2017 Project 52: Traditional Landscape & Leading Lines
Sometimes as an artist, you have an idea that is simply too brilliant not to be shared. So you plot and plan the piece, and then you proceed to pull it off with nary a hitch, producing a work of art that is exactly as envisioned, in perfectly designed, highly detailed, and sublimely skilled purpose.
Today's post showcases absolutely none of that.
Week 2 of my 2017 Project 52 ("P52" for short) started out a simple thing: produce a traditional landscape. I knew I wanted to bend the rules where "tradition" was concerned, invoking a fantastic element to the idea of "landscape". I began to brainstorm, pondering on possibly creating a landscape with fairy tale design elements, a castle perhaps, possibly with a menacing dragon to heighten the visual story. But then I began to ponder on just exactly what a landscape is: typically a sweeping, epic scene with mountains and rivers, trees and a sky that goes on for ages. What would be the opposite of such a grand vista? Why ... a delicate scene in miniature of course! So I decided to create the sort of landscape a fairy might see: a tiny world unto itself, full of wonder and diminutive magic.
I dressed my daughter in a pretty green dress, brushed her hair, and bade her remove her very modern eyeglasses. I positioned her on the hard wood of the living room floor and grabbed my camera. Kneeling didn't give me quite the perspective I was going for, so I flattened myself as low as I could go, laying my camera on the surface of the floor -- and that is when I saw it:
She wasn't a fairy. She was a mountain. A slumbering mountain, looming peacefully over a vast and verdant valley.
Presto! Change-o! My "traditional landscape" was born, entitled "Slumber Mountain".
Not what I'd originally envisioned, but I think it worked beautifully. Here's the speed edit video of how I did it.
A few days later, I shared the image on a Facebook Group where another member of the board told me of the The Legend of the Sleeping Lady, an Alaskan Folktale about a woman waiting for her warrior -- and waiting and waiting and waiting ... until she fell asleep and became a part of the landscape.
The third week of my P52 presented a new sort of challenge: Leading Lines. It's a pretty basic composition technique incorporating straight lines that lead the viewer's eyes directly to the subject of a work of art. I don't use a lot of this in my work, and I was quite frankly not super excited about creating something so ... well basic. So I decided to spice things up a bit by introducing some mystery into the image.
My original idea included (picture this) a vast negative space, in the center of which was a young woman with flowing gown -- leading your eyes to her would be the gown itself in swirling lines from the base of the image to her form.
I scrapped that idea in lieu of something a bit more complex. I hemmed and hawed about doing a mash-up between two of my favorite fandoms: Disney's Beauty and the Beast and the concept of "Bad Wolf" from the Doctor Who series -- the beast being a wolf, and Belle standing in as metaphor to the Doctor's Rose Tyler. But I wasted a lot time hemming and hawing, and it was Saturday (the very last day of my weekly challenge) by the time I made a decision -- forcing me to rush the photographing, design, and editing in one massive fell swoop.
I finally settled on an image that played with the concept of time, titling it "Tale as Old as Time". I know the Whovians and Disnerds among us would catch the subtlety. Belle, trailing rose petals behind her, while an open T.A.R.D.I.S. looms, inviting her to "adventure in the great wide somewhere."
In hindsight, I see so much wrong with this piece, on a visual and technical level. I feel like it had great potential -- and I just didn't do it justice, what with my gaps in skill knowledge and haste in putting it together. It's not the sort of "quality" I would ever, ever, ever provide a client as a final piece.
I did learn some new things (how to change the color of an object in Photoshop, for example), so in that sense it is success of a "growth" kind, but I really would like to take it back to the drawing board, so to speak, and make it better -- finish it. I may have to work on that in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout for a better, more skillfully presented version.