Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Things Move More SLOW During the Holidays.

      Yay! It's Illustration Friday! (Well... Sort of.)  It's also Thanksgiving Day week, if you are one of my American friends.  Even though this particular piece and this post are early and they both came together rather quickly, due to necessity, the Illustration topic this week is the EXACT OPPOSITE. This week's topic is SLOW.  Now I will say things and people tend to move more Slowly around the Holiday Season.  Everyone tends to get to bed more slowly than you would normally because you don't have work or school the next day.  Everyone tends to wake up a little slower, preferring to sleep in a bit because it's a Holiday.  Also, if you are the designated cook for your family's Holiday Feast, then your day tends to be a day full of foods that need to cook a bit more slowly than other meals you would normally prepare during the week.  Yes, Americans, for some strange reason, always being obsessed with work and multi-tasking and quick meals and social media quick posts and social media quick reads; they all tend to slow down to a very very slow speed around the Holiday Season.  I am certainly not complaining about the slowing down of time. Every year, I love being able to savor this time off from my work as well as the time I look forward to spending with family this particular week.  There's just something about this particular Holiday of Thanksgiving, different from other times you spend with family, that are just, for lack of any other word that would be as appropriate, MAGICAL.

http://www.slowfoodusa.org/
     On a side note about "Slow" is I am simultaneously working on a logo design this week as well.  I can not divulge any details at this time, but it's exciting and it's been an Education Adventure into areas I knew just a little about but am enjoying the slow process of expanding that horizon.  Now, I know you're probably thinking to yourself, "Why would he bother even mentioning something he can't talk about right now?"  The answer is "Slow Food."  Part of my educational process on this project has been a study into the Non-Profit organization of Slow Food. I can really say no more about the project, other than I will be able to share it by Spring of next year, more than likely.  Back to Slow Food.  They are an organization that educates and advocates for the old world ways of food preparation.  They are essentially the antithesis of "Fast Food" in the sense that they want people to experience they food that is grown and cultivated right in your own local community.  Local Produce, Cattle, Poultry and Dairy. They believe that experiencing the cuisine that is indigenous to where you live is an important part of the human experience, not to mention, it is also a much healthier way to eat, live and experience food. Instead of all the processed food full of god knows what that you buy boxed, canned or other wise at your local supermarket, Slow Food believes you should know where your food is coming from.  It's a fascinating subject and if you would like to read more, just click on their logo above and it will take you to a link where you can learn more about them and their philosophy.


     I mention Slow Food because it applies to this week's topic very much.  I will, later today, be spending hours in my kitchen preparing foods that will take at least one hour if not longer to make.  This time frame applies to every dish and every dish is worth the time it takes to prepare and cook it. We ALL Know that it will be delicious so we take our time and SLOWLY prepare our Holiday Feasts.  Most every American household today will be experiencing the very same thing.  Since every house will be radiating an amazing smell of all this wonderful food, I wonder if other countries will be able to smell how Amazing and delicious America is today. :0)

     Every American does this because this is our American Tradition and it dates back to before 1621, the Plymouth Massachusetts "First Thanksgiving."  Even though this poorly documented event is accepted as the origin of our tradition, there's a little more to the story than just that. 

     I set out to touch on the subject with this week's illustration for Illustration Friday.  I have been doing a little research, just for fun (I know, I'm a nerd and I'm one of those "lame" people who find the subject of History fascinating.)  I wanted to talk a little about the beginnings of the first European Settlers and their tumultuous and sometimes volatile relationship with the American Natives and how this relationship has been a Very SLOW Process.  I also wanted to talk about the Slow evolution of the Thanksgiving Holiday and where it truly originates.  As a good friend of mine has said to me,"History outside of the margins is the most fascinating."


     As many of you know, The Native Americans, as we know them today, are many tribes divided regionally from each other and also divided by the history of their interaction with the European settlers that came to, for lack of a better word, steal the land right out from under all the tribes with the clever use of legislation under a banner called manifest destiny.  Eddie Izzard has an old joke about how the Europeans fled Europe due to persecution only to travel all the way to American... and just continue that thing they sought freedom from.  Eddie Izzard is a funny man but the history of the betrayals that were wrought on the Native peoples of America at that time by the European immigrants is not.  It is something that many people don't wish to discuss on this holiday. Inconvenient truth or not, it is our tragic history associated with this holiday and it really did happen.  But this comes later.  Many historians believe that the Native American tribes that those first European Settlers interacted with are descendants of 3 major migrations that happened during the Ice Age from Euro-Asia of the ice-land bridge which connected the 2 continents at that time.  They also believe that by the year 8,000 BC that the North American climate was very similar to what is today and since that time, those migratory groups have branched out, thrived and became the Native Americans that those First Settlers met. 

