Saturday, June 30, 2007

Back and Forth

Lots of good Halfland action has gone on the last few days; there was some testing of bark texture and color, leaf painting, leaf attaching, etc. only some of which I'll fit in here... Let's get to it! w00t.
A real log in studio on left, one of my painted tree test branches on right. I was surprised that taupe was in the bark color at all. All this time I thought it would be browns!
I started my test branch painting by applying a base coat of warm brown. Alternating layers of taupe and spraying watered down black/brown dye started working. It's a back and forth process of adding different colors to get both the bark and the leaves how I want them. Back and forth. Back and forth. Color color.
After much mind strain on how I could handle the leaf treatment, I think I've hit upon my method. It involves a kind of mental compromise between theatrical-ness and real-ness. I slopped on about 10 different shades of green on a few leaf fronts and a few red/browns on their unders, then did a quick hand-painted thin vein lines down the face of each leaf in random contrasting greens. The results fit the Halfland rustic visual style and did the magic trick of something that's hand-made. Because each one is loved for a minute while painting it, it strikes a reasonable balance between the store bought leaf and my handicraft.

PLUS--After I worked this point out for myself, I came to remember a cabbage prop that I "took*" from Julie Taymor's film, "Fool's Fire" (*Hey, they were just throwing all of them out and that was so wrong to this obsessed fan!) Above on the left you can see it along with a still shot of the main character running through the cabbage patch in the film where it was actually used. Up close this cabbage too is a real slop slop job--however--on camera it has a wonderful handcrafted feel and provides a perfect illusion, matching her film's aesthetic style. When I grasped that idea, I was even more convinced that I knew what to do with my leaves.

Today's test samples are on the upper right. I used tinted flexible cement to adhere the painted stems to the finished test branches. I'm thrilled to see the tree coming to life.

Now please allow me to describe the techniques I tried earlier today that didn't work on the leaves: texture paint (didn't really alter the plastic stem surface much for a lot of trouble in brushing it on, plus it's expensive.), non-toxic spray paint in aresol can (this stuff would be perfect for what it is designed to do which is to spray color onto fabric, even though the leaves are fabric, their surface couldn't hold the color much.), adding corn starch to paints to thicken them (this just chipped right off when dry.)

I re-decided to tile the flat stair surfaces inside the cottage. But this time they'll be a solid ochre/terra cotta color in order to compliment, not conflict, with the patterned tiles made for the risers. And this time I worked out a (if I say so myself) clever method of creating the custom tiles to the exact spaces they need to go. I took masking tape to the set and pieced down the shapes for each stair step, peeled these shapes up in one piece to use as paper templates on the rolled out slabs of clay. I cut these clay shapes into tiles squares and will simply mosaic them in place in the cottage after they're painted. This is so much easier than trying to create a mosaic that will fit the unusual spaces, after the fact.
And in other outdoor news... I stumbled upon how good the exterior walls might look painted with a mixture of gesso and pale yellow acrylic. (See the before and after in the middle shot, new color on right.) I'm very happy with the look and I feel it had to go down the way it did, first dark brown, then the sheer finish, probably just like real folk Tudor style cottages might look after the rot with age.

After the whole set is nearing completion, I'll be diving onto the whole thing with some black/brown dilute "bug juice" to age it all nicely.

Having an incredibly fun time working on this project now. I still spend a lot of time imagining the characters and the story as well. There are slight moments of feeling that it is too much to be done. But I step over those feelings and get on with the next thing to be done.

I am also getting the feeling that after Halfland is done, I'd really want to do it all again because it's so enjoyable, so why not enjoy it now?!

I wish that feeling for all my friends.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Prop Preview

Hand-painted, folk-patterned ceramic tiles now further adorn Rana's hearth and stair risers. Here they are temporarily stuck on with Quake wax so I could try out different ideas, later they'll be cemented into the truck itself.

