A small woods, cloaked in the lonesome air of winter

A Snow Story [in progress] from Elizabeth Daggar on Vimeo.

Here are the bare beginnings. (And more Ravel, as it happens.) For context, see this post and this post.

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Everything pales as it recedes

Here is a fox. This is a study or start of the character design process. He will appear in the animated short I’ve undertaken to create. I’ve still not done any story boards, nor have I a story set in my mind, but I do tend to get ahead of myself with these things.

Below are some scratchy starts of other potential characters; deer, and the horses (who shall be background characters, seen off in the distance where the farm is). I’m beginning to have grasp what a lot of work this will require, creating the whole thing of layered pencil drawings! But jolly fun.

At the bottom you’ll see two of the six sets of trees that so far comprise my introductory forest scene; dark trees are foreground, and everything pales as it recedes.

pencil sketches of deerpencil sketches of horsespencil drawings of trees

The dream of many waltzes

I had one of those odd coincidences earlier this week. At my new job, we are sometimes availed of complimentary tickets to events— for example this week it was attendance to a  two o’clock performance of Ravel’s Bolero (and two other pieces, but that was the star) by the NY Philharmonic on Jan 20th.

It just so happened that a few days earlier I’d been listening to Rufus Wainwright, in whose song Oh, What A World he introduces and plays off the primary riff of the very same piece (to wonderful effect). After listening to it, I felt compelled to track down the original and listen to it in full.

This precipitated a persistent dream last Saturday morning in which I was building a playlist consisting only of waltzes (for which I’ve a weakness, and to which category both Rufus’ and Ravel’s songs belong). So upon waking I slavishly began building said list*.

It was weird and exciting to be invited to hear it played by the philharmonic just days after. And I assure you I would be going, except I’d just secured tickets to see Farinelli & the King the same day at eight o’clock— and as keen as I may be, that would just be far too long a day to spend on Work Island on a weekend. : : sigh : :

Anyway. I love when shit aligns or collides out of the blue like that.

.  .  .

*You can listen to 24/7 Waltz People  if you have Google Play. (Admittedly I overreached, and a few rags made their way on it, too. Whatevs.) Ravel didn’t make it on, though, as it’s all contemporary.

PS— Sorry I missed my Thursday post. Here it is, terrifically late. More to come over the weekend, relating to the animated short began last weekend.

This winter has conspired to plant seeds for a story

pencil drawing of a forest

I’ve embarked on a project that has decided it wants to be something much larger than I’d planned, which is awfully exciting (to me). What began yesterday as just a few drawings of trees and birds to layer into another snowscape has planted the seeds of a short film, a proper story. The spark has been lighted and no going back!

These are two stills from the scene I worked on today using yesterday’s drawings. I’ll share a sneak peek at some motion soon.

pencil drawing of a forest

It is quiet, and all the city’s a snow globe this bright morning

I’ve been given a snow day from work on account of this storm (referred to by meteorologists as a Bombogenesis, Bomb Cylone, and Winter Storm Greyson). It has settled in Brooklyn in the form of a persistent and blanketing snowfall out the window all morning, and not a soul around.

It inspired me to make this little animation from my ink drawings back in October. And now I’ll try to get some work done.

The book featuring these and other drawings can be found at Lulu.com.

The music is Autumn in New York, by the Bill Charlap Trio. So good.

Within an hour of waking, the sun has gladdened the windowpanes

ink sketch of a fence and field, trees in the distance

I stayed home last night; missed several parties, missed toasting with jolly friends. A head cold has been slinking ‘round the door for a few days (probably a few weeks), and by Midnight it’d overtaken me. I didn’t have any the past two winters, but I’ve been burning candles at both ends lately, so I can’t be too surprised or upset.

Despite feeling poorly, it’s not a bad thing to cross the threshold of a new year quietly and in solitude. I did this little drawing to mark the changing of the guard. (I added the snow on a whim, though clearly those aren’t winter trees, all clad in leaves.)

I’d hoped for a cold-bright wander on New Year’s Day, but that’ll have to wait for better health. Glad tidings, with a few sniffles! I’ll see what I can make of it. More drawing, whether for me or my freelance project, will make a fine start of things for 2018.

Our hopes such as they are, invisible before us, untouched and still possible*

black and white photograph of sun coming through tree branches

Returned from the snow farm for the last few days of the year’s closing book. Serene here, too— quiet and white-blanketed. Few people are on the sidewalks, chilled and brittle. The emptiness of the playground today: a witness to the mercury, its height diminished despite bright sun.

And here we meet our fabricated bookends for time, believing we can hold or control it; we note it and name it to preserve the illusion. All is change, even the end of things, like the dying year to be replaced or born anew this midnight. Supplanted by new hopes, optimism in the dark corner of the year. Rebirth, Springtide: a crocus fighting her way up through a crust of snow.

Her bloom and demise are written in the maths that make her. Only we personify it, make a mirror of her. We with our imagined souls are infinitely fragile. So we make of her a beacon.

We’ll wait for her in the darkness yet to come. We’ll look for her as we burn through the woodpile, stacked under the eaves last fall. And as we watch the icicles melt, painting the days toothless, mild, and green again.

black and white photograph of a farm house in a snowy fieldblack and white photograph of a barn an silo on a snowy hillblack and white photograph of a large oak branch and a silo on a hill in the distance

*from the poem ”To the New Year” by W. S. Merwin