Eddie Izzard on the First Thanksgiving

     On that flip side, in the faith of many tribes, it is believed that all of their people originated from this land; that they were not an evolution of people who migrated form Euro-Asia.  Like most things in faith and sometimes in history, we are never quite certain what really happened. So you just have to choose which origin story you like best and just believe.  Personally I like the idea that all of the tribes originated form one large tribe that has been here all this time and still continue to live and thrive on this land.  In either case, the events and evolution of the Native Americans known in the First Thanksgiving Story was a Slow one to reach from their origins.


     So I'm going to switch back and forth here just a little.  It is commonly accepted that the very First Thanksgiving was at Plymouth in present day Massachusetts in 1621. It was attended by 50 Pilgrims (out of the original 100 that arrived on the boat, only 50 survived the first winter in the New World)  and 99 members of the Wampanoag tribe.  All my American friends will remember the brief overview of the story.  The settlers that survived the winter did so because of the generosity of the Native Americans that taught them how to grow corn and fish. The celebration was to give thanks on a bountiful harvest and to thank the Pilgrims new found friends by a great feast that lasted 3 days. And everyone lived happily ever after, right? (geez) I honestly feel embarrassed for those who either bought into this none sense or those who choose to teach it.  I really lament the history of what the Settlers, the revolutionaries and the Western Frontier Settlers did to the Native American tribes, especially since they were just trying to coexist in the beginning of it.  Very sad and very tragic. 

     I digress. This event, though commonly credited as the origins of our tradition, is Not the very First Thanksgiving.  In actuality days of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving ceremonies have been a part of the Settlers Tradition and of people of other faiths well before 1621.  The first European Settlers were, religiously, split into two groups: The Puritans (who sought to reform certain practices of their traditional English Anglican Faith) and the Pilgrims (who rejected the practices of the Anglican Church that they sought to escape from.)  The Pilgrims are the group of Settlers that were involved in what has become the First Thanksgiving in 1621.  I mention this religious context because the Pilgrims had a day every week that was set aside for giving thanks to their God. It was a set day every week that was a Non-Sabbath day and the Pilgrims would give thanks for any blessing that was bestowed t them within that previous week whether it was to pull through a difficult illness or falling in love , etc. Technically the very first "Thanksgiving" happened when the settlers stepped off the boat onto the dry land of the New World.

http://e.standard.net/stories/2012/11/18/paintings-created-hundreds-years-after-feast-arent-historically-factually-accurat 
 The First Thanksgiving 1621 by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899)

     This painting, which is commonly associated with illustrating that Thanksgiving feast actually has quite a few accuracy issues. For example, the Wampanoag are dressed as if the were one of the tribes of the Great Plains, not what the Wampanoag tribe actually looked like. Also, the Pilgrims did not wear clothes like those depicted in the painting.  Apparently there are several inaccuracies but it is still used as the go to illustration for the first Thanksgiving. This is one of the reasons I chose to dress my snail characters in very stereotypical costumes for both the Pilgrim and the Native American. I thought it would be a nice nod to this historical-historically-inaccurate illustration. ;0)   Also these are the common characteristics that people have come to associate with the Holiday as far as period costume.  If you click on the image above you can read an artical more about the inaccuracies of Feris' romanticized painting.


     Oddly enough, the traditional Thanksgiving celebration has jumped around the calendar.  It has been recorded to have taken place anywhere between September and December. That's a bit of a wide range.  There was also one known recording of Thanksgiving being in July.  So why do we celebrate this holiday specifically in November?  A bit of interesting trivia, it has taken three American Presidents to (s)nail down the date.  George Washington in an attempt to promote citizenship amongst the revolutionary settlers and the Native Americans proposed that Thanksgiving be a National Holiday celebrated on November 28th, 1782.
Though he first proclaimed a Thanksgiving day in December in 1777 to honor the defeat of the British. At this time, Thanksgiving was done by proclamation of the Continental Congress until the time of the civil war.  Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a National Holiday t be celebrated on the Final Thursday of November.  This held true until the time of the Great Depression when Franklin Roosevelt, in an attempt to boost the national economy moved Thanksgiving to the Second to the last Thursday of November. This allowed businesses one additional week to promote and sell for the Christmas Holidays.  This is of course a time when our country felt it was inappropriate to begin Christmas promotions before the celebration of Thanksgiving.
I honestly can say I miss a time when it was inappropriate. I feel that promoting Christmas and "Black Friday" Sales before Thanksgiving is shameful and makes me ashamed to be a citizen of a country that has no culture are defining characteristic beyond just consumerism and making money.  I'm not a fan of Black Friday. I think those poor individuals enslaved by the corporations they work for should be spending time with their families not working in a store to try and sell things.  Just my opinion.