Yesterday and today was all about painting the tiles for the cottage's interior. it took me a long time to get the color and pattern that did the trick. And in another surprise the tiles I painted for the flat surfaces didn't work so now I'll keep that either dirt or hardwood planks.

I also re-shaped the roots, on the right and on the reverse of the trunk, to add more free-standing shapes that I'm loving so much. This was the stage to add in further structure like this. Soon the form will be complete.

While forming the roots, I thought I'd better trot out Rana's stand in puppet and prop in some of her kitchen props onto the masked set to garner what height to place a shelf and other real lifestyle ideas. I have to look way past all the rough edges and lack of fine detail, but I am getting excited to see things could possibly come together soon enough. [click to enlarge image.]

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tree Surgery

I wasn't expecting this! I took a scalpel to the tree roots inside to subtract some of the solid bulk to make it a more 3-dimensional formation. I LOVE the change! and the structure is surprisingly strong. The large puppet can still sit on that unsupported root quite securely

I also plastered up the three tree chim-nees and made some earthen clay tiles to scale.

Earlier today I thought the chimneys each belonged to different creatures that live in or around the Answer Tree; Rana got one, the Writing Mouse from way down under in the roots was connected too. The third might belong to whatever being provides the answers to the questions whispered into the tree's hollow ear that the Mouse then writes down on the leaves.

We would never see this wise creature, but I think it's kind of nice to imagine something else living quietly in there. If Rana is wisdom, and the mouse (with human hands by the way!) writes down the answers that slowly grow to emerge on the tree's leaves, perhaps the other creature is "Knowing" itself.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Trusting Hands

On the left is the hearth area, whose flat surfaces will now be finished off with earthen tiles to scale. I will roll out air dry clay and score square tiles to the sizes wanted and I'll snap them into tiles when they dry. The middle shows my surprise new kitchen embellishment cemented on last night. The right shows how it looked tonight after I'd grouted it all in and masked off the walls in preparation for finalizing the tree's cementing and painting.

Between yesterday and today I added the last two tubs of FlexAll I had here, I'll need approximately 3 more to coat the roots of the tree and add a little more impasto bark texture.

Last night I was delighted by what my hands did, contrary to my mind. I had always imagined a hewn wooden mantle above Rana's oven/hollow in the tree. But instead I found myself embellishing it and the "grown in" kitchen cabinet with little ceramic tiles in red, ochre, and pink. I had bought a bunch of them, several years ago, to tile the hearth area in front of the oven before my decision to raise the tree higher necessitated my prying the grouted tiles back up. I was able to salvage the amount that I used for this new use. I'm delighted with the result and think it will make the half of the tree that falls inside the cottage much more homey. Now I'm thinking of adding a mantle at the bottom of the opening, like a cooking deck. Very pizza ovenish, love it.

I also added two little carved wooden fish onto the surface of the truck in a feeding formation. No real reason, I'll just dig it as a little rustic touch when the rest is done. The tree incorporates things into itself it seems.

Leaves leaf me stumped.
Oh, the many things I tried today to get the silk leaves to work. I painted, I glued, I layered, did everything with everything I could imagine to make them look more naturalistic. No matter what I did they still screamed, "Hi, I'm PLASTIC and STORE BOUGHT, lallal la la la!"

My current thought is to cement little twigs onto the branches and then glue bare, painted leaves onto them because I can't get the plastic, manufactured veining to jibe with Halfland. At the same time, I can't allow the leaf production to become overly time intensive. It's gotta be, slap slop paint, dry, turn, slap slop other paint, assembly line fashion, real quick.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Leaves, Me Alone

The price tags on them say they are $7.99 a big, clustered stem. Could it be I spent about $90 bucks on leaves for the Tree?! (That plus the 6-7 tubs of FlexAll at the same price, plus the plumbing pipes armature inside, the Tree in raw costs come in so far at about $150) Woo, priceless.

