Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Boys in my Hood

Boys in my Hood, originally uploaded by Nobledesign.
D's three (THREE!!!) boyz visited the art studio the other day.

While D helped me straighten out my set on a Saturday, his wonderful sons made many many drawings in crayon, chalks, and watercolors, drew on the floor in sidewalk chalk, tried to watch dvd's but got bored with that, played with exercise balls, ran around, made water balloons, and cooled down with watermelon.

At the end of the long day, they were charmingly delighted to take home all the art to show mom!

More on the BIG changes on the set shortly!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's My Bag, Man

My Grandmother gave me an old African? Afghani? Moroccan? pouch many many years ago. It was half the size of what you see above. Each side had the hand-worked pattern and featured five circles of mirrored glass. I covered the shiny blue mirrors with hand-painted paper flowers and sewed the two squares into one larger one. Backed it with lush woven linen and made a strap from vintage textile. Filled it with spent flower heads, flower petals, and a bundle of medicinal herbs wrapped in woven coth. I made the bag closure from a hand-carved bead (--with the EXACT petal shape motif running along it!) and miniature cloth tassel.

No one was more surprised than me that Urhu would have a medicine bag. And now it will sit next to him outside his tent on the mats while he waits for the troop to arrive seeking his help.

There's More Lute, Make a Bow!

I made two additional sacred nature instruments for the Urhu character to have inside the tent. This one connects the music he plays to the idea of things growing more overtly, with its neck being made of living vines with buds of blossoms emerging on it. I love the intricate way the strings interwove themselves. The strings turn to gold when the music is played (upper right). The bow for this one has a double arch to it. I don't plan to animate these props but in my mind's eye, I can see the mysterious way it is played.
A couple weeks back, Sherie came over for an hour between obligations. Just enough time to construct the curly twig bow for Urhu's primary sacred Erhu Lute (kindly modeled on the right by my very own precious wise man.)

Come Vis Me to the Casbah

New Writing Mouse Sketch

So this is odd, I had 12 different things I could have worked on today and what I did instead was sketch this mouse illustration. And it wasn't even on the list.
It feels like my first illustration for some reason. Maybe because it took me so many hours.

It started when I thought I'd do a quick Google search for a mouse silhouette to use as the basis for a template for the cottage's weather vane. I instantly had several options on my screen as if my magic. (I still can't get over the web's wizardry.) I tweaked the original on the left to use as the shape for an embossed copper vane, printed it out to size, and mocked it up on the (in construction) coppola (second from left).

I could/should have stopped there. But instead I added more character props and made him resemble the micro scale 3D puppet I've had for years; a little heavier, with whiskers, etc. (middle) Then I added texture and shading. I really liked how he looked (second from right) so I went further and added more surface texture and prop details. Ending the day (er night) with his costume kerchief.

Somewhere in the middle, I mocked up a little Halfland stationery with mirror image silhouetted mice and an acorn in the bottom corner. Here it is, in case you'd ever like to send notes from Halfland...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's Getting In-TENT-se Around Here!

Dear Friends, Much much much progress has been taking place in Halfland:

• The Macro Garden set (for close work on all butterfly actors and snail evening stroll scene) is nearly complete and exceeding my imagination for it by far thanks to Carol!

• The entire main set's White Paper Tree Forest Curtain Proscenium is also nearly finished (making the landscape of the cottage and tree like looking into a GIANT magical Easter Egg scene!) Thanks to Constance's help.

• Cirelle's been coming over Saturdays to finish the Cottage's Roof. It's genuinely at 99% done now! We just sized the dove coat to top it all off this afternoon.

• And the biggest surprise to me is that the Exterior and Interior Tent set (including EVERY thrilling prop for it) for the Serpent Sage Wise Man Musician has been built as well after Sherie started it all off only last week!!

Here's a little tease of the new tent interior for tonight as I'm so excited to show you all the action that's been going on...

Lots of process shots, design choice explanations, and details about the new builds forthcoming as soon as possible. Thank you all for your patience!

xoxo, s

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Rest in Peace, Jeremiah

Jeremiah's is gone. Here, several months back, he looked wonderful in a cabbage butterfly crown while sunning in the window in the shop.
Our sweet boy cat, Jeremiah, died on Saturday. We took him in his last hours to a good doctor who gave him a drug-aided death. We were with him the whole time. He died with the same noble grace and dignity he displayed all through his life and last couple weeks of failing health. Not a whimper, not a mess, no complaints.

I never thought I could make a decision to "take" a life of a pet, preferring to leave big things like that to nature. But it became too clear very quickly that he was dying a painful difficult death, not from old age but from an undiagnosed major disease of some kind and letting him ride it out any longer felt more cruel.
It all started with his 100% feral/wild mother in Benedict Canyon in the hills above LA. Here she is in our backyard at the time, pregnant, standing in a tree above a couple of previous litter kittens who are eating. She was churning out kittens 4 at a time every few months and there wasn't enough food or clean water to nourish them all (not to mention the canyon was full of hungry coyote packs munching on cats at night).

Jeremiah, was a rare Lilac-point Tonkinese (Russian Blue and Siamese mix) in one of her litters. He was so small and precious and light-colored we knew he could not survive as a wild canyon cat for long. I asked Paul to capture him for us. He did, with a box rigged with a string and baited with food. After he calmed down over being inside for the first time, he started to play and splay his back legs like this. He was the cutest thing we'd ever seen.
Half-a-year later, we also captured his biological sister, from a subsequent litter, to give him a playmate and to save her life as well. They became inseparable as you can see.
We moved to several places after that and Jeremiah grew to be especially beautiful, strong, and agile. He had an amazing way of running to help another cat in distress instead of running away from the noise. For that I called him, "Fireman Cat". His jumps were breathtakingly graceful, even by a cat's standard, something to do with his strength and proportions. I noticed his "meow" sounded like the lilting ringing of a bell all his life. Yes, he was crossed-eyed.
We made a general house policy a few years ago, that we would stop spending hundreds of dollars on veterinarian care for our pets. We'd changed our financial approach and stopped using credit/debt for anything and decided that spending a great deal of money we didn't have on our animals would be unwise. So we bought the best quality food we could and let life go it's own way. They were animals after all, not people.

With Jeremiah's illness and death, however, we've come to a new understanding/learning. That if we are going to have pets we are going to have to be more responsible for their health care. With Jeremiah and his sister Isabella's being so wild (they never really tamed much) we thought taking them in for annual exams would be unnecessarily traumatizing for them. C'est la Vie, we'll take life as it comes. Not now.

Now we will take our pets in for annual exams and tests as part of their care. We still don't want to get every expensive test and medical procedure possible, and there's no guarantee that knowing what Jeremiah had would have given him more time, but we've decided to at least check them out as best we can and go from there.
Over the last year or so I can now in hindsight realize he'd been ill, he had taken to sleeping most of the day, needing way too much food (for a few years) and then more recently drinking more and more and having an oily coat. The last 3 weeks he lost all his flesh except for a bloated misshapen belly and finally could only drink water strained from fresh cans of tuna every hour. He'd look like death (no photos shown of that stage) and then would miraculously perk up and quietly cry when he heard a can being freshly opened to lap up the salty water.
Even though my mind saw that he was going and that there was nothing that could be done at this point, I still cried over his going. He was a good boy. And is missed everyday.

Dagoba, good boy.

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