     In any case, I have been going over all this information in preparation for the piece I wanted to work on.  As always I LOVE LOVE LOVE Animal Allegories and wanted to illustrate one with a Thanksgiving theme.  Since the topic is SLOW, I decided Snails would be interesting to draw.  I had a fun very Slow Afternoon last weekend just sketching snails.  I very much enjoyed just taking time out to just sketch and doodle.  I don't always have time to do that and it was a nice pause in an otherwise busy week.  I also wanted to visually state in some way the very Slow progress that led to the Thanksgiving Feast of 1621 as well as the slow politics of the Original settlers who became Revolutionaries who became Western Frontier Settlers and the Native American Tribes.
 I drew both the Pilgrim Snail and the Native American Snail meeting each other halfway on the top of a pumpkin, a festive autumn squash associated with the holiday.  I also chose the pumpkin for it's orange-golden color; a color I also associate with this time of year.  Personally, it evokes smells and flavors that are distinct to this time of year only.  I also liked the idea that it looked like a hill with a tree stump that had been cut down, representing a meeting of minds in an ever changing environment, like this very country itself the stump/stem is meant to represent development and change in the environment, a change in times and the change in the shift of values that time provides, etc.


     Also one of my very favorite parts of the American Thanksgiving tradition is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, so I also wanted to add a little flair to my snails.  I made/staged the scene on the pumpkin to look similar to something you might see as a float rolling down the streets of New York City in that very parade. 

     Our country's history has always been tumultuous with atrocities committed on both sides of that fence.  The tribes of today are actually becoming more involved in the political arena of our nation . Even though it's going to be a very slow process, my hope is that the remaining tribes will find peace in the melting pot of what the United States of America has become.  Both the Native Americans and the Pilgrims have had a nice Long and Slow Journey since 1621.  Both of those original groups have evolved into other things. Other groups have immigrated and joined the ranks of American citizenship.  A lot of change has taken place environmentally and architecturally in regards to the physical landscape of all the land since that time.  But we all still have one thing still in common, we are all American and we are all here in this very moment, alive, to share in the joys and comforts that Thanksgiving day provides.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving

     With that said, I just want to wish all of my American friends out there a Very Happy Thanksgiving. Travel safe if you are traveling and cherish the time you get to spend with your loved one's on this day. 

until next time,
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 
Cheers,
LEWIS








Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Luck Be A Lady This Halloween: A Tribute to a LEGEND.


     I have some shame to admit. It is October 27th and I have JUST TODAY put up Halloween Decorations…. I know….  I should feel so embarrassed admitting that.  Oddly enough the plastic bins that store the Halloween decorations have been sitting idly by in the living room and on the back porch… but as I had said before: idly by.  So this past Saturday, I thought I would finally take the initiative as the Autumn Bonfire was finally lit under my Proverbial Keester.  I took all of the Halloween decorations out the box and set them ALL in my way, as if making them difficult to live around would mean they would be put up in a faster manner than the previous strategy (which was to let them sit in boxes till October came and went.)  It made the wait only 24 hours longer till the house was FINALLY decorated.


     I'm not very certain how many of you out there do this very same thing. You say to yourself, there are these things I need to do, but I never do them, so I will take something physical that represents this task and put it in my way, therefore forcing me to see it and accomplish the task and there is now this physical barrier standing in my normally cleared path.
Don't be ashamed if your in this boat with me, because you probably already had your Halloween decorations up and running much sooner than today. SO at least in that respect, your ahead of me. lol.  However, more often than not this particular strategy is not very efficacious. I tend to just maneuver around the obstacles and go about my life. So then the barriers begin to, quite literally, build up around you, much like the way a hoarder's home might. Not that I am in anyway making fun of them (poor people.)



     In any case, this time at least, the strategy worked and the decorations are up around the house. Booray!  My favorite addition to the Halloween decor, was a "flying ghost." The spooky specter glides back and forth on a suspended wire that you attach to 2 points inside your home or outside. It lights ups and makes a spooky sound as it's spinning and moving around.  Once it reaches the end of the line, it turns and goes back the other way… It's so much fun. The best part is that it was only 3 bucks. Thank you Walgreens after Halloween 85% OFF Sale (which is the 95% bulk of where all of our Halloween decor comes from) BooYa!

