Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In the closet

Here's the latest of the Hamlet backgrounds - Queen Gertrude's closet. The photo doesn't really convey the depth of the colours properly - they look richer in real life. Secret internal places, heavy, dripping velvet, muffling, suffocating lushness... these are the things I want to suggest. I also wanted this image to contrast with the cold, calculating-but-vertiginous sense of the King's room.

Call me unsympathetic, but I don't like Gertrude at all. She's sloppy and oozy and easily led. In my more searching, objective moments I wonder why I am quite so harsh on the old slapper. And I suspect that women's cruel judgements of one another may have a trace of insecurity in them: we hate what we fear could be lurking somewhere in us as well.

Compared to the other paintings, each of which took days and days of painstaking patterning, this one was done surprisingly quickly. And I did surprise myself with looser, easier, bigger brush strokes. For this I have to thank the wonderful Terry Denton, children's author and illustrator, and painter, with whom I spent a lovely time at the Perth Writers Festival last week. Terry showed me his sketchbook full of beautiful, loose-and-lively sketches, all splashed with vivid watercolours. They were amazing, and inspired me to set aside a bit more time for playing with colour and wet media. More immediately (because of course I pushed play aside and pounced obsessively onto Hamlet as soon as I hit Melbourne), he inspired me to try a slightly less "controlled" style for Gertrude's chamber. Ok, I'm not exactly flinging the ink about with abandon here, but compared to the extreme control of every milimetre in the other pictures, this one is quite spontaneous! And I enjoyed it immensely.

Here it is at a much earlier stage. I really like looking at work in progress, which is why I've started snapping a few pictures along the way:
In other, much more dramatic and exciting news, my mega-talented cousin, Eva Orner, won the Oscar for best documentary for her film Taxi to the Dark Side. And she called the US government war criminals. She is such a star!!

1 comment:

John Retallick said...

This is very womb like Nicki. Even though it may not show clearly in the pic i can sense the layers and depth you are seeking.

How are these backgrounds going to work in the final piece? Am i right in thinking they are like animated film backgrounds that you'll use as 'sets' and place chacters within them according to the needs of the story?