Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Morning from Halfland

Hope you are enjoying a warming cup of tea with Rana this morning... as a new year dawns.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mirror Mirror

I am realizing more and more how much of a creative influence Dare Wright's (MASTERPIECE!!!!) Lona; a Fairy Tale has had on me all my life and on what Halfland aspires to be. Could it be that I have backed into the secret of how some of its magic was achieved?!
On the right you see a detail of a page from this most beautiful of all books, featuring a bewitched toad (a former and to be once again prince) with a jewel embedded in his head. It's one of my favorite illustrations from her story, primarily because of the GORGEOUS distortion and blurring the maker reached as the long fingers holding the toad smear (see full frame below) in the most perfect, delicate, and beautiful stretches I've ever seen. Every illustration in the book is screamingly achingly alluring.

I had thought Dare Wright achieved the distortion effect with lenses. Many artists are currently practicing "free lensing" or lens whacking" to get wonderful aberrations in their captures. I was trying various methods like that in my test shots when I came across an spread in the WSJ magazine where the photographer Anthony Cotsifas and his stylist Michael Reynolds (who were in turn inspired by André Kertész's distortion series.) instead employed the use of carnival fun-house mirrors to photograph the still-life(s) for the editorial. The effect was dreamy, as any fantasy like Halfland should be presented, and watery and yet somehow also perfectly clear.

On the left and center above you see the small mirror (from Carnival Mirror) set up on the reversed pond set. Below, a few experiments shot directly into that mirror. I made a little stop motion test to see how the effect appeared in motion. Very very interesting.

Interesting enough to buy a larger mirror to possibly shoot several scenes of the film.
First quick test shots utilizing the small mirror. The final shots will be less "psychedelic" and more planned.
Shot of Lona's toad spread from my precious 1962 copy

Monday, December 09, 2013

She's So Vein

That really worked! I love the way the arteries and veins on the old goatwoman Rana's hands have come out.  The silk and painted elastic as applied on both sides of both hands on left. How these look when papered under several layers of cream washi on right.

Loads of nice wrinkles and pulsating blood in her veins visible now. Totally worth the effort to add this detail. Hands are very important and this puppet's wisdom and age are a large part of her character.

I'll next tend to her nails with layers of wood glue for a translucent, shell-like finish.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

That's Really Underhanded

Unfortunately, it occurred to me that since I still needed to cover the Rana puppet with a top layer of cream washi, this would be a good time to add a bit of under-the-skin architecture.

I cut small circles of brown crepe paper and glued them onto knuckles that needed more buckling. I painted gossimer floss elastic cord with ultramarine blue acrylic paint mixed with elastic fabric adhesive. These cords were glued in place on the insides of her wrists and the backs of her hands. Then I picked up a clump of silk threads that happened at that moment to be on the studio floor. Pulled apart the red-colored fibers and glued them down with elastic glue haphazardly as well. I used a wood glue manicure on her nails to make them rigid. And added a dot of wool felt in the place where the bump of the wrist bone would show.

Underlying Architecture.

I say it was unfortunate because when I get these ideas--that's it--I get fixated on seeing whether it will work like a dog digging for a bone. Rana is an old woman and as I age I see my own hands getting "cords" and veins and wrinkly knuckles and sort of more of a gnarled look as I use my hands a lot. I thought this old woman's hands should have that same sort of feeling.

Not anatomically realistic (I didn't make the cords white and the veins blue as they really appear under the skin.) just more how older hands feel. I'm hoping the end effect, after the new additions are covered under layers of paper, will simply feel right, and be felt as an old Halfland woman's as she goes about her business.
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