A Beastly Sketch

Art

I’m always promoting the act of sketching. Not every drawing should be a finished piece and we should all learn to sketch out of habit as a way of learning, as a way of reflecting and as a way of observing the world around us.

The more we draw, the better we get at 99% of art forms. Period. Sketch for sketching sake.

That being said, I’m not always great at following my own advice. Do as I say, not as I do – yada, yada, yada.

I get it. If you’re like me, you want every sketch to lead to something grand. Something more than a fleeting thought. Ultimately, something more than a sketch!

But sketches are meant to be unfinished – that’s what makes them magical! Because documenting fleeting, unfinished thoughts on paper help us learn which direction we want to go in and can sometimes lead to the grandest ideas of all.

One of my resolutions for 2018 is to sketch more. Fearless sketching, totally unafraid of the prospect that some sketches will end up being nothing more than a few hasty scribbles on a piece of paper.

This weekend I held true to my resolution and flipped through my sketchbook pages rapidly, producing a number of very quick, very rough drawings. I drew ideas as fast as they came to me. And through this process, found some inspiration.

Portraiture. Faces. Taking a break from inanimate objects (which I do so love) and focusing back on the living and breathing.

Feeling inspired, I kept sketching. And actually did create a sketch I deemed worth sharing:

I love “Beauty and the Beast” and was drawn to capturing Beast’s half-human nature. (Admittedly, humanoid creatures have always been a fascination of mine.)

Because of this care-free sketch-session I’m feeling more inspired than I have weeks. Thank goodness I received a pile of sketchbooks for Christmas!

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An Enchanted Retelling of the Tale as Old as Time

Pop Culture, Review

Even though it took me a little while (8 days following the release to be exact) to make it to the movies to see this incredibly anticipated film for the first time, I’m happy to say I have now officially watched Disney’s live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” twice.

Staying true to the original story, this film was full of the magic we associate with the animated class, while still bringing something new to the table. Emma Waston was, of course, fabulous as Belle, retaining the old world charm we remember of the original character while also furthering Belle’s charisma and fearlessness.

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A round of applause is also in order for Dan Stevens who played quite the believable Beast.

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Aside from the amazing talent and incredible reputations backing up each of the cast members, there were so many other elements that contributed to this film being spectacular, and dare I say, even better than the original…? That might be a debate for another day.

In the mean time, here are (in my humble opinion) the top five changes that made this live action retelling so successful:

Character Development. Characters are one of the most important pieces in your story. While filmmakers already had most of the plot laid out for them, sticking to the original story, it was essential that they add to the characters of Belle and Beast to make them fit for a full-length live action rendition. Adding backstory to both protagonists (essentially the deaths of parents) gave viewers a deeper understanding  of both characters.

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New Songs. Speaking of character development, how fantastic were both “Days in the Sun” and “Evermore?” Did anyone else feel their hearts ripping in half during the latter? Thank you, Disney for giving us new songs to obsess over! (“Be Out Guest” was still amazing of course.)

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Gaston and Lefou: Watching this movie, I realized I didn’t hate Gaston as much as I did in the original. In fact, for a while, I quite enjoyed his role in the movie. Don’t get me wrong, by the end I was wishing to push him off the bridge myself, but I enjoyed the filmmakers’ decision to create a like-able villain, deviating from the always-despicable cartoon version.

And Lefou? He was just hilarious. Enough said.

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Style. While there were definitely differences from the original, I absolutely adored the stylization of the furniture, castle interior and costumes. As I mentioned in a previous post, this story demonstrates Rococo influence, making it absolutely stunning to behold.

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Special Effects. An outstanding bravo to the film’s art department – you guys killed it! In a piece that relies so heavily on fantastical characters it’s easy to become focused on where the fictional representations are lacking. This certainly wasn’t the case with “Beauty and the Beast” – the team behind all of the fabulous special effects did an outstanding job. I’ll be waiting any day now for my tea cup to strike up a conversation.

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Clearly, my overall opinion is positive. Unlike so many other movies, I didn’t feel like I was watching the film, I felt like I was experiencing it. Truly an elegant masterpiece that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

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Can’t get enough “Beauty and the Beast?” Check out my story-inspired embroidery piece here and drawing here.

 

Talking about Rococo, Tea Cups and “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Pop Culture

“Beauty and the Beast” releases in theaters today and dear God I couldn’t be more excited! Although I may not be able to make it to the theater for a few more days, I’d like to celebrate this happy day with my latest art piece, a colored pencil drawing inspired by the Rococo art period, a movement that is very much visible in “Beauty and the Beast.”

First thing is first: what is Rococo? Having been an art major in college, I took my fair share of art history courses and would be more than happy to fill you in.

While most of us have at least heard of movements such as Impressionism (You know, the blurry French paintings? Monet?) or Cubism (think Picasso)  the term Rococo isn’t quite as mainstream.

An art period that unfolded in late 18th century France, Rococo strongly concentrated on light and very much intricate detail. You may be familiar with this piece, “The Swing” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard:

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Well, at least you’ve probably seen it here:

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(Needless to say, Rococo is a wee bit flirtatious).

If not, perhaps you’ve seen my personal favorite of the period “The Embarkation for Cythera” by Jean-Antoine Watteau.

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Either way, you get the picture.

Rococo. It’s light, its airy, it’s pink-hued and it’s intricately detailed. It’s also a style which I’m very much reminded of as I eagerly await the release of  Disney’s live-action”Beauty and the Beast.”

Debate among Disney-enthusiasts has not yet revealed a conclusive answer as to whether or not the fairy tale is meant to be set in the Baroque or Rococo time period. Either way, we know it’s French and it’s beautiful, and maybe that’s all we really need to know.

All of which brings me back to main point, which is to share with you my latest drawing, inspired by “Beauty and the Beast” aesthetics.

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Although they’re no Mrs. Pots and Chip, these tea cups stand up in their own right (literally and metaphorically speaking).

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Inspired by an image I came across on Pinterest, I loved blocking in the variety of colors with Prismacolor pencils.

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The smooth texture was later achieved by blending the pigments together with a blending pencil.

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Hopefully you find this drawing inspiring – I know you’re just excited about tonight’s movie release as I am – and stay tuned for future “Beauty and the Beast” inspired artwork!

(Something tells me there is going to be a lot of it.)

Getting Excited for “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Inspiration, Pop Culture

This past week, the internet has been losing its mind and weeping tears of joy over the recently-released, exclusive photographs of the upcoming live-action film Beauty and the Beast.

Released by Entertainment Weekly, the photographs capture the magic that the mass audience has hoped and dreamed would encapsulate this visual retelling of the much-loved, classic story.

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Needless to say, Disney lovers are much anticipating the March 17 release date, unable to contain their enthusiasm as they count down the days.

Unsurprising perhaps to most of my readers, I happen to be among this crowd and plan on seeing the film in theater.To showcase my excitement, I’m sharing my most recent hand embroidery, an original piece inspired by this upcoming film.

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Featuring the enchanted rose that is often used to symbolize the Beauty and the Beast story, the embroidery is constructed of running stitches, back stitches and french knots, and completed in a hand-drawn style, similar to some of the other hand-embroidered pieces that I have shared in the past.

Due to the style, the piece was relatively quick in the making, taking approximately two weeks from start to finish.

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So while we Disney fans still have another four months of waiting to overcome, there is a lot to be said of the inspiration that is created by anticipation.

In other words, expect to see another Beauty-inspired piece from me before the film hits theaters!

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