Friday, February 18, 2011

Breakthrough: Shadow Play

A few weeks back, while on the phone with Paul, I suddenly noticed that the figures on a ceramic vase on my desk cast a perfect shadow onto the Halfland painting that Sven made for my birthday last year. It looked as though one of the figures was sitting under the Answer Tree! I tried to keep it together during the conversation because it would have been a long story to explain and it was late at night. But I realized what needed to happen somehow at the end of the Halfland series, when my beautiful live actress (the one who is not a puppet) Rose Red plays with crude white paper versions of the Halfland characters, giving the impression the world here only ever existed in her mind.

This accidental concept should really give the film a more interesting finish.
To blur the lines further, I noticed the the large paper trees that Peggy drew for me (seen lower right) make great shadows on the new paper partition that now runs the length of our place. Above you can see the bamboo set in soft yellow morning light and with crisp strong halogen worklight. Unrelated but another cool thing about the partition, the Sumi-e warrior figure from a martial arts book on the lower left was made via an overhead projector. We can change the imagery in various ways.


  1. Shelley, did you make that ceramic wase? It is wonderful.

    I think shadow play at the end of Halfland is a great idea. Shadows of the trees looks so good. I will be using something similar in my film too. I think about animating brances of the tree in front of the light to have an animated shadow. Like opening up curtains. It sounds so much fun.

  2. Thanks, Yaz, no that vase, that I really love, was made by artist Ronda LaRue in Ojai California many years ago.

    I lived there too at the time and introduced her to Sculpy and she went wild making hundreds of those female figures and putting them on to everything. Then it got interesting. After many many mini sculpts like that she switched to earthen clay and adding them onto thrown vases and wow! all that experience had given her a certain skill with the more difficult clay.

    They have an almost primitive quality. The vase has transparent aqua glazes and I white-washed the figures. One fell off and one lost her head. Hey, it's been about 20 years and I'm rough on things!


  3. I know that feeling with sculpey.. I had the same attitude for little while when I first met super sculpey. I thought about making little sculpey sculpts for the rest of my life :) Thank god, It did not last long and I was able to meet some other nice materials.

  4. Shelley, I love the idea! (You probably know that I'm pretty addicted to shadow plays.) There's always some kind of Plato-like approach if you mix two realities by using shadows. Two thumbs up for this!

  5. Thanks, Jessica! The thing I'm most excited about with this idea is how the shadows will interact with the 2D representation of the scene!

  6. brilliant idea. I had no idea there was going to be some live action. so cool and creative!

  7. Thank'ya, Rich! yep. a scene at the end.

    I love the animation/live action blend you achieved on My Friend Barry!


  8. Humm.. the shadows thing is interesting.

    I didn't know that you'll put live video with this. And as seen on your planning chart, you should be filming right now...

    Can't wait to see animated footage of your project.

  9. Way to keep me honest, Vincent! YES!

    I was hoping blindly to start March 1. But now will be very happy to start in--and am planning to--sometime in March. For sure by the end of March I hope to have some frames in the can!

    Yes, live video will be the last few moments as my actress, the lovely Jessica/Rose Red will play with the white paper Halfland shadow puppets.

    The very beginning is live action too, a large mermaid rod puppet on a real beach!


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