The last few weekends have seen me bring the saloon model miniature together, so it’s a solid white, ready to project against. I’ve been moving faster than I expected which is always good. With the model all but complete, the ceiling in place I decided to add the posts which I found at least two in the set itself. If anything they really are the finishing touch without bring too much detail. I’ve got the balance right. I just need to wait for them to fix in place before I prime and paint them.
I then moved on to prepare and edit new test videos, using footage from Unforgiven (1992), the final showdown, which was reduced to the reactions to gunfire. Which took less time to create than first thought. Surprisingly little gunfire goes off in this scene. I decided to slow down each of those reactions a few times. I’ll see how these all work once the last of the painting is over.
Lastly I made a start on the same scene from the Japanese remake Yurusarezaru mono (2013) which I didn’t find surprising that it contains more violence in the equivalent scene. I haven’t finished that test video that will be projected into the same model. It plays with the relationship between the two films and the violence within them.
A day later than planned after my last day in the studio over the bank holiday. I have finally added paint to every part of the model miniature. Only spending a few hours in the studio now, as I’m only painting a coat a day. I need to keep track of how many coats I’ve done and where, at the moment its pretty straight forward.
I won’t be posting any studio updates for a while as I’ll only be painting, In the meantime I’ll be working on a few edits of the showdown that’ll be projected. If this works out I’ve been thinking about building a bigger model – of Minnie’s in The Hateful Eight (2015) it’s potentially more violet and the space is far bigger too. Still I need to see how this test works out and go from there.
A quick update today. I realised a few days after I was last in the studio, I needed to add more detail to the windows. So I returned today to the footage to find out what was going where. Then trimming some balsa to size I added the small pieces.
Leaving me with the rest of the day prime the floor of the model and add the first full coat to the rest. It’s a bit patching at the moment in terms over coverage, some is primed whilst there’s a coat in other places. I should be fully onto painting next time, I’ll just have to remember the order I’ve gone in.
It’s open studios today which has allowed me to talk to the public who have had a look at our studios in Leicester. I’ve still been able to achieve what I wanted to. Adding more detail to the windows. I’m concerned about the bay windows, as these are my first I don’t know how well fixed they are to the card, some pieces may stay in place more than others.
Also I have begun priming the model in places. I have left the windows and floor until next time as I don’t to affect the work I have been doing there. Otherwise I think I’m doing well for progress. I think I’ll be testing again in June. I can edit the scene a few times to have a few versions to work with, making the most of both the model set and the clip.
I’m starting to add just the detail now to this model saloon. Starting with the banister of the stairs which after some repairs is looking more complete. Simply gluing two strips of cardboard; one piece sits aside of the other, before sitting it on top of balustrades. It’s also a rare time I’ve used both my glue-gun and PVA in the same time.
Lastly I’ve made a good start on the detailing at the other end, the entrance and windows. I have boxed them off now and added detail in the bay windows. It will be interesting to see how that works, when I add the horizontal pieces to complete the window frames. I should have all the detail complete the next time I am in the studio. I’m really amazed at how fast this piece has come together, so many elements to consider and here I am almost ready to get the paint out and it’s not been a week since my Crit.
I feel like I’m going through a lot of cardboard at the moment, it’s all material that’s been stashed away for just such a piece that requires so much of it. The saloon is really taking shape now with not just the detail but the addition of a ceiling too. I began the day working on the stairs, which in reflection maybe too wide at the bottom, however it’s not a big deal. I’ve added the bolsters (please correct me on that if I’m wrong) before I add the rail later. I also blocked off the top to suggest that a door leads off from the landing.
The biggest development was addition of a ceiling, which I was, well I am still concerned about in terms of how it will affect the projection. It may block out light and distort the image. I am going slightly over what was probably built for Unforgiven however I need to see this as a saloon, a location and a space that was filmed in and expand it. It also has stairs which would/do lead up to another floor. At the moment the ceiling isn’t fixed and will remain that way until painting is complete, as posts will be going underneath to hold up. It will also prevent and even finish of paint.
The entrance has also been looked into, with the door now intruding into the piece. Whilst I have also made a start on the bay windows which I’ll be working on more next time. Lastly I’ve got the balsa out for the framing of the doors and windows. Soon it will all be about the detail before I get the paint out again. It’s come a long way in a few days, I’m sure I’ll be painting in no time and get the projector out to see how it all turns out.
OK technically I did everything in this update yesterday but I was enjoying the company of friends to post. After last weeks crit group I have decided to try out one of the ideas, which was to focus on the violence of one scene, edit it to then show the violence, and project into a purpose-built model of that scene. Here I have made a start on the internal model miniature of the one in Unforgiven (1992). I’ve been playing back and forth the clip to build up and image of the saloon over the day, sketching out elements to see how it looks together.
I then made a start on a loose model of the saloon which after only a day it has really taken shape. I had to gut the previous model to make room for this one as it was just a generic one for a prospective test which has been scrapped. I finished the day looking at the tables, which I believe were covered in green felt – for playing cards, these had to be reduced in diameter for scale too,
Moving on I have to add a fake wall at the top, I’m considering looking over the footage to see if I need to add a ceiling, as I have seen at least 3 posts that need to be added. Also turning to the entrance I need to redesign the door way and getting grim, I need to add a coffin that leans outside. I’ll do a few tests with this set after it’s painted white, see how they look. It’s a real change to recreate a set of a film, which I haven’t really done since Uni, being film specific is something I have wanted to avoid for most of my practice, there are times when that rule has to be broken.