In addition to painting on another quart of cement on the Answer Tree today, I also brought out the Tree's bushel of silk oak leaves, purchased downtown a couple years ago, gone quite dusty. There were about 9-10 "stems" of about 30 leaves in a variety of sizes and shades of green on each stalk. I cut them all off the plastic stems in their clusters of three (as seen on the bottom two photos) and sorted them roughly by size, from largest to smallest.

I took a couple and stuck them on branches to test the method I had in mind for putting them on. It's going to work great. There are a few steps I'll need to take to process the leaves before I put them on though.

I'm going to try painting the undersides with a reddish mixture of matte medium and crimson acrylic to cover over the plastic veining the leaves are made with. Plastic will not do in Halfland. Many of the leaves are glued onto the veins askew so I'm tempted to remove them paint them separately and have the added benefit of keeping the veins a lighter shade, and then gluing them back together with matte medium. If that works, That's what I'd like to do.

I'll also be trying a few treatments to the topsides too, even going so far as to reprint the vein effect on the top with a custom made rubber stamp (yes, I have carving rubber tiles here in the unstumpable shop!) I have to process the leaves until they no longer feel store bought or show any sign of being manufactured. It's still worth it to have bought them though because it saved me many hundreds of hours trying to cut out the intricate shapes by hand!

I learned something KEY while deconstructing the stems today. I assumed the large leaves would grow on the bottom most branches and the smallest on the finest branches at top. WRONG! It seems that instead nature prefers to mix it up and will sprout and grow where the getting's good. So, I plan now to follow that touch of realism and mix the sizes along each branch, keeping sure to put the very smallest only at the highest tips.

All sorted, all sorts, and nuts! The size-sorted leaves stand ready for processing now, can't wait. These silk oak stems even came with real acorns!

"There is not a particle of life that does not carry poetry within it."
--Gustave Flaubert

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I added another quart to the beautiful Answer Tree into the early evening.

Another quart of FlexAll disappeared into the tree this afternoon. I have three more to add. I LOVE doing this. It is so gratifying to paint this cement over a delicate construct of branches and have it dry to a stable sculptural set. I'm going to have a lot of fun painting it when it's all done and then adding the leaves, one by one.

I've been thinking ahead on how to do that exactly. My current thought is to drill stem sized holes everywhere I'd like a leaf to be, and then adhere each leaf in one with tinted cement.

I also started looking at the wood trim for the cottage interior. I'm thinking of cutting lengths of shoe moulding scraps, staining them brown, and then hot-gluing each piece onto the bottoms of the walls. But I'm thinking of laying down the hardwood floor slats first and then positioning the baseboards on top. In other words, the baseboard shoe moulding wouldn't touch all the way down to the bare set floor, so it'd be a better order to do things.

Art Bonus:
I'm so proud of this, had to share. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a party where I snapped an ambient light photo of a little redheaded boy munching on a giant strawberry as big as his hand. It was a classic capture but the photo quality was blurry so instead I transformed it into the natural media-looking illustration you see above, on the left.

I loved the way it turned out so much I had them made into notecards (by Shutterfly) and packaged them as a gift, with matching chartreuse envelopes from Paper Source, for my hosts to give to the kid's parents, their friends. I hope they'll use them for summer notes to loved ones and enjoy them.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Now Sanguine

I came across this ad (storybook theme for a flooring company) that was a pretty exact replica for Rana's cottage interior.

It's got the tudor glass bay window seat, exposed beam ceiling, hand-plastered walls, curved arch-shaped doorways, fireplace with rough-hewn mantle, hardwood floors, etc. I had to buy the magazine to get it in case I couldn't find it again online (I did above). Seeing it gives me more confidence to make my version of it.
Over the weekend I brought out the beautiful fabrics that will be used to make Rana's elaborate clothing. I was surprised to see that the wall colors, already painted, matched exactly--But I mean--exactly. That made me feel so much better.

