(Writing this while I wait on my watercolor tapestry background wash to dry)

So I got back yesterday afternoon from our first meet in Chicago (that's me and fellow 5th year senior Ryan McCarthy). If you're interested, you can see my Floor routine here (it's 4:20 into the clip).

It was awesome for me to compete again (it's been almost two years for me, since I redshirted last year), but the team finished a frustrating second place. We had a very rough meet, though, and are all ready to train hard and build over the next couple of months to realize our potential.

On the art side of things, I got to go to the Art Institute and checked out the Thorne Miniature rooms exhibit. The rooms themselves are incredible in their attention to detail and accuracy, but what I was most interested in was the illusion of light/ space and the presentation of the rooms. Here are a couple of observations:

1. All the rooms relied on "sunlight" coming in through windows to light them. This gave a very natural feel, and the constricted openings of windows/ doors allowed lights to be easily hidden:

2. Beyond the windows, the landscape backdrops were often suggestive/ not rendered up very well. This doesn't matter, though, because you don't pay attention to them. Actually, it may help, naturally putting your attention towards the room itself.

3. Stairways that turned and went around a wall/ through a ceiling were a very successful way to extend the space of the piece beyond the constraints of the box.

I kept leaning as far as I could to try and see if they used dome backdrops, curved backdrops, if they used wood or canvas or what to paint on, what kind of lights they used. All of them were so well concealed, though, that it was really tough. However, this Japanese interior/ exterior was the one room that "failed," (to my advantage) in that it exposed its construction pretty easily. I could see the stapled canvas backdrop and the positioning of the light:

For the presentation of the rooms, I thought the frames were very elegant but simple (they had kind of an unfinished wood look), and there was a subtle but very important ledge hugging every wall of the exhibit, allowing young ones to peer into the boxes more easily. This will most definitely be an addition to the wall I will build for my final installation.

I came home with a lot of ideas and some good sketches from the bus ride. I received fabric samples in the mail and have clear visions now for how to execute dioramas 4 through 6. I got some work done on pouring the fake water into the rivers of the forest last night, am picking up some rapid prototypes in about an hour, and finally feel like I am making slow but steady progress towards the end goal.

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