     Moving Along….

     So as many of you already know, every October, for some Freudian reason, I try to celebrate Halloween at full Octane Capacity. I want to eat barrels and barrels of candy corn, watch scary movies until my eyes pop out of my head, and I'll kinda go overboard with a DIY Halloween Costume.  Then I try to find a couple of Really fun activities to go wear the costume at.  This is my somewhat replacement for a Trick-Or-Treat-less Childhood.

     This year's costume is really no different.

     Around August I tend to really start thinking about who I want to be.  I honestly had no idea what I was going to do.  As I am planning on moving to NYC next Summer, I honestly considered not making a new costume this year at all, but just wearing one I had made a few years ago, that was never entered into a competition and only worn for a single hour to a party (Max, Where the Wild Things Are.)  SO I really was on the fence about a new costume this year until, August 11th.

     Like something very unreal, the whole world receives a huge shock to their system. Acclaimed and beloved Actor, Robin Williams, commits suicide in his home.  I really couldn't believe it.  I have been a Robin Williams fan since I saw Mrs. Doubtfire as a young teenager.  That was the first film I had seen of his, oddly enough.  Since then I made my best effort to see anything he is in.  Some of my most favorite films star Mr. Williams.  I've seen every animated film he did voice acting for and I've even seen his stand-up work. He was a VERY AMAZINGLY TALENTED Man.  I always thought that he could play ANY role.  He was known for his comedy but he was also such an Excellent Dramatic Actor as well.  I was very saddened by his passing and lament that the world will not get to see any more of his talent.  It is very hard to say goodbye to him.  What's strange about it it is that so very few people in the world actually knew the man personally, but the rest of us all felt like old friends.  It was like saying goodbye to a friend you will never see or hear from again… very sad.  I don't think the world will ever be the same in his absence. 

 Artist is Tyler Boyco

     At this point, in August, I still haven't decided what I was going to do for Halloween.  It wasn't until very very late September that I was even TOYing with the idea of making a Robin Williams Character Tribute Costume.  Since there were SO very Many REALLY great Characters to choose from, this really confused the process even more.  Though however long or hard I thought about it and however many different roles I thought about him playing that I could turn into a costume for this year, I kept coming back to one character that has stuck in my mind and been on my thoughts ever since that 11th day this past August: Mrs. Doubtfire.


     I couldn't stop thinking about making her my Halloween costume this year… I just couldn't.  On the flip side of this, I kept saying to myself,"That's crazy! How in the world would I pull this off?!?! It's just the Nuttiest Idea, Ever!"  SO I would put the idea out of my mind thinking that it wasn't really going to be possible to do because, seriously, I am NOT a special effects makeup guy so would have NO IDEA how to do the make up.  Then, special effects makeup aside, where am I going to get the clothes for her signature look.  SO… I toiled longer on deciding a costume and was still erring on the side of not doing one at all, or a new one at least.

     It wasn't until the first weekend in October that B and I had traveled up the road some to Perry, so we could go to the Haunted Barn (which is SUPER fun by the way!)  On a side note, it was probably the most fun haunted house that I had ever been to. I've been to many and they are usually SO SUPER cheesy and boring,
with people who scream at your face and bang on poorly painted plywood that is supposed to resemble some sort of spooking setting for that room's particular scene (which personally takes me out of it and kills the fun.)  Even though the Haunted Barn is a Scene based attraction, the way they do it there really did "get me," so to speak. I really did jump and get spooked and kinda freaked out a little when I went through it with some good friends.


     Anyway…. I had decided to go into a thrift shop earlier that day while we were in town, just to see what I could find.  I made a very snapshot decision that if I could find some of the clothes for the costume, then I would go as Mrs. Doubtfire.  As as you might have guessed, considering I am gong as her this year, I did find just that.  I found that lovely floral sweater that just SCREAMED Mrs. Doubtfire.  I also found a grey wool skirt that, when worn at the top of my hips, was the perfect length.  I knew that I could dye it blue and it would be the perfect shade and texture for the part.  I knew that I would be presented with a lot of challenges with this costume and I welcomed the idea of them ( I would later be cursing and swearing at myself.) At that moment of finding those 2 items, I felt like it was the most perfect choice and most "fitting" way I could pay homage to one of my most favorite actors and tribute to his most regrettable passing. I thought to myself,"I have NO IDEA how I'm going to pull this off, but this is the year to do it if I am going to do this."