Today I decided to simply mix a kitchen-sink batch of pomegranate/rose/maroon color to even out the shading and de-emphasize the irregular plaster texture. I feel it worked and I'm perfectly happy to push on now to finish out the interior.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Color Me Crazy

Today I filled in the white spaces with leftover mix of the exterior paint wash. I patched up a couple of plaster spots that had been loosened in the aftermath of Plaster Festival 2007. Since the shot of the prepped cottage you see above from this morning, I have added a darker brown to the outside and a more solid cadmium red to the inside. The swatch strip shows some of the colors the walls have been painted today.

Outside: I'm still working out the cottage colors. I wasn't crystal clear on where I was going with the colors, just a vague sense of earthiness and woodsiness. A lot of my reference images of this type of cottage show them being pale yellow or stained white on the outside, contrasted with dark brown timbers. Could have done that but I really wanted to get on there with some color instead. --?--

Inside: Ok, these brazen boudoir red walls are my gnarly issue right now. I didn't know how I want the interior walls to look exactly, except for them needing to be monochromatic, red wine/maroon to match with the planned soft furnishings. I want the interior of the cottage to feel entirely warm, inviting, and cozy--NO COOL HUES/TONES WHATSOEVER. Outside this house is for other palates of life, but in here, it's gotta be these colors.

Unfortunately, right now the interior walls look oooky (yuccky) not right and I don't know how to remedy it except to keep adding diluted layers of color until it reaches "right". The slop slop texture of the plaster looks great on the outside, but less workable for the inside. I have to keep in mind lighting for camera as well. I know how to get good light on a light object but if I make the interior walls too dark and solid will I be able to make it look rich? I'll have to do a few tests to see what I'm getting.

I will say that the entire cottage interior is so rough and slipshod that it really does look like a goat built it--no--like a goat CHEWED IT! But in the end I believe I'll be able to sort it all out and make it work. Although, that may be accomplished by simply overlooking the walls.


Paul enjoying the first issue of Halfland Magazine!
Well, it's really just a little soft bound photobook of various Halfland character sketches that I've done so far from Viovio. It's so nice to have a bound document of the progress as I go along. (It only cost me $7.50 for a 25 page book and the print quality, especially on the glossy cover, is excellent.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

This Week's Debri-f

Some of the debris of this project love affair.

It's been a fantastic week here in Halfland! I worked everyday on the project and made real progress, that shows. Today I removed every last bit of blue tape from the plastered walls, even resorting to giant screwdriver and mallet at a few places. Let me tell you these walls are tough as nails! I pounded away for hours all over them and they behaved as if they were rock solid.

I bought four more quarts of Flex-All compound and a special finishing brush today that will allow me to completely cover the rest of the branches, and double coat them in needed places as well as the whole truck and roots. This is so fun.

Tomorrow, when the sun is in the sky so I can see real color, I plan on mixing up some more colors to add to the walls, inside and out.

It's been a great week, thank you so much for all your support. Here's more exciting Halfland developments...

A.) This little frog nestled in a water lily would make a great reveal of the Time Frog when Kyra the mermaid arrives at the cottage's shore!

B.) The is a real satellite image of a large island, with a giant lake in it, with it's own island in the lake, that in turn has it's own lake. (I'm not kidding.) This seems to me to be the sort of topography of Halfland, should that ever need to be further fleshed out, with say... a Halfland map!?!

C.) This image of a young man up in the boughs of a blooming tree reaching down to hand us a blossom (copyright: artist David Meanix) gave me a wonderful addition to the Yanu character action. If Yanu tries to hand Rana a flower while Tarn is unwell, that would nicely foreshadow the Flowering Thoughts that cure her at the movie's end. A swell touch.

D.) This is an underwater shot of beautiful colors with lilypads. This would make a nice way to show that Kyra has traveled to a freshwater stream from the sea we followed her into at the film's start. Thinking of this is a nice "polishing" script development.

E.) This illustration (can't recall where I snagged it, my apologies to the artist) is real close to how I'd like to affect the landscape around the cottage main set. Although, with no lines, body shapes instead, and more naturalistic color.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cottage Say, "Cheese!"

