or pearlescent white would have the wrong lustre for the highlights.
Add kohl under the eye.
The third stage is creating a shadowy effect under the eye. Firstly line below the lashes with a soft, smudgy kohl pencil, then with either a cotton-bud (q-tip) or the edge of your little finger, smudge the kohl outwards and downwards. Try to get it to fade out smoothly. Be careful at the point where you meet with the upper lid not to get black on the outward continuation of the crease of the upper lid. Afterwards, take a felt-tipped black eyeliner pen (NOT a felt-tip pen!) and go over the kohl right up against the lashes. Emphasises the extension of the upper lid's crease by drawing in the downward curve with the same liner. You want to be drawing in the crease, below the upper lid. The idea is to give the illusion of a longer upper lid and therefore longer eye.
Apply and blend eyeshadows.
This stage is most fun! First of all cover the upper lid up to the crease formed by the curvature of the eyeball with liquid silver eyeliner. You want to pick a really metallic shade. I have gone over this with Rimmel metallic silver eyeshadow and then metallic pewter eyeshadow in the corner in order to set the liquid eyeshadow. Draw in the crease with the kohl pencil, and dab over it with black eyeshadow to set. Apply the pewter eyeshadow between the white from earlier and the black. Using a narrow but fluffy-ish brush, blend the outwards to the brow from the black. Begin pencilling in the eyebrow.
Add swirls and line upper lid.
The next step is fun when you get the hang of it, but requires practice. Take a liquid eyeliner with a brush tip and line the upper lid narrowly over the silver and draw in your swirls. Practice drawing swirls before going out with this. If you use a a brush-tipped liner you can get a variation in width of line when you change the angle. End a few of the lines with tapering ends, or with curls that form dots, practice drawing stylised leaves. I tend to have the swirls emerge from the lower lid line and the extension of the corner, and then have one emerging at the end of the crease following the curve of the lower lid. These swirls are going to have silver on them in the next step so I have included a few broad sections that look a little odd at this stage. You can stop at this stage if you want a sharper, more minimal set of swirls (my personal preference), or go onto the next for an extra level of fanciness. 
And there, you're done!
The last stage is adding the silver highlights on the black swirls in silver liner. If it bleeds out onto the black, then just line around it again carefully in more black. Just add small sections of silver on the broadest parts of the black swirls. I also added some dots in black liquid liner below the brow and tidied up the drawing in of the brow. I then applied white eyeliner to my lower waterline and applied mascara to both lower and upper lashes. Then you're done! Swirls with silver and snazzy metallic eyeshadow. 

Big hugs and huge thanks to my partner Raven for taking all of the photographs. Hopefully they illustrated all the stages clearly. Raven did a fantastic job considering that I am terrible at being a makeup model on account of being terribly inclined to blink when lights are pointed at my eyes. I did all of the post-processing because it was Raven's turn to cook dinner tonight and I did not want to distract him.