Research Question: An exploration into the process of merging art and film.
From the outset of this assignment I wanted to explore the correlation between film and art, both elements have had an extremely important place throughout my life and will continue to do so as I want to integrate both into my future career. At the beginning, the film was simply going to comprise of the final stop-motion work, but after some urging from Paul it became more of a documentation of the process through photographs and video, this differing use of material footage illustrates the vast array of film techniques employed to illustrate a work of art.
Because I had never attempted a paint-on-glass animation before, the research that went into both understanding the process of the technique and putting it into practice was quite elaborate. I examined various examples from Caroline Leaf to Aleksandr Petrov’s films. It was really fascinating exploring a technique that I was previously ignorant to and I must have watched hundreds of clips on the subject. I also spoke to my Alternative Animation teacher, who was the one who first introduced me to the technique. He gave me the sage advice to not limit myself to just one piece of glass, as it would get murky and impact the clarity of my work and to also look into getting a lightbox as it would illuminate my work and mean that I wouldn’t have to light the painting externally.
Armed with an idea of the process behind the technique, I needed to prepare my workspace and get the materials. I cleared off my desk and started looking up where to purchase a lightbox. It turned out they’re ridiculously expensive and I do not possess the DIY skills to make one myself, but I just so happened to find a small square sized one for sale at KMART for $15. It was originally meant for displaying inspirational phrases for bedroom/home decor, but with a little repurposing, actually worked better than I expected for this assignment. At this point I needed to find a way to get glass to lay over my lightbox and to paint on, but I couldn’t find cheap sheets of glass anywhere that served my purpose. That was until I came up with the idea of buying a cheap picture frame from The Reject Shop and repurposing the glass for my film. This worked well until I accidentally smashed one sheet of glass because it was so thin that placing my art supplies on it made it crack, so I had to go and buy another sheet and was extremely careful (READ: paranoid) about breaking it. My mother sent down my oil paint from Newcastle, but I realised I did not have any of the right shade of blue, so I went to Eckersley’s to buy some more, only to find out how exorbitantly expensive it is. I still bought some though, and a new palette knife, as well as the linseed oil which is used to assist with liquefying the paint and help it to move around and dry slower. I then hired from uni a Canon 6D and a gigantic box of lights, that I didn’t end up using and spent two weekends attempting this technique.
During the process of painting I learnt that painting on glass would be more difficult than I previously anticipated. The surface of the glass was great for keeping the paint wet and allowing me to move it around to create an image, but it didn’t provide the adhesive grip I needed when using the palette knife technique of oil painting like a canvas would do. This meant that I had to adapt the storyboard/sequence I planned to paint. So, I decided to use the brush and slowly paint a face, while photographing each layer of paint and then use the palette knife to scratch certain detail of the face. This allowed the light to shine through from the lightbox and illuminated the painting. Despite having to change my plans I believe that it still followed my theme of capturing a journey.
Because my research question was about exploring the merging of art and film, the photographs I captured during the process of creating the animation were essential during editing. I wanted to show what went into creating the animated sequence. While I shot some footage, I felt like it detracted from the flow to include it in the finished work, especially given the short nature of the video. Paul and I discussed what sort of sounds to use and I explored a few options, but after doing a rough edit of the film I really liked the quiet rhythmic foley sound of a heartbeat, which I believe works well because I tried to sync it to each changing image. I wanted something that made the film flow well and pushed it forward without being to noticeable, and while I could have found a more suitable piece with further investigation, I believe it suited my original goal, which was always to keep the film fairly minimalistic.
I believe I fulfilled my goals of reaching outside of my comfort zone by attempting an unknown technique and providing a short, snappy behind the scenes insight into the creation of a paint-on-glass animation, therefore successfully exploring the merging of art and film.