Basecoat of color washes added to cottage inside and out today. Paul found me chilling inside the cottage messy and werking when he came home.

I applied another quart of FlexAll to more branches today, seen above left. I also mixed a batch of sienna/brown/crimson acrylic wash and rubbed it into the entire cottage exterior, then wiped away the excess to expose the depth of texture. This is a base coat in that I plan to add additional washes to increase the dimension of color and to weather the surfaces.

I also mixed up a batch of crimson/yellow base and drenched the entire cottage interior with it. I'm not sure what additional colors I'll add to it in the end but I did know that Rana's cottage interior is almost a feast of monochromania of this rich maroon with sumptuous fabrics and ceramics, relieved only by bits of ochre.

I removed the bay window section's blue making tape over the wooden Tudor timbers. I should really say that I "excavated" the tape. It was a chip chip method getting it out from under all that dried plaster. I found some hidden bare plaster under all that tape in places so I'm hoping my next color wash, over the timbers too, will manage to blend it all together.

Next steps:

1. Remove the rest of the tape from all wall panels.
2. Put next color wash on exterior and interior.
3. Clean off set and set area, start mocking up the surrounding landscape.
4. Finish cementing up the tree branches and trunk.

Woo hoo. How are you doing?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The branches are made of a mixture of materials seen upper left. Got a portion of it painted in flexible cement today, see right. Bottom left is a close up of a dried branch's bark-like texture.

Today I painted on one quart of pre-mixed FlexAll (Limestone, Ethylene glycol, Acrylic Copolymer) onto a selection of tree branches. It looks so much better than I thought it would. I thought I'd have to apply several layers and perhaps even press a real bark texture cast into the wet compound to get a naturalistic bark look. But it seems that this flexible cement-like material dries with just the right amount of grain in its surface all by itself.

Out of the tub, it's a sticky, butter-cream frosting consistency. I painted it on all the surfaces of a bit of the tree's branches, which are composed of a mixture of real twigs and branches (picked up during local wind storms), reinforced at the joins with masking tape and papier mache, plastic tubing, chicken wire, etc. By covering the whole thing with this unifying material the idea was to have the tree look as if it grew as it is, without being able to notice where the joins were created or what parts aren't natural. It already looks exactly as I would wish, and the illusion will increase further when layers of bark color are added, as well as the hundreds of leaves! I dragged the brush through the layer after about 30 minutes to get a kind of raked result. Who knew that was how to get the texture I wanted? Maybe this is how real trees are made?

I have another quart here and plan to buy about 3 more for Friday (right hand packed in ice from today's work) to finish this stage of the tree. Very exciting and fun for me to watch this action stage actually happen!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Buttoned Up My Overcoat

Back of cottage, from the tree side. All of the Tudor timbers are buried under heavy plaster work for now.
Garden side and interior detail of loft shelf and a crooked wall seam/join.
I brought out some of my visual references and spread them out on the floor, a couple of details from the cottage interior collection. I could lose myself in these precious images that I've collected for Halfland from books, magazines and off the web.

Follow up: the plaster mache, where I use thin plaster instead of starch on paper to make it stronger more quickly, worked really well. It did dry all the way out and was indeed hard as a rock. Good trick.

Another 10 today, I added heavy brown papier mache to the interior of the tree to fortify it before a plaster layer goes on because if a substrate flexes the plaster will flake right off. I made many many small batches (ask me how many big batches went hard in the pail before I figured that out!) of plaster and coated everything inside and out again. I used wax paper strips between each wall panel to enable me to build up plaster at the joins, while being able to separate them when dry. I took the all the walls panels apart in order to plaster mache the underside of the little loft/shelf under the eyebrow window over the bay window.

