Some more frosty vistas from rural Ireland this past Winter. Taken during the dreamy golden hour the wildflowers full of reindeer moss and bog grasses like little licks of flames ablaze against the bluish blankets of cushy snow.
It has been a bit since an update for The Lighthouse Keeper. I have been continuing to film scenes during the early hours of the morning and after a failed attempt at butchering some fake tea lights I caved and found a better alternative for the protagonists all important emblem of caged light. Shadow puppet animation is a completely new realm for me and with it comes a slew of hurdles to overcome but experimenting and noticing the techniques of how light affects shadows is a really fulfilling. Here is some screenshots of some filmed scenes, more to come.
Some further throwback photos from my trip back home to the emerald Isle last Winter. I remember when I took these photos, it was during a couple of crisp evenings when the golden hour sunset lit up the glistening frost and reflected the warm slitted cloud formations.
Some further experiments of light painting photography taken from a while back. Situated in the middle arch of the high vaulted ceilings within our house, I like this spot a lot. I love how the arch frames the pool of light and how a sliver of light rims the skirting boards. I must admit while taking these photos it is easy to get spooked as the only light source was my makeshift bicycle light from which the light painting is born and while peering into the long pitch black corridors made it feel like at times I may not be alone, which only adds to the experience.
When I was an ambassador for University one hot summer similar to the melting heat in the UK at the moment I was tasked with taking down the graduate shows of the students that proudly presented their creative work to their family, friends and fellow students. I spent a few weeks dismantling the makeshift wooden stages, pulling out nails and painting over the brightly coloured stripes and symbols that students designed to present their work in theme with their creations.
One task that I had to do was take large painted canvases that students had painted on and throw them into the skip near the smokers shed where I spent many lunch breaks laughing and smoking my lungs out with my friends and classmates. It always saddened me to know that some students would rather dump their work no matter how large the canvas was, so instead of giving them the heave-ho into the trash I told my thrifty friends of the free large canvases that they happily decided to take back to their uni homes and upcycle to their hearts contents, painting and drawing what they please.
I kept the largest canvas for myself, Dripping in sweat carrying this beast down the iconic Rochester hill and ended up sandwiching it into my tiny uni bedroom. I never did anything with the canvas for years – it has since followed me along with two house moves. I have had ideas, I cut out all the silhouettes I kept from life drawing classes and thought about doing a collage of all of them together on the large canvas, but never did but I always knew I would when the time was right.
I have always loved Rutenberg’s kaleidoscope of colours, with the blocks of different variants of hues having such an immense power of depth to them. I thought it would be the perfect chance to finally let loose upon this canvas and use the many tubes of paint that I have stashed from many Christmases gifts that otherwise have been left to gather dust. I couldn’t think of any better way to spend a hot day – sitting outside in the heat with a cold beer or two and painting away in the garden. It was a therapeutic experience to say the least. I think I may have to figure out how to make my own canvases.
I usually do not share photos of myself here but I wanted to share this photo for a competition entitled “People at work” with Art Full Frame. The Contest description reads as “During this year due to the pandemic everything has changed, our habits, our way of approaching life and our way of working.People across the globe are trying to get back to normal. We are gradually taking back possession of our lives with many of us going back their work place.
Many have converted their homes into offices, whilst others have been forced to change their working practices to accommodate the new Covid safe procedures. Just to mention a few with restaurants, shops and personal care. Some have even had to start all over again, whilst for others nothing has changed. With this photo contest we invite you to capture People at Work, before, during or after the pandemic. It is not important when the photos were taken, what we are interested in is looking at the world through your eyes.”
Inspired by the twisted landscapes of Alice in Wonderland and campy colourful slasher film posters my submission is a very tongue & cheek satirical view on the work from home aspect that has been implemented into many of our lives because of Covid -19. There has been times where my own home has felt like the enemy, times where I feel smothered by the four walls where I spend most days and where I could feel like my lanky limbs could burst through its fixtures at any moment. On numerous occasions I have felt like a digital detox is certainly needed – from the browsers and zoom calls, the terms, keywords and overabundant hypertext. I know a lot of us have felt like this, although many would wear a professional bravado when plugged in through zoom calls and meetings. But what goes on behind the screens? Are they wearing pants?
Recently coming across the exquisite painterly photographs of Belgian photographer Léonard Misonne (1870-1943) who famously said “The subject is nothing, light is everything” to say that I am inspired by his work is an understatement. It is hard to approach Misoone’s work knowing that they are photographs when they look like soft, luminous oil paintings that a master of the craft spent hours mulling over to get the right amount of tenderness. Back in the day it is intriguing to know that Misonne relied on manipulating his photographs during the printing process to get the mood he sought and to that I never understand why people turn their nose up to manipulating photos as even way back then it is still a tool used to help the intent wanted.
I decided to search through the many hard drives I have stored full of photos with the majority taken from my excursions around rural Ireland this past Winter. I picked a bunch that I thought would be ideal to experiment with to see if I can mimic a fraction of Misoone’s glowing photographs. Although these photos were taken in the dead of Winter, the dew brimmed evergreen spruces and ground foaming with moss makes it hard to distinguish.
While editing these photos I feel like I have learned something fundable about photography – when you take detail out of things in favour of something softer the colour can be left to sing which makes the photograph feel more painterly and makes the viewers eye not focus on one thing in particular but take everything in as a whole, which I think can give more mood, tone and emotional intent. Not to say that photography that is sharply focused doesn’t have its own impact, just that it hits differently. Photography is a relatively new medium for me and experimenting to find artists, elements and approaches that I admire and that give me an initial feeling of loving the way a piece looks is exhilarating, figuring out the why is the important part and it is always exciting when you find it.
This weeks kick about over on Red’s Kingdom revolves around the life and times of German animator Lotte Reinager who was the pioneer of shadow puppet animation. The responses from all the creatives offer an eclectic bunch of contributions to feast your eyes on. When doing research for the Howard Sooley – Prospect Cottage prompt I came across the inspiring work of Reinager and since then I have been busy cutting, gluing and making for a shadow puppet animated short entitled The Lighthouse Keeper which centres around the peculiar landscape of Dungeness and a couple of burley blokes. Creating something for the sake of creating and figuring out the hurdles and bumps is what proves most enjoyable about delving into a fresh medium that I have yet to attempt. The stage is now set, the characters are ready to move, the lights are on and with it the sheer joy of seeing the cutout shapes and silhouettes lit up ablaze brings a smile to my face that makes the absolute bomb site of my shrinking bedroom all worth it.
I am sharing the majority of the cut out shapes, the stage and silhouettes that will feature in the film as well as some lighting and staging tests that feature the main protagonist. I will be showcasing all the nitty and gritty process here, things that worked, things that didn’t and how I plan on animating elements that would require more than just my two hands.