Saturday, 14 April 2007

Major Project for the National Gallery

I am undertaking a Character Animation course in Saint Martins in London. My past is in fine art; drawing, painting and making exhibitions, but even my paintings are dealing with movement.

I paint outside mostly cityscapes, movements of people and lights at night... I don't have much time to paint at this exact time. I am working on my final project for the course and I just had a baby :)) A little boy that insists on full attention.

My task is to make 1 minute long animation, inspired by a painting in the National Gallery.
I choose a painting that I have always liked, its 'A Woman bathing in a Stream' by Rembrandt.
It immediately reminded me of a story i have read a long time ago. A shocking story by Guy De Maupassant that i only partly remembered.

I looked up the story and found out i have forgotten bits of it. Here is a link to the original story 'Little Louise Roque'.

In summary the mayor who is also the biggest landowner in the place during a walk in the woods one day sees a young girl having a bath, he looses control and rapes her. He comes back to his senses when she starts crying and screaming. In trying to silence her he strangles her.

The murderer is never found. The mayor of course helps with investigating the crime, he owns the woods where she is killed and he is a friend of the magistrate.

Months pass, and he is tortured by nightmares. He is not a person who normally has a conscience, but hallucinations of the dead girl haunt him.

He can not sleep or eat. She is behind the curtains in his room and coming through the fields towards him..

He tries to commit suicide but just can't shoot himself. So he decides to set a trap for himself.
He writes a letter to his friend the magistrate admitting everything. So he will have to kill himself once he has sent the letter. After the letter is written he already feels better.
He sends it in the postbox and the whole mental anguish is gone. He feels new and strong.
And he was about to die, because he was afraid of a shadow.. So he changes his mind and doesn't want to die anymore.

But the letter is sent now, so he decides to wait for the postman and convince him to give him his letter back. The postman, notices that the letter is for the magistrate and doesn't want to give it back. The mayor tries to fight with him but the postman has a big stick. Finally the mayor runs off in distress and throws himself off the tower..

I only have 1 minute so I will have to severely shorten the story. I can only use the very main parts of it. In the story the girl is very young and the painting is a much older woman soI will probably make the woman younger.

I will only have 2 characters: the girl and the mayor. I was sad to get rid of the postman scene as it contains a lot of action, but it will make the animation far too long.

Here is my first sketch for the character design of the young woman. It will change because i have decided to make her younger since then.

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