Sunday, March 03, 2013

Seasons: Time is a Place

Stowed all together backstage, an 11 Birch tree forest rests its seasons shoulder to shoulder. When the forest gets installed on the set next week, Spring frames the foreground with budding branches, Summer frames the main set edges to obscure the edges of the sky, Autumn near the back of the set, and finally Winter behind the atmosphere scrim in front of the blackest, coldest Night.

Tarn comes out of the Winter Night.

In Halfland, all the Seasons are happening at once, only separated by distance. In this land, time is a Frog and the past, present, and future are distant or near depending on where you are.
Summer branches added onto the previously made tube trees with masking tape, a LOT of masking tape. Some of the tubes had been left to plain and so I spent a lot of time giving them more texture with flexible cement. My beautiful talented angel Christine has been coming twice a week (!) and mixing colors, painting the shading on the entire forest and making the sky.
For the Winter trees I was out of previously made trunks so I took pvc pipe and bulked them out with paper and masking tape as the branches were added. I found that Nova Color's Course Lava Gel Medium made perfect snow on the tips of the mica sparkled branches. Brrrrr.
The Spring trees at the very foreground of the wide shot, are made from dead branches I picked up off the street. Bare twig branches were added (in the technique below) and the joins were textured with, again, flexible cement, my second favorite material to build with. A dry brushing of dark umber picked up the horizontal cement lines on the other trunks. A sprig of Spring emerges on the Spring trees with small paper leaves attached with masking tape. These joins will get covered and painted to blend as if grown.

The opening titles happen as the camera passes through the Spring tree curtain/proscenium. A budding leaf animation will reveal nearly normal words.
This is an excellent method of making branches grow on trunks that developed after several score had been done less successfully.

1. Take a small strip of brown paper and twist it into a skinny coil, attaching it with tape to the cut end of a twig branch with masking tape.

2. Fold up the excess paper twist to one side of the stem end bundle so that the branch grows at the desired angle. The bundle should be tight and firm.

3. Secure the bundle with a band of masking tape tightly at just the bottom edge.

4. Now saddle the top of the bundle with another length of masking tape from the top and press the ends to the trunk.

5. Blend with flexible cement and paint as shown in the previous image above this one, far left, and paint to finish.


  1. Great birch trees!
    And the acorns, and the Day/Night sky - getting an even stronger sense of the halfland style now.

    Had several failed attempts at posting a comment on the cozy Night Night scene, maybe I got the cryptic words wrong and was taken for a robot. But I have been watching!

    (Whoop, whoop, Halfland Style!)

  2. So glad you are watching, NICK!!!

    Getting close now. Yesterday I story boarded the entire film, ordering scenes and breaking the vignettes into times of day for lighting, locations/set, and, story action!!!

    Yes, 1/2L style. hmm. primitive, rustic, highly textural, detailed, naturalistic, folktalesque?

  3. This is not primitive at all, Shelley, but rather sophisticated! I cannot tell you how much I look forward to see the whole piece!

    "past, present, and future are distant or near depending on where you are"
    – How true this is, not only in Halfland!

    Go on, busy bee, I send you much support!

  4. Thank you, thank you, JESSICA!!

    Yes, time is a place--and a frog. You'll see!

    Thank you so much for your constant support there in Germany! My friend.


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