After many months, I am excited to announce the completion of my short film from the I FLOW LIKE WATER series. The film recounts my philosophy of bringing nature onto canvas.
The first phase was shot in my studio, where I demonstrate my painting process on a canvas of plexiglass. My videographer did a great job of filming me painting. Nothing was rehearsed. It was all quite extemporaneous! I pulled out a piece of plexi for the shoot and just began painting. Lots of fun!
The second phase was filmed at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park the first week in May. For those of you not familiar with this secret little treasure, I have to thank my videographer for the introduction. It is across the street from the Lincoln Park Conservatory on the west side of Cannon Drive, just south of Fullerton. We had a great first shoot at the pond. And then, to my amazement, the following week, my videographer fell off the face of the earth!
I had seen the raw footage of the shoot at the pond, but was unable to download it. I needed to get the film to the gallery that represents me in Brussels for a presentation to their Chinese partners for my upcoming show in Suzhou. But my videographer was nowhere to be found. I knew he was planning to go out of town, ironically, to China! But did not send me the footage I needed for the completion of my film.
After weeks of no response, I decided to call Brian Sly from Emblem Media, another videographer with whom I had worked in the past. Brian had filmed and edited the Hugh Arnold video when we held the "AGUA NACIDA" exhibition in 2014. AND not only did he do a great job, he was very dependable and responsible. So we recreated the shoot once again. But this time, instead of wearing winter clothes and boots as I did in the first shoot (it was very cold that first week in May!) I was able to wear a summer dress and go barefoot in the 95 degree heat of June. Much more apropos for what I was trying to convey. And more fun!
As it turned out, the filming went much better the second time. I will be eternally grateful to my first guy for disappearing on me! I am so much happier with this second incarnation of the film. It was a wonderful exercise in remembering to FLOW LIKE WATER. Below is a quote from my Brussels exhibition catalog that sums up this philosophy:
There is a Sino-Japanese term called “unsui” which means cloud/water. It is derived from a Chinese poem “to drift like clouds, to flow like water.” Clouds attach to nothing, and so drift freely across the sky. Flowing water follows its course naturally, without resistance or hesitation. It travels down hills, flows around the rocks and slips into places where other things cannot go. It does not insist on any particular form, it takes the shape of its captor, whether a glass or an ocean. It replenishes and is integral in the growth process.
In the end, I had both the studio painting footage and the nature aspect for my film. I wanted to convey the importance of communing with nature to find inspiration, patience, clarity and most of all, peace. I certainly needed it and the experience with the first videographer was a perfect example of of learning to flow like water.
To bring all of this together, I owe a debt of gratitude to my lovely intern from SAIC, Grace Ren, for helping me with editing the footage. She did a spectacular job with piecing together the various scenes. It was a complicated job as we had so much footage from both the painting and the nature shoots. If Grace decides to go into the film industry, I think she will be a great success!
From contemplation, to writing, to drawing and painting, in the end, this film is about bringing nature into my art. I created a light box for the plexiglass painting with LED lights. The photo (right) does not do justice to the luminescence of the finished work. This is the beginning of the next evolution of my work, using plastic and acrylic sheets as canvas. I have used recycled plastic water bottles as media for many of my paintings in the past couple of years and now I have another form of plastic with which to convey my message. In addition to the paintings, I am working on PART TWO of the I FLOW LIKE WATER series - PLASTIC. That video should be ready within the next few weeks.
A little background on the pond: Across the street from the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool was designed in the late 1930s by landscape architect Alfred Caldwell. It was a divine venue to become inspired. In Caldwell's signature prairie style (developed through his mentorships with Jens Jensen and Frank Lloyd Wright,) he redesigned an old Victorian pond into a one and a half acre nature sanctuary reminding us of the importance of allowing nature into our lives.