The Midnight Robber is one of the more popular and well loved characters portrayed in the traditional mas of Trinidad and Tobago. A typical Midnight Robber costume consists of a wide brimmed, tassled hat, a cape and accessories such as weapons and/ or a coffin. The Midnight Robber always makes use of a shrill whistle to command the attention of his audience or other Robersons nearby. He performs a drastic and rhythmic speech, often about his ancestry mixed with other themes of history, religion and mythology. At the end of his speech, Midnight Robber will often ask for money.
This week’s Colouring page is based on the traditional Carnival Character fondly known as Dame Lorraine.
The Dame Lorraine character is a parody of the masquerade played by French planters of the 18th and 19th century. On the Sunday before carnival, they would dress up and parade in fancy costumes of the French aristocracy at group gatherings at private homes where they would also dance sophisticated dances of that period.
The liberated slaves recreated these elaborate costumes with whatever scraps of readily available materials they could collect. They would often emphasize the bosom and behind with pillows or stuffing for added comedic effect.
This week’s colouring page is based on the traditional carnival character called “ Baby Doll”. This character is meant to be a parody of a mother who has an illegitimate child.The main components of this costume are a pleated dress, a bonnet, and most importantly, a doll. They would walk up to men on the streets and accuse them of being the father of the child. Usually, the masquerader will continue to embarrass the man until the baby doll character is given money. This costume is mostly portrayed by young women, however men will sometimes wear this costume and masquerade with a high-pitched voice for comedic effect.
For those of you not in Trinbago, 2016 Calendars are now available online——> here. These babies will make their Trini debut at BITS and Pieces, November 7th, 2015 at Movietowne. These are great gift ideas for the Christmas Season.
Evilyn was a prop I created for Zombie Island, an interactive scare house that took place at the Decibel Entertainment Expo 2015 (www.decibelexpo.com). Evilyn was made with mainly recycled materials: Papier-mâché, chicken wire, masking tape, kite paper, old phone book pages, cardboard rolls, etc. She took quite a beating as she was punched out of the way after descending onto the terrified, unsuspecting patrons. She survived unscathed and sits in my studio waiting for her next opportunity to terrify someone. Here are some Work in Progress pics of my first zombie creation 😎.
It all started with the hand…..
Bristol board, wire, aluminium foil and masking tape
Kite paper for skin texture
Not very zombie- like but it’s a good base to start with
Making some adjustments
Kite paper covering the skull
Fabric to create some form and texture
Experimenting with paint for skin tones
Up close and personal.
I used some clay to fill in the eye sockets.
Body in motion.
Paper and fabric mache over wire mesh frame
Lurking in the corner…
Natural rope fibre was used for the hair.
Colours used for the skin tones: black, burnt umber, naples yellow, olive green, cadmium yellow, white , raw sienna, deep alazarin red, process magenta, pthalo blue.
Glue gun glue and varnish to make her look bloody.
Got some used hair extensions from a salon. No more rope hair!
In 2012 I started using oil paints. I quickly fell in love with this medium. Those feelings started to wane once I began oil portraiture.
In this age of instant gratification, water colours and acrylics have enabled me to finish a portrait within a week or two. However, oils have taken three months, six months, even a year to complete depending on size and the number of people in the portrait. The adjustment to this pace was quite frustrating but I’ve learnt a few things as I’ve gotten into the groove.
I’ve learnt to take the time to really see the subject and find my style. I’ve learnt to explore different solutions to a problem I may encounter without worrying about the paint drying too quickly. I’ve discovered how long I can focus on a painting before my mind wanders to what I can paint on that blank canvas that I just bought. I’ve learnt that, with the right lighting, I’m better at oil portraiture at night, when life is quiet and the music is loud. I also love my sleep so I’ve learnt to manage my time more efficiently.
Sometimes it all falls into place but sometimes I have to make it work. Being an artist and balancing family life is, in itself, a “Work in Progress” and oil portraiture is a lesson in patience.
There was once a large, stretched canvas that I was almost sure was cursed as nothing I painted on it seemed to work. I painted a semi abstract nude in blue. That didn’t work. Covered it with white paint.
A few months later, I decided to do a knife painting of an old familiar favorite, Boissiere House, otherwise known in Trinidad as The Gingerbread House. That didn’t work either. Covered it with white paint.
A few months after that, I decided to “try ah ting” and do a knife painting of Bob Marley. It worked 🙂
Here’s some work in progress pictures of Bob.
Bob Marley, Acrylic knife painting on stretched canvas.
The Cycle of Love
Acrylic on Canvas diptych.
The transition from red hot passion to the cool compliance of companionship. The landscape in the background is constant serving as the foundation for which a long lasting relationship can survive these cycles.