We have a release date for “Frozen 2!”

Art, Pop Culture

For the first time in forever…we have news regarding “Frozen 2!” In case you missed it, Disney announced the film’s release date on Twitter this Tuesday.

Yep, you read it right Рwe still have over two years of waiting before the sequel hits theaters! While that seems like a ridiculously long time to wait, we know that the end product will be totally worth it.

In the meantime, here’s some “Frozen” fan art to tide you over:

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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” ‚Äď 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.

Getting ready to see #BeautyandtheBeast for a second time – this time with mom and grammie! ‚̧ԳŹūü•Ä

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

 

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-Honor√© 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.)

Celebrating the Magic of Winter and Wishing for a White Christmas

Art

Today marks the first official day of winter, also known as Winter Solstice.

A season that tends to get a bad wrap due to the raised energy bills and driving inconveniences, it’s undeniable that winter also possesses the ability to be the most beautiful time of year. (It also happens to be one of my favorite seasons!)

This year in Central New York, it’s looking like we may¬†actually, finally get a white Christmas! While the Christmases of my childhood were always white, the last few years have left us New Yorkers in a green-spell, dooming us with rain and warm weather on Christmas day.

Sending out some white-Christmas vibes, I’m sharing with you a recent colored pencil drawing of mine, inspired by Disney¬†Frozen protagonist Elsa, the Snow Queen.

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Inspiration:

It’s no secret that I love Frozen and have mentioned before my fascination with winter-themed magic.

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This drawing was fun to do from the fan art perspective as the imagery was not taken directly from the film. Rather, I modeled the drawing after a real-life image of an arm and added my own Frozen-inspired touches.

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Although New York doesn’t have its own personal winter sorceress to ensure we have snow this Christmas, I’m hoping the wishes¬†and prayers of its residents is enough to allow this holiday to live up to its fullest and most magically picturesque potential!

P.S. Only 3 days until Christmas!

I See the (Embroidered) Light

Art, Pop Culture

You know that scene in Tangled when Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are on the boat during the festival of lanterns and Disney, yet again in true-Disney fashion, inspires you and makes you feel like a kid again? Of course you do. Or, at least you do if you’ve ever seen the movie.

If not, here’s a 3 second recap to catch you up to speed:

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Probably the best-loved scene in the movie.

Inspired by this scene I decided to approach the lantern imagery from a graphic stand point and reproduce it in a nontraditional medium. I wished to recreate a lantern in fiber, specifically embroidery.

This is what that process looked like:

  1. I began by creating a quick sketch with pen on white cotton.
  2. Then, I started filling in the colors with embroidery floss using hand embroidery.
  3. Next, I painted in the background with acrylic paint. This is what the piece looked like following one layer of paint, but thought this was too boring.

Rather then having a static background, I decided to add lanterns in the distance. This is how the piece ended up:


In the future I think it would be fun to sew my own lantern and use wire to make it three dimensional. I will have to keep you posted if and when I decide to try this out!

Let It Go

Art

I can’t believe the year is over and that tomorrow I will be graduating with my Master’s in Public Relations. This year has been a whirlwind of events, emotions and experiences. Looking back, I am grateful for all of the experiences I have been privy to have had and for the people I have met during my time at Newhouse.

As I’ve mentioned before, the experience was life-changing.

While graduations are always bitter sweet and there are sure to be some tears, it’s always¬†refreshing to move¬†on to a new stage in life. While nerve-wracking, it is exciting. Especially when you have specific plans or ideas pertaining to what you will be doing next.

As I spend this time reflecting and feeling nostalgic, I would also like to share a colored pencil and ink drawing that I completed a couple of weeks ago.

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We all know by now that I love Frozen both for the imagery and its adult themes. I’ve also already mentioned that I especially (along with everyone else in the world) enjoy the “Let it Go” scene as the artwork is incredible and the message behind the song is universal.tumblr_n0mfabs35n1tqzyg1o1_500

Although this began as a pen and ink drawing, I soon realized that color would make the image more vibrant and add more depth . While it may not be what one might consider a “great work of art,” I had a lot of fun drawing it. And after this rough year of school, I was in serious need of some fun drawing.

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While I still have a few degree requirements left, I know that the next few weeks will be my letting go period of graduate school. While I will miss my friends and the school that has become my second home, I am looking forward to ditching my hourandtenminute commute, spending more time with Andy and the dogs, and finally beginning my career.

