Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Relatively Rough

Our sleepy dinner guests at Chez El Nido.
Wow. Let's just say I've been unable to perform small acts for the last while. I got hit, one, two, from strong middlebesmurches. At the same time, my husband's younger brother, his beautiful wife, and their two sweet and funny boys, came out for vacation, just leaving tonight for their trip home to the UK. It ended up that they were completely self-sufficient guests and only a pleasure to be with. The outcome of their 10-day trip was a total success all around, without me having to do much of anything (guilty). I've spent several days knocked out on a couch, loopy from pain meds. The house is back in order now and all's ready to roll again. I just want to post a week's worth of Halfland bits that I've been saving up in my single-minded head.
One of the background characters in Halfland is a chicken painting at an easel in the yard. The human aspect of this animal is that it has a person's face. I think the allusion from my mind is that line vegetarians often say, "I wouldn't eat anything that had a face." Part of me too finds it difficult to eat animals philosophically, the butchering, the slaughtering, the killing of divine creatures so that I can eat meat. And at the same moment I want it. Meat. I love eating it, lots of it, with sauces. I think the chicken with a face is a quasi representation of my inner duplicity on the what's-for-dinner matter. A comment on a recent Rocketboom episode linked to a home video someone took feeding chickens some leftover rigatoni. There were several hilarious shots of the chickens looking directly into the camera for more pasta. These chicken face-on faces, rarely seen, will serve as inspiration for my sculpting the Halfland character's face.
Yanu, mothman hunter character, will be largely unseen in the first Halfland film series. Like a figment of the imagination, Yanu will be seen only out of the corners of the camera's eye. These types of branch silhouettes drive me wild for this disappearing effect. On the left is the recent artwork for the movie, Premonition, which shows the distinctive contours of star Sandra Bullock's face in the branches of trees. Paul found this for me and knew I would go crazy over it. The right hand image I've had for a while on the visual reference sheets it's a detail of an illustration for a folktale titled, The Invisible Prince. Can you see him?
Cassie Mae Chappell of Mommy Makes Roses, generously shared on Martha Stewart Living her marvelously life-like technique for creating paper roses out of... coffee filters! I couldn't resist trying it myself (especially since she charges about $75 USD to make each one! There's video there in case you'd like to try it too.) I found the method very easy and fun to do (see the raw white paper form on left and some finished blooms in the middle.) They resulted in surprisingly natural looking roses I thought. This answered my long lived wondering about how to get the right scale flowers for Rana's teacup rose bush for her garden--I'll make them! There's my first miniature one on the right, next to a new set of tiny porcelain cups and saucers I found last Thursday at the 99¢ store for this purpose.
Part of the couch based art bonus time was how I came to package the finished batch of paper roses as thank you cards for friends that stepped in to host the family this week. I put single large flowers into cardboard tubes and papier mached them shut with thin, green painter's masking paper. I LOVE the way they turned out. It reminds me of either a mini pinata in their mailbox to open--FUN! or a scene from a horror movie I saw as a kid of people being enclosed inside a honeycomb cell by giant bees. (Um, anyone else see that one?)


  1. I can't believe you just found cups and a tea cup that Cheap, and after I spent ages making 2 sets of them!, and a Rose-Teacup Bush what a wonderful Imaginative Idea!


  2. Ah yes.... the movie of which you speak sounds like Mysterious Island, a Harryhausen masterpiece, and in some ways my favorite of his films. I can't recall any other flicks with people getting enclosed inside a giant honeycomb.

    Well, glad you're up and about now.... sorry to hear about all the nastiness. You an' me, we need to get back to makin' our small steps!

  3. Hi Ben! I know! I was in the 99¢ store to find coffee filters to make those roses when I saw the 10 piece real porcelain set--not plastic! It had Disney decals of Cinderella and "made in China" silk screened on that I had to SAND off! But hey, whoop-de-do, got me some tiny tea cups out of it!

    It isn't usual to be able to buy anything for Halfland, most things will be handmade, but these may work after I perhaps paint roses on them? Not sure yet how to incorporate the cups and roses on the bush. Really delighted that you appreciate the idea, Ben. You seem to really be on my Halfland wavelength, it's nice.

    HI Mikeee, Mysterious Island sounds exactly right. Harryhousen, eh? I guess he got into my wee phyche even without my realizing it! Cool. I am such a product of my initial programming--Is that why I have the hotts for Bill Shatner?! Mmmmm.

    Yep, let's get to steppin' A little boy recently told his mother as he was nodding off to sleep that he needed new batteries!!! That is soooo cute isn't it!

    Well, if you're charged up too--let's GO!

  4. Another Idea to share, you said that you diddnt know to encorporate teacups into the bush, I'm thinking painting Pettals on them and sticking them on Stems?

    Will you be working on Ranas Yard?


  5. Those chicken faces are Totally AWESOME!!!!

    HA! man I need to create a chicken character down the line...

    glad your feeling better!


  6. Glad to hear Dorthy is back on the farm so to speak.

    That must have been some twister.. Glad to hear you are back to the small step process.

    No I can't see the face of a prince and it bugs me alot. :-(


  7. Hi Justin! I tracked down the whole chicken video for you, for your animating inspiration--it's hilarious! Although, I'm not sure one should feed chickens pasta! Chickens

    Hi Mark! I think I should have given a clue about that prince. It isn't his face, it's a contour of his full body profile. The hawk is over his heart, his nose is facing to the right, his hands are placed behind his back. See now? If not, I can post the full frame image.

    Small steps small steps want big steps--NO!--small steps small steps.

  8. Ackkk!! Benjamin! I love that idea!!! Dude, that's perfect! Of course, the tea cups on rose stems with the flowers or perhaps petals painted on them! Tea cup roses, yay! I was just going to stick the cups and saucers on the bush along with other roses but I like this even better. I could make the saucers a little like the sepal or calyx of the blooms.

    Thank you so much!

    I'll be working on Rana's yard after the house is a bit further built up and the extended landscape panels around it are mocked up in their cardboard bases.


  9. hey shelly,

    so nice to have you feeling better, really fun to read your on going going's on.

    i know what you mean about meat. if i had time (and a different life) i would prefer to catch my meat myself. joeseph campbell said at one point "the essence of life is that it lives by killing and eating -- that is the great mystery that myths have to deal with." if that's the case then i guess life eating life is why we tell stories (though i certainly would not have time to tell stop motion stories if i were out catching my lunch!!).

    your flowers are beautiful.


  10. Shel, your miniature rose is beautiful! I love the color!
    And Ben, I think your Idea is perfect for Shel's teacup rose bush. I know it's going to be so pretty.

  11. Thanks Gurgules,

    Shel, If I had to kill my own meat to eat, hmmm, I just might. Depends on how hungry I was I guess. I probably could do it farm style, men killing, women preparing.

    I have an aunt that has hunted, killed, and put up all the meat of her own deer for winter eatin'. She's tough like that.

    Thanks, Hila! I had to try to make these coffee filter roses after we discussed how bleepin' expensive they were to buy.

    You were totally right, Cassie Mae does have every right to charge a lot for something handmade. But my head still says they were too easy for THAT much money. The large ones I made looked almost as good to me as hers and they were the first ones I ever tried, I'd improve as I went.

    I can't see charging that much for something that quick and easy to make. It was her original technique, granted, and that idea is the value of them as I see it.

    Nice of her to share really. It's a clever, effective solution.


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