I was a little nervous about tonight’s crit group, however I found it rather helpful. I have a few directions to take the work in, even taking it back to Melton Mowbray where it originated.
- The tests weren’t that violent, even tame, find more with blood, guts and gore etc and emphasise those elements, removing the guns and the shots to focuses purely on the result of violence
- Take a violent scene, construct a set of that scene and project scene in that, adding context extra depth to the scene.
- Work with Melton to put together a performance piece, linking the film High Plains Drifter (1973) and the historical event. I really want to around the town with a pant brush – I would be more than likely arrested for it though.
The third test video was liked the best as made more use of the street set-up, I still feel it separates the antagonist and victim, I would have to mix them up for that to work. Even using two projectors to achieve it. Also arranging the models to face each other traditionally. I was encouraged to really get into cowboy character, which is becoming more tempting, maybe even playing Clint, his role in Drifter could be a fun role, and very dark.
- We discussed the position of the genre and the potential of making a piece that looks at its current position, how it reflects contemporary times – maybe even a feminist Western, which a few do exist, such as Meeks Cuttoff (2010), The Homesman (2014) and Unforgiven (1992) looking more at the female presence which has been very much underplayed in the genre. I have enjoyed the female focused western.
I’m really open to see where things go, the saloon I have started may now be scrapped, unless I can adapt it to a scene, the first one that comes to mind is the ending of Unforgiven, which would allow me to see how this idea first works out. I am also considering approaching galleries in Melton to look at possibilities there. The end piece should be shown there, it feels right that it returns to it’s roots, seeing the connection of a phrase and a film brought together. Editing footage to focus on the result of violence, to see the death, the blood etc is going to be exciting to see too. Just a shame I have to wait to the weekend to start anything.
Now this update comes with a public service announcement of sorts. I was hoping last week to continue in the studio, however my body, unbeknownst to me decided to tell me to stop. Not just slow down or take it easy, but a STOP. I have always wanted to keep busy, if it’s at the day job or in the studio or away from both. I forgot to give myself time to just relax and simply switch off from thinking and doing, which resulted in lots of sleep, catching a film – I decided not to review as that would require thinking. So please take time out for yourself once in a while.
Now today I feel more energized and have returned to the studio. I’ve made a strong start on my first internal model miniature. Deciding to keep the details loose as I have for the rest of my work, which works in part. Also its a larger model, even bigger than my older ones. I think working internally for now I have to stay larger as it’s all new to me. Taking a large box, cutting away a few sides and reinforcing before I began.
As you can see I’ve made a good start, with a bar and mirror and shelving behind, I want a painting on one side too. I have made a start on an upstairs too, needing that in place before the stairs are added. I need to spend time on them to ensure I have the right angle. I’ve also sliced up a tube for the base of a few tables. Lastly I want to make an upright piano. I could go on forever with making pieces for this, I think less is definitely more in this case, I could have a stage, but with restricted room I need to just have a few pieces to suggest its a saloon. Lastly I’ll have the classic saloon swinging door added, all before I start to paint. I’m going to keep some of the pieces loose for a few reasons, so I can paint everything evenly and that I can move objects around during projection for maximum effect.
I’m still catching up with last weekend, the last test video has just been edited and I am ready to share it with you now. I ended the day after I had an idea the previous night to combine to the test videos I have been using, the innocent and the perpetrators of violence together. Which meant that I had to re-cut the longer of the two to work together without over running massively or forcing me to repeat the shorter clip which would lose any real effect the piece may have.
I projected it initially, soon realising that I had to reposition the model miniatures either side to fall under the light of each clip. The first few times I ran the piece it was working however the way the footage was falling onto the models it felt uneven. So I went back to tweak it before running it a again. I had to rejig the model, which now sat more comfortably. They had lost the parallel nature of being a street, I had to divide them so they fell on one side or another at the back where the street wraps around.
It was working now, the violence building up for either side – fair enough the timing was a little off, it’s a test so it’s not a big concern. However I felt that the division between both was taking away a big part of the work. By dividing the street I was also losing the relationship between the two, confined to one side or another which is not reflective of the genre or even reality, Violence in those terms knows no boundaries, which I had set-up here. When the violence’s blanketed over the whole town it has more impact, but less sculptural. Having the two channels of action I can potentially show more now. Meaning I need to mix the two up over the two sides of the streets. I also feel that I need to look at violence committed indoors, so another separate piece needs to be built and footage edited together. Also do I still restrict it to white on white violence or do I move to pure violence in the genre, seeing the victims as just victims of violence not race or otherwise. I’m going back to making and sourcing then to see how things progress further. I definitely have a working piece it just making the most of the potential content to have the most impact.
Then comes the question of how far I have come with this piece, the historical roots from Melton Mowbray’s history of what was thought to be violent incident, which, when compared to today’s standards it’s pretty tame really. I’ve abandoned the literal Wild West translation to look solely at the violence of that era through the lens of the genre. If I look at the true roots of the piece; High Plains Drifter (1973) a horror/western that sees a ghost turn a town on its head before letting it be burned to the ground. I seem to have forgotten the other the town pre-violence, not just during and post violence, which could however be illustrative. The purity of the white model miniatures, which is essentially a blank canvas for the town too. I can project onto it whatever I please, I could tell a narrative which is not my style (expect Playing with Plastic (2016)) or leave it blank for audience interpretation which is my style.