Ruthie Landelius painting Turtle, Mother Earth for the film Perjury of TIme.   Photo by Randall Derrick ©2015

Creating Turtle, Mother Earth

by Ruthie Landelius

          When Randall came to me with the opportunity to take part, artistically, in the film, I immediately questioned my ability to do so. Commissions are always fun when you have to consider someone else’s vision along with a ‘date of completion’. After hearing about the project, I was honored to accept Randall’s invitation to create the painting. Taking part in the film became a positive challenge and learning experience for me. I enjoyed meeting and working with all of the other artists involved with the production. It gave me a sense of belonging within such a great group of professionals. It also gave me the courage to conquer my fear of failing to deliver someone else’s vision on canvas. I began the process by connecting to Sky Woman on a personal level. Her role as Creation inspired ME to create Randall’s vision through the painting. Her ability to have built a new world with the help of others gave me the courage to see the task through. I realized I was not alone in this project. Everyone involved in the film had their own art to deliver yet, all the while, were there for each other to get the job done.

Finished painting of Turtle, Mother Earth for the film Perjury of TIme.     photo by Randall Derrick

Founding Mother Earth for the film Perjury of Time
by Randall Derrick

          I believe the original idea for Turtle, Mother Earth came from artist Chriss Clifford and Native storyteller Eldrena Douma. It’s an age old story told by many Native groups and represents the Native Creation myth for their culture. I heard this interesting story from them about the time I started to seriously consider producing the film Perjury of Time.

My first idea about integrating such a painting into the film came about by watching the latest digital technology turn still images into an animation. I fell in line with this idea and figured a series of still images taken while the art was actually being painted. Stacking images next to each other in a video editor lets us see the painting as it develops. We actually did this and it turned out to be pretty cool but didn’t do much to create a three minute clip for the film.

Back to the start, my original idea was to hire a painter and after much investigation and several interviews, artist Ruthie Landelius was referred to me by artist Nancy Walker who was a friend of Rafael Canizares. She may dispute my next statement but I gathered right away she was not only capable but wanted to do the painting. In her article above she tells of some anxiety accepting and getting started on a commission and I assume there was something that drew her to take the job.

As notoriously controlling as I am I explained a few details and sat up a camera for the time lapse and she was off. I’m not sure how long it took her to do the actual painting but it wasn’t long. The final result was astonishingly perfect for what I needed to move forward. My next step was to learn some software and get to work.

Adobe After Effects is probably the most flexible software available to the average consumer. Ruthie painted separate objects for each character in the film and I took these objects and cut them apart in Photoshop and the rest came really easy. It’s a lot of tedious detail work but the final result is something I can use. The clip also very simple to watch and understand. I left a few flaws in the anination to show the imperfections of humanity.

We recorded Stephanie King’s narration of the Creation at the Super Seven Studio and the results are quite excellent. The Turtle, Mother Earth story is the first complete clip in the film. Thank you Ruthie.

Produced by the Genius Coalition