In prior layers of these walls, I tried to be very clean and as precise as possible. But I realized that in this case, texture is a plus, so I roughed it up, slop slop style. It will photograph better and looks perfectly fine for in person viewing. I also found that I actually like the places where the walls come together to be crooked and imprecise. After all, all this is supposed to look like a goat built it!!!

Next steps:
1.) Swirl on diluted acrylic paint colors in umber and brown washes onto the walls, inside and out. COLOR!!!!!!
2.) Brush on the two pints of Flex All flexible filler that I have onto the tree's branches. NO MORE PAPER!!!!!
3.) Craft landscape set satellite piece bases out of cardboard flats, and support tube legs. REAL PROGRESS!!!!!

Gloves? Bah. I Laugh at Gloves!

I brushed, and then slathered by hand, regular plaster of paris onto the entire cottage interior. It looks exactly as I wanted. I also bare-handed papier mached a layer of painter's masking paper onto the entire tree. This paper is very thin yet strong even when drenched in liquid starch, whereas newspaper falls apart.
Good chunk of work done today. I started late in the afternoon, after watching yet another primo 1/2L. day go down the housework tubes. I lamented my plight to my Twitter peeps when Sven egged me to get 10 minutes done on the project, you know, a baby step. Well, that was 10 hours ago. Thanks Sven!

Here's something. I've never heard of anyone doing this before, forgive me if everyone knew but me, but I may have invented papier pl√Ętre. Using plaster instead of starch, I tried to make one of the cottage's curved walls stronger in situ. Strips of heavy brown bag paper dipped in a thinned plaster/water solution worked perfectly going on, just like regular papier mache would. I'll report back on whether it dries out at all and if so, whether it is tougher than regular style mache.

I like where this is going and hope to do another 10 tomorrow.

gooey but happy, night.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Thank you, Everyone

Our most sincere heartfelt thanks to each one of you that took the time to write to let us know about your sympathy and your own experiences with losing pets. It meant so much to get your messages of understanding and comfort. We miss her. The bed seems empty and finding her wire toy kinda plunks a heartstring. We keep getting used to it. A pet is a small matter compared to a human I do realize. It's just that this little experience has schooled us a bit in the closing cycle of life and how being alive is such a precious gift to be relished.

On that note, I can't wait to dive back into HALFLAND work! As I drive around L.A. and see all the houses, I practically drool in excitement to finish constructing the cottage. Back to it tomorrow. Please visit this space again for Action Posts!

Thank you all, again.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Catalina Noble-Kaye Has Passed Away

This morning, well yesterday now, our eldest cat, friend, companion, Catalina passed away. We were weepy all day about our loss but not at all regretful about her time coming. She was a long-lived girl. Born June of 1989 and passing in this June of 2007, making her a nice, round, symmetrical, 18 years old. That's a full life, and boy! did she ever live one!

This cat has been on two islands, ridden on a boat, flown on a plane, driven in a truck across the USA. She'd seen a horse a few inches from her face, she's romped in snow that was taller than her in New York, she'd gotten her head stuck in a glass globe like an astronaut, on and on. Oh. boy, this cat's had some real adventures!

Everyday for the last few I'd been amazed to see her alive, how could she be when she was only living on a thimbleful of food, if that? Even so, when Paul saw her this morning laying neatly on a supple, soft, misty blue blanket near our bed, he knew it was finally over. We stared at her a long while, trying to grasp the entire little notion... of death. There it was in front of us for our first time.

Those who have lost pets, or more importantly loved ones (God forfend), already know what it's like, but we hadn't any experience with it before really. It took a while to have it sink in. We wrapped her in a beautiful, regal, black silk shroud, lay her in a comfortable box. Paul wrote her name on it while I pasted her photo on. Paul took her to a place that will manage the rest. If we had a yard of some kind in a safe area, we would have buried her ourselves. It was odd to all of a sudden understand more about funerals and loss in a primal, hard-wired way for the first time vs. a more cultural, sociological way as when friends have passed.