     Speaking of fitting, true-Funny story, when I was at that particular thrift shop, I was trying on the skirt and sweater and a couple of blouses in the fitting room. I had forgotten to lock the door and this woman had walked in on me trying on the skirt with an obviously too tight blouse. She uttered some indiscernible noise and had left more quickly than she had arrived.  when I was checking out at the cash register with my skirt and very granny floral sweater, who should get in line behind me, but that very same woman.  She gave me a VERY STRANGE look as she glanced down at the women's clothes and then back up to me.  It was at this time that I felt the need to explain what I was doing.  Her response after I had explained the tribute to Robin Williams and that I normally despise a drag costume for men, etc. was,"You're Bold."   I'm certain she probably did not mean this as a compliment as her facial expression did not really change, even after the explanation.  I took it as a compliment though.  I'd really like to think that "BOLD" could be an adjective accosted with some of my nicer defining qualities.  Besides, it was October.  I really was flabbergasted as to why she didn't come to the,"Oh it's October…. Halloween time… must be for a costume."  But NO, really this woman jumped to the weird transvestite conclusion before Halloween Costume EVER entered her mind.  This trend continued over the course of me shopping for Mrs. Doubtfire clothes.  I can't even count how many strange looks I received from strangers on 2 hands and 2 feet.  I even, after explaining the Halloween thing to another woman in the skirt aisle of the same thrift shop, had the same reaction.  She moved immediately down to the opposite end of the skirt aisle.   I eventually just tuned it all out and stopped trying to explain myself.  I just must look like the weird type. Oh well.


     Now, I normally despise the "drag" solution for guys at Halloween.  This is ONLY because when it's done, it's usually done very lazy very last minute and very badly.  I just absolutely detest a lazy costume.  It's not creative, it's not clever and it's not thoughtful or thought provoking.  You might as well not have dressed up at all.  I know that's a rather harsh criticism, but I just can't help it.  You either really do it or just don't do it at all.  I know it's a bit harsh a criticism but I just feel deep down that if you don't care then don't care, but if you do care, show it and most of the time, the guys going in a sloppy dress with sloppy makeup just falls into this category for me.
 See, I feel that if you're going to do drag for Halloween, go ALL the WAY and Over the TOP, because drag queens are very vibrant and energetic performers.  I think Vegas if I was going to attempt drag.  But I usually don't want to do drag.  There was one year that at the last minute some friends of mine did put me a drag getup together so I could walk around the neighborhood with them and their kid to go trick or treating.  I remember enjoying the evening with my friends, but felt like I was SO THROWN together that I should have just not attempted it to begin with.  However, in the context of what I was going for this year, I had to make an exception to my No-Drag-For-Halloween Rule.  

      So after making the decision, I began thinking about solutions to some of the challenges that this costume would present.  Every year I try to select a costume based on the new challenge that putting it together will bring.  It's part of the thrill and the excitement for me.  I feel that I have accomplished a tricky puzzle by the time Halloween rolls around and I am wearing my successfully completed puzzle. It really puts me in a good mood and I seem to have a lot more fun at the Halloween festivities.  The Mrs. Doubtfire costume presented several challenges over the course of it's creation.  If I'm being completely honest, I'm not quite sure I would have chosen that character. I might have chosen Leslie Zevo from TOYS or maybe John Keating from Dead Poets Society or even Alan Parrish from Jumanji instead, had I known. That's all part of the fun of it though.  They wouldn't call it a challenge if it were easy, huh. 

     This was my very first adventure into wigs. In previous years, I just used my natural hair whether it be long or short and that factored into the costume choice.  When I was Gene Wilder Brand Willy Wonka, I had very long hair and my hair was naturally curly so I didn't' need a wig or any special hair dressings.  But lets face it, look at this mug (pic of me), I do not quite have the hair of Mrs. Doubtfire.

So I ordered, for the first time in my life ever, my first wig.  I did a bit of research and found that through forums and product reviews that Lacey Costume Wigs of New York had a "Mrs. Doubtfire/Old Woman" Wig that worked best for this costume.  Since this was a professional wig company that produces wigs for stage productions, The wig was pretty much the most costly item of the entire costume.  Most women are already Endowed with such knowledge, but I was not… First Wig Rookie here.