 

Homage to Pegasus

Art, Inspiration

I think my love for fantastical and magical creatures all began with Pegasus. Growing up, Hercules was one of my favorite movies. Undoubtedly, this was because of Herc’s trusted¬† companion, the winged-horse. Hercules_Pegasus_excited

I was incredibly inspired by this character and used to spend a lot of time trying to draw the horse for myself. Always having remained my favorite Disney character, I even came home from my first Disney World visit with a stuffed baby-Pegasus.

Aside from watching Hercules, I used to read the story of “Bellerophon and Pegasus” repeatedly out of a children’s treasury of Greek mythology.9781566196468 I used to stare of the cover of the book and hope that one day I would be talented enough to depict winged-horses as well as the book’s illustrator. I used to trace the image over and and over again, hoping to create muscle memory and teach myself to draw so well.

I’m happy to say that this wish did come true, and I have become a much better artist than I was at age 8 (thank God). That being said, this post isn’t about refined art skills or photo-realistic depictions of horses, but rather about paying homage to the character that inspired me so much as a child and lead me on an artistic path that I am grateful for.

So while I used to draw this character over and over again as a child, this is the first time I have revisited the subject matter as an adult. I’m pretty happy with the result:

So here’s to you Pegasus! And thank you to The Walt Disney Company for sparking my imagination as a child. Were it not for the fantastical worlds I consumed via the media, I don’t know where I’d be today. (Probably drawing something dreadfully boring…like flowers. *shudder*).

 

Feeling Impish

Art

To say I have a unique sense of home decor would probably be an understatement. Let me put it this way: When I vacationed to Disney World and Universal Studios, I came home with a handful of decorative objects including a magic wand, a Dobby movie prop and a troll from Epcot’s Norway.

That being said, my home is full of wee folk. From house-elves, to leprechauns, trolls and gnomes, I have built an interesting collection.

While some of these are my own acquisitions, some of the gnome items are actually Andy’s. Having always had a slight obsession with elves and fairies, words can’t describe how excited I was to hear that as a child he had been fascinated with gnomes.

While some people may find such decor off-putting, ugly or weird, I, obviously, love it. Placing such “creatures” in my house allows me to be inspired and absorb inspiration both consciously and at times, subconsciously.

Below are a couple marker sketches that I recently made, both inspired directly by my own decor.


¬†So as the old saying goes, be true to yourself. Your home doesn’t have to look like an issue of Good Housekeeping or a program from HGTV. What it looks like should reflect who you are as a a person.

The only advice I would give is to decorate with pieces that inspire. Even if those pieces look like this:

Pop-Castle

Art, Pop Culture

It has been much too long since I have been in a painting studio. In undergrad, I was extremely fortunate to be an art major who was privy to newly-renovated studios. As a painting specialization, I spent a particularly large amount of time in this studio creating with oil paint.

Currently without a studio, I am confined to acrylics and watercolor, presently afraid to use oils within my house. Although I plan on having a studio in the future, I am currently grateful for any chance that I get to enjoy painting.

As an art student, I was always encouraged to produce conceptual work. However, getting a masters in public relations from the Newhouse school is a stressful experience.Therefore, lately, I have been enjoying painting for the sake of painting.

To start this new, once-forbidden period of my artistic life I have decided to do a series of acrylic on canvas paintings featuring castles from pop-culture. The first castle that I recently completed was Elsa’s ice castle from Frozen.

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I decided to start with this castle for a few reasons. The first being my recent inspiration from the movie (mentioned in a previous post) and the second being the limited color palette. I knew this painting would go quickly for me and therefore chose to do it now as I have been especially busy with midterms having just recently passed.

The next castle on my list is the fictional castle that has had the greatest impact on me and my life: Hogwarts. I obviously have a long way to go on this painting, but don’t mind sharing this very early-stage snap shot as I love looking back and seeing how far a piece has come.

Hogwarts painting

So again we are presented with the question “Is it alright to create art based on copyrighted images?” The answer to that questions is yes. So long as you either:

  1. Alter the original image or
  2. Reproduce it in a new medium

The bottom line is that you must make the piece your own, in some way or another. Both of these paintings are legally OK as they are in new media. I have taken an animated castle and reproduced it in paint. I  have also added my own designs.

In regards to Hogwarts, which obviously has a long way to go, I will make it my own through color choice and the fact that it is being created with paint.

So as I have mentioned before, don’t be afraid to be inspired by the world of pop-culture. It is popular for a reason! Just be sure to make things your own. We are all creators after all.