Monthly Archives: March 2011

17 posts

The Gallery of Whimsy

After a few weeks of fighting with my shop (something about the update ate my visual editor) I decided to just start completely over  and re launch my gallery of whimsy in a more fun place! I spent all night re-uploading the pictures (most of them, the pictures I recently re-shot with our canon T3i) and writing descriptions, linking to etsy and now it’s all pretty and ready for some more!
Once winter stops being evil and/or I stop feeling sick – I can’t wait to get back into painting. In the mean time, check out my (new, awesome, pretty, updated) gallery –

Act or Die Notes #2

I read another quarter of the book today – out loud. As an aside, I never really noticed run-on sentences until I read aloud, then I was searching for periods so I could catch a breath. As I was reading I realized that I (like everyone else) subconsciously use grammar as cues to pause, breathe, emphasize etc. Which I found interesting. It makes sense, that is how grammar works, but you notice it much less when you’re reading silently, than when you’re trying to put volume to the words.
This section of the book was full of great exercises for allowing you to access yourself without judging. It’s sort of a recurring theme. Anyway, here are my notes from today and yesterday:

As an actor, research your character – in depth. Practice re-creating *a lot* because there will probably be more than one take. There’s a difference between repeating and re-creating. Re-creating is more interesting, do that.
As an actor listening is key – not just for cues, but listen to what’s going on in the scene, the subtext, the vibes. You need to think as the character, basically you need to be that person, what goes through the characters head is what’s running through your head. Acting does not stop at the end of your line, you need to continue to stay in character, have a continuous conversation (in your head) as that character even after your line is up – basically, just don’t be done all of a sudden.
Note the subtext – the unspoken things, the background, the what-just-happened and how-we-got-here parts of the scene/script. It adds interesting elements to an otherwise non-elemental script.Subtext non-verbally addresses what happened before the scene – either right before or in the distant past. The backgrounds come into play and also the need the character has for the future/moment influences how he/she will react/talk/live in that moment. Like meeting someone you have a crush on, or trying to be polite to someone who hurt you in the past. You might not say “oh this is tense!” but you feel it, and that’s  what needs to be conveyed in the subtext or feeling.
The biggest question is: Who are you as the character?Act without it looking like you’re acting. Do the research, ask yourself questions, never assumer you know the answer. You have to commit to the work, the character – you have to be that person, don’t ignore the minute details.
As an actor, don’t be consistent. Be human. Read/act with different perspectives – different parts of the character. Don’t classify characters as good guys, bad guys, heroes, or villains. Every villain is a hero – go places within you that make you uncomfortable and use that as a tool, a place to draw a perspective from.
Life experiences are your source material. Ask questions from the character’s point of view. What are the obstacles and how does the character deal with them?Think. Understand. Then Act. The character should be sort of second nature, you should unconsciously learn as the character and then your acting will seem natural.
Observe people, and how they act. Always demand more of yourself and dig deeper.
Use every part of yourself – don’t judge or repress the parts you think are “bad” and only use the pieces of yourself you deem “good”. Everything is material, you need to access it and use it – if it makes you uncomfortable that’s good. The energy of your thoughts/emotions will be caught on film.
Then, use this as the character – explore all sides of who the character is – the good, bad, strong, weak, scared, valiant. Because this is how people are. Everyone has conflicting sides of themselves, to act well, you need to use and channel those bits of yourself into the character – use those emotions and thoughts, and then your character will be real.

So I think the hardest thing, is not to put your acting self in a cage, and to know yourself and not hide from yourself, but channel it. Yet, it’s probably one of the most important elements, in order to appear legitimate and not like you’re “acting”. Way easier said than done, I’m sure but good advice nonetheless.