     There were 2 types of this style wig, there was an all white version which was usually used with colonial costumes and the grey one, which is normally recommended for a Mrs. Doubtfire costume.  I ordered the grey, however, I received the all white.  As you might have already guessed, by the time the wig actually arrived, there was NO TIME to send it back to get there grey wig to replace it in time for the Halloween Party. So I had a Tim Gunn (Project Runway) "Make it work" moment with this costume.  I decided that Mrs. Doubtfire could sport the all white wig and Rock It!…  But not before I sported it first, right? Because, hey, First Wig is a Hallmark in Any Man's Life,right? LOL (pic of me in wig)  There was one more thing, since the wig was sent in a small bag, it was a little deformed in shape and some of the curls and bun began to come loose in the back. Thank God that Wendy and Mane Street Salon (where I get my hair cut) was available the day of the party to style my wig for me… 

     Now I know what you're thinking,"The whole point of a DIY Costume is to actually DIY, right?"  Well, I may be a man of several talents, but even I can admit when I am out of my league, and women's hairstyles is currently out of my league of talents.  Also there were SO many other challenges for me to DIY Attack/Figure Out that I figured I could cheat on this one thing.


     The next challenge I had to figure out was how to do prosthetic makeup enough to pass as Mrs. Doubtfire.  I didn't want to just paint my regular face up, because, you know what? That's boring.  Anyone can do drag for Halloween.  I had to figure out how to make the prosthetics as they were key in identifying this particular movie character.  I then came up with a crazy idea that I really wasn't certain would work.  I had just finished watching some of the behind the scenes of how they did Robin Williams Makeup for the movie.  I knew if this didn't work, then everything else, all the other details I planed wouldn't mean anything because everyone would just think I was doing Old Lady Drag for Halloween and…  Ewe, how boring, right?


     My plan was to find a general old woman/man rubber Halloween mask from a department store and as luck would have it I did find an old man mask at the local Walmart.  I then removed the fake hair and eye brows off the mask.  I remember in the video how the makeup prosthetics were divided into pieces in key areas.
This allowed for Robin's eyes to show through and for him to make a full range of emotions for the character.  I figured out a way to cut up my rubber mask into similar key areas so that certain areas of my real face would still show through without it looking too much like a rubber mask,  I then stood inform of the bathroom mirror with my shards of old man face and began to mold them around my face and trimming out the extra bits. This would make it so that the mask would be as taunt and as trim to my real face as possible.  I had purchased some Spirit Gum (and Remover) to use to glue all the pieces to my face the day of the party.  I knew I only got one shot at it as I was guessing this costume was going to be a Production to put on and take off.  My assumption at the time was that I could bridge the creepy spotty looking rubber mask skin tone to my real skin tone with the aid of women's makeup, which in reality kind of was a disaster, but I'll get to that later.


     I next had to find the other parts to my wardrobe.  I had the sweater and the skirt, which I died Blue. The other stuff, well… I just assumed back when I was at that thrift shop all excited about the decision to be Mrs. Doubtfire, that I would most certainly be able to thrift ALL my costume components for this costume.  Of course, why not? There's Mrs Doubtfire costume elements at every thrift shop, right? 

The answer is,"Absolutely Not. Not Here. Not There. Not Anywhere."  I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it was to find a blouse or how many more strange looks I got  looking for one.  In the end I had to give up on the idea that it could be thrifted and I had to begin searching for one that would work, that would fit and that was also ON SALE;
which is a Tall Tall Order, let me tell you.  I will say this, I am very good at finding Almost Impossible Things.  I can kind of pride myself on that.  In any case, I finally found a very kind and humorous Sales Woman to aid me in finding the right blouse for me (words I thought I would never hear myself utter.)  We found one On Sale, I purchased it and gave the Sales Woman a lovely review on the stores website.  I knew I wasn't you average customer that day, but she took care of me.  Thank you much, Kind Sales Woman.  you came to my aid in an hour of desperation and you didn't give me a funny look when I told you what i was up to.  I then "slinked" over to another store afterwards and bought a very very cheap bras that appeared as if it would fit me… appeared being the operative word here.  More on that later.




     I still had more elements to find for this costume. Like I said previously, Mrs. Doubtfire was kinda the gift that kept on giving this Halloween, but not in a good way.  Women have SO Many accessories to each and every outfit that guys really don't think about.  I think I have a new found understanding as to why women take a long time to shop for an outfit. It's because of the Gazillion things you have to get and put together with it to make it all work… No one it takes eons int he bathroom for you all to get ready.  j/k ;0)  But women do have to think about A LOT more things than men do when it comes to getting ready. 

     As far as the other accessories go, I was able to find stockings and clip on diamond earrings at the Halloween section of Party City. I also needed to find a circular old lady broach.  I had found a circular pirate's earring there also that I later used to fashion into the broach i wore.


