I am so delighted to have contributed the art for the cover of Daniel Williman’s and Karen Corsano’s new book to be published later this year: The World Chronicle of Guillaume De Nangis, A Manuscript’s Journey from Saint-Denis to St. Pancras. It is a captivating journey that I have been hearing tales from over the several years of its making.

It Is Art

In the last week I visited New Orleans, a city filled to the brim with artists and musicians, I attended a moving memorial for my friend’s mother, a well known artist who recently passed away, and I enjoyed a delicious dinner with two artists hosted by my neighbor who herself is also an artist. Listening to these artists I realized that art has a different meaning for the artists who create it than it does for the audience who will eventually be the judge of its value and worth. Artists are entangled by the creating itself. Caught up in a web of this idea, this medium, this tecnique, this story, or is it that idea, that medium, that tecnique, that story?

  • Plots, characters, acts, sequences, scenes, character arcs, pacing, what is that word I need right here that I can’t remember!
  • Shots, composition, colors, lighting, lines, shapes, framing, blocking, sound design, beats, no one is ever going to follow this!
  • Sets, props, locations, wardrobe, actors, background, art production, how will we get it all done and there in time!
  • Beats, motivation, charisma, relating, generosity, emotion, what do they want from me!
  • Powders, creams, brushes, gels, smudge, make this beautiful, make that ugly, my face is slipping!
  • Cuts, transitions, contrast, affinity, fast, slow, hue, grades, effects, looks, it is too slow and too long and doesn’t flow!
  • Recorders, microphones, dialogue, music, waveforms, foley, reverb, mixing, what are those airplanes, sirens, traffic noise!
  • Notes, chords, keys, instruments, melody, harmony, rhythm, this music doesn’t work for that!
  • Let me change this. Oh no, now that isn’t working. How do I get through this? It is torturing me! I have broken it!

Breathe. It will be fine. It will work out. It will come together. It is art.


Adding Art

During preproduction I explore how to set the stage for Lost Lullaby with art. I want tiny details that uncover the mood and tone of the film. I need a camp scene but I am pressed for money. I think something like the opening scene from Shakespeare in Love would be great. You know the one, Shakespeare walks through the town and there are dozens of little vignettes playing out amongst the townsfolk as he makes his way. But to pull that off takes lots of little details and did I say, we haven’t much money. 

First off we need structures for our camp members. So how about tents? After all the Merry Pranksters are resourceful young proto-hippies. Vintage 1966 tents, army surplus pup tents, that will work! They come in two halves so two soldiers can split the load and hence the weight. Each half can be used alone as a lean-to and two halves can be put together into a two person tent. Ebay lists a seller with used pup tents slightly defected, fine for our film and indeed I can patch them if I ever want to really sleep in them. So three of these. They don't come with rope and looking at the two halves I am mystified as to how to put them together. YouTube to the rescue! So it seems I need a rope with a loop in the end? I was never a girl scout and know nothing about knots beyond tying my shoelaces! But there is a handy Animated Knots iPhone App with instructions on how to tie a Surgeon’s Loop so I make my loops with rope purchased from True Value Hardware. With two people up it goes:

army pup tent

Tent looks a little Spartan, doesn’t it? Three of them will look even more so. Well our Merry Pranksters paint and decorate everything. Everything. Maybe throw a painted canvas over it to make it look less, well, army. What to paint? It can’t be too complicated because I need it in a week. Graffiti! But I am not a graffiti artist. Banksy uses stencils for graffiti maybe I can find a stencil design I can use? I find a DragonFly sillouette on iStockPhoto of a Dragonfly which figures in the song I am writing. I think I can manage, barely, to do this design:

dragonfly art image

Another YouTube video later showing how to make a stencil with transparency paper, I print the sillouette, tape a transparency to the printed image and use an X-Acto knife to cut out the sillouette. Then off to the store to buy canvas drop cloth and spray paint. I hang the canvas on the barn door, pencil in the design minus the dragonflies so that I get the proportions close enough and then paint everything but the dragonflies. Then I tape my stencil and paint the first dragonfly. It works! I paint the rest. And here is our camp:

lost lullaby film still

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