A reflection of candlelight on the surface of a recent photo on her little tabletop memorial today.
I got her on Catalina Island in the summer of 1989. She was an irresistible give-away kitten, so little and cute. Don't you agree?
On the left, Catalina, happy as an "only cat" on Long Island in 1993. When we got three other cats over the years she was not pleased about it at all. If a cat can be depressed, I'd say she was, often. Although, this year we saw her allowing a sort of napping friendship with the peacemaker, Jeremiah Noble -Kaye.
She had a playful nature and was often silly when happy. On the right you see her about to pounce on that wild mouse--I mean piece of wire.
When I married Paul, I officially gave Catalina to him, (there was no use keeping those two lovers apart) This is his favorite photo of her.
While cleaning up today, I realized something wonderful. When we moved in to this loft four years ago and painted the floors, Catalina decided she would walk across it before the paint was dry. So, while she is truly gone from our home today, her little paw prints remain like a trace of her presence here. How lovely a comfort it is.
The last several weeks, perhaps into months, I've been able to spend a lot of time with Catalina. She'd transformed into a much more loving, sweet, and affectionate cat in her last few weeks. I was able to spend many hours, several minutes at a time, cuddling, kissing, and reminiscing with her about her wild adventures, coaxing her to eat a little something and to purr.

Paul and I were allowed a great deal of time to prepare ourselves for our friend and housemate to leave this life. She'd stopped eating much for weeks, then nothing at all. Finally, in the last couple days she could no longer manage to drink, even though we could tell that she wished to. Her body, after a full long life for any cat, was giving way.

We'd never experienced this before, this watching someone, albeit not a human, pass away essentially from old age, regardless of whatever else she had going on. We watched her body shutting itself down very gently and slowly, having to see her so slight and light that picking her up felt more like we were holding a dried baby bird rather than a robust cat.

If cat's can have personalities, then Catalina's was all about her dignity (that's why she liked Paul better than me). We hoped to be able to give her a painless, comforting, loving transition from her life by keeping her here with us without medical care. We questioned whether she was suffering frequently but saw no such indication of discomfort or stress aside from her having to experience the decline of the natural dying process overall.

I can say that she died with great dignity, nobility, and strength to her last moment. It was an enlightening and graceful experience for us to witness, one that we'll always be grateful to her for giving us, at her end.

God bless.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


(Updated 6/7ish)
"Handcrafted" just popped out when I went to type. I like it. You?

Last question, you've been very kind, waiting while I work this out; "Handcrafted Stop-Motion Animation" or "Handcrafted Animation"? I added smoke too. Almost there.

The first button, I made several weeks ago for the Pink Snail, the middle, shows my attempt tonight at creating type on a curve for it, the last, was last year's button featuring Bosq and the Writing Mouse. (Actual size; 1.5" diameter, a.k.a: smaller than you are viewing here.)

I thought I'd try harder and make some type on a curve for the next Highly-Collectible Halfland Limited-Edition Memorabilia Button. I wanted to get all fancy about it, maybe weave the white chimney smoke through the letters, but all I got was a fussy mess. After taking a lot of time, adding a bleed to the art, and fooling around with it, I think the initial type layout works better. It's stronger and easier to read at the small size. I decided not to add the full blog address to these anymore as (God Bless) Google can lead people here, if they aren't familiar with blogs too much.

Any thoughts on the wording; Independent Animation Series vs. Stop-Motion Animation? Any feedback on these little gems? Anyone who would like one sent to them who hasn't already been put on the private list? eh?

I plan to order 'em next week.

Art is Life Quote*:

"The only gift of learning a technique
is the moment we are able to transcend it." --Eric Pearl

(*This one is for all the animators out there slaving away learning to walk and bounce balls, waiting for their moment when they are able to perform.)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Crying Wolf

Micheal K. Strider Brent, if you don't show up online somewhere to let us know you are alright, I'm going to get on a plane (!) and go to your city and track you down like a dog.

(Update: All is well... Thank God becaue I hate flying!)
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