     I then, after putting it off for long enough, had to go get some women's makeup to blend the mask pieces to my face and make Mrs. Doubtfire as pretty as I myself, in my very limited make-up capabilities, could make her.  I kind of had a little adventure on my way to the store.  The good officers of Americus all seemed to be congregating near the edge of the store I was headed to.  There were so many flashing blue lights that I just slowed down. i wasn't quite sure what I was driving into.  I had noticed a wet area in the road where it looked like a vehicle might have been scraped off of the road and a all of the police cars were on either side of the cleared road.  So I was thinking, logically, I had just pulled up on a freshly cleaned accident scene.  A police officer started walking out in front of my car in the middle of the road and, to me, he appeared to be waving me through the scene.  He was waving his hand that was holding a flashlight in a circular motion as if to say,"keep coming through, hurry up, nothing to see here. Just keep it moving."  So I just begin to just keep driving before the officer then begins to freak out and motions for me to stop…. So I stop and roll down the window with a VERY Confused look on my face.  He then asked to see my license.  It wasn't until this point that I realized that I had almost drove through a road block without stopping, which not only looks super suspicious but would have gotten me a major ticket or worse.


     Thankfully, they waved me through.  So I continue on my odyssey, as it were, to find and purchase some ladies makeup.  If you thought trying to figure out women's clothing was confusing, just wait till you try to figure out women's makeup.  I was absolutely lost in the beauty aisle.  I was just standing there looking at the shelves full of god knows what in god knows how many colors.  I thought I was going to be so good at this after watching a little YouTube tutorial on how an older woman would put makeup on. I even had a little list of different types of makeup that I thought I needed to get. But I was SO NOT prepared for the real deal.  I was a rat in a maze.  Luckily I had my chopped off rubber mask ear handy to compare skin tones.  I can't even imagine what people might have been thinking seeing me hold that ear in a bag and hold it up to all the pretty colors with my mouth hanging 5 feet to the floor and bewildered out of my mind as to what to choose and what to do next.  I did my best to select my makeup and I went through the self check out to buy it ( I know… a bit cowardly, but I was so exhausted. I couldn't stand to have to explain myself to another individual that evening.)

     Just a quick thing about the shoes.  I said the hell with trying to get some women's shoes and wear them. Firstly, I couldn't find any that would fit my huge clod-hoppers that also looked like shoes that she wore in the movie (because I looked).  Secondly, i had a pair of black dress shoes that look like pilgrim shoes and kind of have some low-heel action going on in them, I suppose. I call them my Sunday School Shoes and I thought they would do just fine.  Thirdly, i had enough venturing into unfamiliar territory. lol.


      One of the last details I needed to finish was to complete the broach.  The pirate's eating was a great shape but the center was empty. I needed to find something that would go in the center. I had considered using aluminum foil and some sequins and glitter, but B actually told me that he thought he might have something I could use from his stash of his mother's old costume jewelry.  B's mom was an avid collector of many things. Costume jewelry was "One of her favorites." B shared.  We could this absolutely beautiful pendant charm that actually was meant to go on a necklace, but I thought with the right finagling I could use a safety pin to pull the pirate earring and the necklace charm together to make the broach. 

     This costume, though largely paying homage to Robin Williams, paid a small bit of tribute to B's mother as well.  She was such a vibrant and lively woman who was always up for a new adventure.  I only got to know her for a few short years before she passed.  I lament that I did not get to know her longer than that. She was such a very cool woman and I know she would have loved the idea of this costume. She also would have thought the idea of using her necklace pendant as Mrs. Doubtfire's broach would have been a cool creative idea. I know she would have enjoyed being part of that.  I thought about her as I was wearing it that night and was proud that I could have paid her a small tribute as well.  I know she was laughing about how silly I looked from wherever she may be now.


THE DAY OF THE HALLOWEEN PARTY:




     The day of seemed like a frantic mixture of activities.  I had to rise and shine pretty early. Earlier than I normally do on a weekend, but I had a very important appointment with Wendy, my stylist.  She was doing me a solid and fit me into her schedule. I was very grateful because I'm certain a wig styling is usually kind of low on a priority rung for stylists.  She did tell me that on the contrary, many clients go in just to have their wigs styled.  It was kind of humorous because normally I am sitting in the hair-chair (I'm fairly certain there is a name for them, but it is a word I do not know, alas).  That particular morning I was sitting across the way while Wendy sat in the hair-chair with a Styrofoam head of white wig hair and styled Mrs. Doubtfire's hair for me.  Again let me reiterate how important it is to know your limitations and know when you just got to let the professionals handle it for you.  Wendy did such a fantastic job on the wig. Thank you so much, Wendy!  Euphagenia says,"You're a GEM, Darling."  We had also had a discussion about nails vs. no nails.  I had failed to observe that in the film, Robin Williams is never wearing nail polish.  This is probably because he must change back and forth form Daniel Hilliard to Mrs. Doubtfire at a moments notice and nail polish would give a man away. So we decided… No Nails.


