Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I posted my last stop-motion painting clip feeling confident that my new cable release bracket would be the solution to my camera movement problems. As usual, the ghost of Robert Burns seems to have bitten my well-laid plans in the butt. My brilliant little invention forced the threads of my camera's tripod acceptor, and stripped them, causing this to be my jumpiest clip yet. Appropriate that the painting should be of a frog -- specifically, a Northern Casque-headed Treefrog (Hemiphractus fasciatus), a bizarre little fellow that lives on or near the forest floors of Colombia, Panama, and possibly Costa Rica. Long considered a member of the typical treefrog family, Hylidae, today the five or so species of casque-headed frog are believed to have diverged from other frog taxa some time back, and are generally given their own family.

Wobbliness notwithstanding, the clip shows a detailed underpainting laid down in raw umber. The board is then tinted, and the hues and values of the various components are laid in. Once a basic foundation of the subject is down, it is masked with liquid latex to protect it while the background is painted. With the background established, off comes the latex, and the final coats of paint are brushed on.

Once I've found a used digital camera with manual settings and an actual cable release port, I'll dedicate it to my animation stand, and once again, I find myself feeling confident. Hopefully I'll have the whole thing together in time to film the next painting: a portrait of a Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) that's sure to have the best production values yet. Stay tuned.

If you can't access the video embed, click here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Carel,

Thanks for letting me talk your ear off about pigs at Ryan Peterson's studio tonight. I really do want to hear more about your trip to Indonesia and New Guinea.

I looked up the San Diego Zoo's pigs -
Bornean bearded pigs
Visayan warty pigs
Western forest hog
Southern bush pigs
Central European wild boars

I'll have to look through my old family videos to see which ones were the scariest.

Thanks again

- Jon Price

9:36 PM  
Blogger The Fear Blog said...

Check out the new blog at www.fearblogging.blogspot.com. This is a community project to describe and discuss the things you are or have been afraid of. Some of our fears are funny, others are painful. Please, visit, read, and submit your own!

6:45 PM  
Blogger naturegirl said...

C-man, this is the coolest thing I have ever seen. Great work. It also proves that you may be the most patient man on the planet!!!
Hope all is well with you.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These little videos are terrific. I noticed the Spectacled Owl video on that thumbnail strip at the bottom of the You Tube screen so checked that out too. All three of these are super creations. As naturegirl wrote, you may be the most patient man on the planet. I second that.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Matt Mullenix said...


Fantastic! We'll blog it at Q.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Jeremy Pearse said...

Carel, I love these videos! And I find it fascinating the way another artist works, especially in the way that you layer so many colors and tones. I hope that you'll do more of them - perhaps on a larger piece? Cool music too!

6:55 AM  

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