Book: Act or Die (notes)

Act or Die
In preparation for our film, aside from getting the camera equipment and such, we also bought a book (one of a few, I’m sure) called Act or Die.
If the title isn’t a give-away it’s all about acting, but it’s also recommended for directors. It came in the mail today and I got about half way through (taking time for writing notes).
I learned a lot about perspectives – Trying to read a paragraph in different perspectives (totally paraphrasing): Think of a time when you were most happy, and read the paragraph. Think of a time you were the most sad and read the same paragraph. Note the differences in your reactions/thoughts/perspectives and DON’T read yourself into or make judgements on it.
It was interesting to see how the thoughts and reactions that came from reading a paragraph in different lights were well, different. Starkly in some cases and subtly in others. The way the paragraph made sense changed depending on the perspective or background you were bringing into it. It was a great exercise actually in connecting to an emotion or an idea or background (helpful if you’re acting) even if you weren’t originally feeling it at the time – and if you’re acting, you probably wouldn’t be, which is why it’s important to invest in the character and learn from the character’s perspective.
As I continue reading and thinking and absorbing I’ll probably post here with more things. Super great book, I think it’ll be really helpful for our film, in being able to write good characters, communicate what we’re looking for, and also, hopefully, work on our acting skills…

Film and Stuff

For the last few days we’ve mostly been playing with our camera – and trying to not get sick. The second part hasn’t really worked out so well which is partly why I haven’t posted much. The other reason is because I spent all day on Monday cleaning and organizing the office and then making an Ikea wishlist. The good news is, cleaning the office gave me a chance to play with the video mode – and while it’s not the most creative shot – and really not even a good idea of what my baby is capable of (you’ll have to check out Alex’s blog or Vimeo to see that eventually)it’s a good excuse for you to see my office!!!! Sorry about the aliasing, bad lighting + me not knowing which crop (or how to crop) sort of ends up that way.

Discovering other Artists

The one thing that’s helped me the most on my artistic journey is reading other art blogs. Usually empty easel, but occasionally I find other resources. Sometimes unexpectedly. One piece of advice I hear a lot is to find an artist who inspires you, who you can learn from and look up to.

As I’m really new to the art world, sometimes I find myself feeling overwhelmed. I don’t yet fully understand all of the art movements (but I’m learning!), and I definitely didn’t know of enough artists to be able to name one off the bat that I admired (except for friends). So I had a really hard time with that, because as much as I love looking at other people’s work and appreciate it – I had a really hard time finding someone in my field.  One day in Oregon, at an organic coffee shop I found myself staring at the artwork displayed. It was the closest I’d ever seen to my style and thankfully the artist had left  cards there. So when I came back home to Maine, I grabbed the card and went to the website.

I was so happy when I got to the blog because it was like I finally found the door to my world. I’ve been following Lindy’s blog ever since. It’s moments like these that make me really love the internet…and Oregon.

Lindy’s art, while still different from mine, never ceases to inspire me to keep creating the way I do, and continually try to learn and develop my style – and that it’s not a weird style to have! I can’t really communicate how liberating and validating it is to find that I’m not the only one who works this way.

So thanks, Lindy – and if you haven’t checked out her website yet, you totally should.

And while you’re at it, check out Willowing – another whimsical artist I recently discovered (I love you internet!).

My Process

I like to call my process “painting in my head” – mostly because that’s the easiest and most apt way to put it. Sometimes I sit down and feel a painting out, and sometimes I use things for inspiration, but most of the time, I have the painting already in my head. I spend a while thinking about it (or sometimes a matter of minutes) I visualize the strokes, the sections, and the feel I want the painting to communicate.
I’ve been thinking about this one for several days. I haven’t even painted it yet, it’s just been ruminating and developing in my minds eye. There are sections of color: yellow>green>blue. Time/seasons/change. At the end there’s a fairy, who’s more elf like and ethereal – light and wispy. A sheer white gown wafting. Her wings almost transparent, golden hair flowing. She transcends the seasons, floating through them. There are muted designs swirling around that I can’t fully describe with words that surround this elven-fairy and illuminate her path.
Even as I write, the painting develops and turns into something more, a picture of a journey with a trail left behind.
The hardest part, is transferring the image in my mind to the canvas and hoping it still feels the way I feel it when it’s out for the world to see.

New Camera

Our T3i came in, so now we can shoot video over the summer, but today, we were enjoying the photography part of the camera. Alex will probably have a detailed review up eventually so I’ll just show the awesomeness in pictures.

Self Portrait

Chinese Fortunes that I liked and put on the wall


shot of one of my pieces that I liked (I retook the fairies today)


And a neat shot of Pandora on my iphone.


This concludes my inexperienced snapshot of our awesome new Cannon T3i.