     If you are local, stop into the Mane Street Salon and say hey to Wendy.  She's AMAZING and will make you look AWESOME!


     I must confess after my wig styling appointment, I kind of chilled a bit and did nothing except sip coffee and watch some mindless television. HOORAY for Breaks!  After my break, I did begin to actually unpack all of our Halloween decorations and put them strategically in our way.


     I then began to put on the cut rubber mask pieces.  It was again, trial and error, but it seemed to be working out pretty well, considering I had NEVER done ANYTHING remotely like it before.
The first problem I did run into, however, was that the chin piece kept falling off.  Part of it had to adhere to my face, the other part to the mid section pieces  of the mask.
Well, the mask did not want to adhere to itself so it would continually peel and then the piece would become flappy and then finally fall off completely.  So I made a decision to just keep it off.  I'll share with you the make-up process Robin Williams went through for the film.  Mine was now where near the sophisticated level seen in the video, but I have to say, I didn't do too shabby a job,even if I'm saying it so, myself.





     After EVERYTHING had dried and I as certain the pieces were secure. Mind you, this is hours form when I had put them on… hours.  I began to apply the women's makeup.  This is where I ran into a real fiasco. The foundation I had selected was not creamy and paste like, as I had imagined it to be. It was really liquidy and runny and therefore didn't provide the blending I was anticipating it would.  But I couldn't give up, SO I just had to keep on trucking and just Cake it on as best I could and just Roll With It!  Since I didn't know anything about make-up, I also ended up picking things that were all a similar shade.  Nothing showed any contrast when I applied powder and eyeshadow, it looked as if I hadn't applied anything at all… I was a logistical nightmare.  The only thing that showed any variation of color, was the lipstick. So I just took a makeup applicator and rubbed it on the lipstick and began to use it to tone different areas of my face and give it a little more diminution. I was SO afraid of it being all one flat color… ruining the effect of the costume.  I also had to use the lipstick as rouge because I forgot to get any.  All in all it wasn't as bad as I thought it was.  Though B kept on insisting that my ammeter makeup made me look more like a zombie Mrs. Doubtfire.  It was then time for me to get dressed.

     I didn't really need a fat suit as I kind of came by it naturally at the moment. I then put on the bra which didn't really fit well, and stuffed the boobies with some headline news (a bad joke I kept using for most of the night… thanks alcohol.)  Then I put on the stockings which didn't fit because I couldn't even get them over my butt. I had no idea who in the world would realistically fit into them except maybe a Barbie Doll.
The blouse which ended up being kind really tight and snug.  The only thing that really did seem to fit well was the skirt. and my shoes. I then put on my clip on DIAMOND Earrings, and the broach. Then I had B help me with putting on the wig. Lastly, I put on my glassless glasses. They were some sunglasses that I popped the lenses out of. They were very large and looked like old lady glasses and did the trick. 



     Hit the lights and cue Uncle Frank and Aunt Jack to start Dancing… With a lot of luck and hard work and help from some very good friends, I was transformed into Mrs. Doubtfire.  B and I took some photos to document this year's costumes and we hit the town on our way to a very fun Halloween Bash.  Wendy was there as Connie Conehead. She looked SO COOL. I LOVED her costume. We even took a picture together.
  
Connie Conehead (Wendy) & Mrs. Doubtfire (Me)



     Well this pretty much sums it up.  I hope you enjoyed the journey and the final result.  These costumes end up being one of my creative and fun projects in October and I enjoy sharing them with You All out there. 
I hope it was a "Fitting" Tribute to One of my favorite actors of all time.  It certainly was enough to win me the Costume Competition at the Halloween Bash. First Place! Whoot! Whoot!  I would like to conclude by sharing an illustration by artist, Joe Petruccio.  I love the quote from the film, Hook.  I admit, it gives me misty eyes when I read it.  It's a wonderful tribute to Mr. Williams.  He will be very missed.  RIP Mr. Williams.


     Mr. Petruccio is a very talented artist and I really enjoy his work. You can link to his website if you click on his name. 

I Hope You All have a Very Safe and Very Fun and Very Happy Halloween!



until next time,
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 
Cheers,
LEWIS


P.S. A good friend did say to me that in one of the photos I seemed to resemble Henry Kissinger. I looked up what he looked like and I have to say, it's kinda funny because, as Mrs. Doubtfire, I kinda do. LOL!