I had the pleasure of working with the very lovely and very talented author, Belinda Murrell this month to create this magical portrait. Belinda has sold over 250,000 books in Australia. Her Lulu Bell series are aimed at primary school girls, and her "Timeslip" series are targeted at a slightly older demographic, and as you have already worked out, also happens to be the name of the portrait. You will be able to read Belinda's full portrait story in the book "Unearthly" to be published in 2016.
Belinda has story telling in her blood. She comes from a family with a long history of writing; both her sister and brother are published authors, and her great-great-great-great-grandmother, Charlotte Atkinson, wrote the first Australian children’s book in 1841. Belinda’s ancestory is laden with such rich imagery and imagining that it is really impossible to ignore when trying to get the full picture of the Belinda story. And such strong inspiration for Belinda to draw on for her “time slip” stories in particular.
All the separate elements in this portrait have been carefully constructed to create this image, which is not too dissimilar to how Belinda might construct one of her own story lines.
Below is the finished portrait, and below this is the story of how it all came together....
After creating this image below, my imagination was stirred about an image of a story teller - which is when I imagined this would be a perfect fit for Belinda Murrell, who writes stories for a living.
The image below now includes a beautiful arm chair from Belinda's house, and in the background you can see the ghosted image of Belinda's great-great-great-great grand parents house (called Oldbury and built in 1828), which has always fascinated Belinda and inspired her creative writing process.
I wanted to create the illusion of Belinda floating up from the chair and being drawn back to the house. I knew it wouldn't be easy, and I had a few practises, as you can see in the 3 images below.
Above, the lovely Portia was unable to maintain a composed look in this awkward position.
Above, the talented Vicki stepping in to be Belinda's body double, just in case!
Below, the next few images are on the day of the photoshoot at Jane Earles studio, and here the lovely Carrie (with a name like that she would have to be, right?) who is applying Belinda's makeup.
Below, is Belinda looking radiant after the makeup is complete.
Of course, she looked radiant before as well!
Belinda emerges from the room upstairs, and I know she was laughing because I was singing "Here comes the bride". :-)
Belinda, stop laughing please, this is serious!
Can you just levitate a little higher please?
Well this attempt to hold the dress up to create the illusion of a floating dress was rather embarrassing, and I even engaged my helper, Vicki (the headless one), especially for this purpose. You have to try these things right? Belinda was not impressed :-)
That's it Belinda, I'm not going to tell you again to stop laughing!
Seeing the shot from a slightly different angle.
Finally, Belinda took my threats seriously and stopped laughing. One more shot!
Here is a before and after showing the photoshop work involved in completing the illusion.