Tuesday 17 May 2016

The Icing on the Cake!

If you're addicted to cooking / baking shows then you'll have heard of celebrity baker Duff Goldman's new show - 'Cake Masters', which aired its first season on the Food Network last month. Cooking shows not your thing? -This one's different....!

'Cake Masters' makes for uniquely fun viewing. Duff Goldman is the star - it's his world, and this is a guy you'll fall in love with before the first commercial break. He's adorable. But it's his vision and talent that makes the show such fun. In each episode he and his team create crazy 'work of art' cakes, themed for a particular event. They bring in a guest for assistance with some of their cakes and I was delighted when I got a call from the producers to ask me to lend a hand in the final episode.

Some of you who've followed my career for years might know that I used to make elaborate creative cakes back in London and that sugar crafts was my game before edging further into the film industry and the miniature world, more specifically. I traded fondant icing and sugar figurines for clay and movie maquettes! So doing this episode held even more interest for me.

We shot the episode in February (actually we happened to film on my birthday, which was a pretty fun way to spend it) and my episode aired last night here in the US. If you missed it you can find the entire season on Amazon here.

The Cake Masters episode (entitled 'Duff's Rockin' Dockers Cake') was about creating a San Francisco cityscape miniature scene cake, for clothing label Dockers to celebrate them turning 30. What a challenge! Duff's talented team made the cake and I was tasked with creating the miniature figurines (12 of them) to go on top, and each had to be wearing Dockers outfits through the ages.

It really was enormous fun, and also brilliant to work with the production company 'Authentic Entertainment'. What a fantastic crew! Not to mention Duff Goldman's team as well in his sugary imaginative domain in Beverly Hills. If you are in LA then swing by his Charm City Cakes on Melrose and get a cupcake.

Below are some fun stills from the episode and also my 'making of' photos of the figurines!

Rent the Duff's Rockin' Dockers Cake 'Cake Masters' episode here

Don't forget to like Tall Tales Productions on Facebook and follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more regular updates!

NOTE - I will be away for the next three weeks in Europe, and back with new and exciting things to show you in the second week of June. Stay tuned!

Caroline McFarlane-Watts, miniature artist, hollywood miniaturist, cake masters Caroline, CakeMasters Caroline, miniature artisan, scale miniatures, Tall Tales Productions

Monday 9 May 2016

Where Sunsets are Longer

Only my second witch of the year! Appalling, isn't it, but soon I'll share the client projects I've had this year and then you'll understand. ;)

This witch is the latest character for 'Good Witches Bad Witches', brought to you by Tall Tales Productions. She's a Russian witch.

Warning - I'm about to gush about a passionate love of Russian culture. Skip past the next paragraph if you're diabetic.

This Russian witch is second in importance only to my English witch. Most of you know I am an English girl currently residing in Los Angeles, but you didn't know I am also part Russian. I have always had an affinity for the culture. I studied Russian at school (and still believe it's the most attractive language), grew up listening to Red Army Choir, Borodin (The Polovtsian Dances is my favourite piece of music of all time),Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. I've eaten blini with caviar, paskha and many other Russian dishes through life and celebrate St Nicholas' Day. Dr Zhivago is one of my 'desert island' films and I've always found Александр Годунов jaw-droppingly wonderful. (To digress further, my teenage crush was Андрей Подошьян). In short - I adore Russia and anything Russian. The poetry, the music, the ballet, the architecture, the balalaika.... everything.

I put a lot of thought and planning into this witch because even though I love Russian folklore and fairy tales, like all my other characters I want to carve out something of my own and not do an homage to Baba Yaga for example.
She wears a quilted shawl (with Kandinsky inspired design), a red silk scarf with bat motif, ushanka hat, bear skins (yeah, pretty sick), and pushes a pram (American English - 'baby cart' / 'stroller') full of Russian blue cats, which are her 'familiars' (witch's pets).

She's designed and sculpted in 1:12 scale by myself using clay over wire and other mixed media. Soon you'll be able to watch a video of me making her at the Tall Tales Productions YouTube Channel, but until then, here are some photos! PS The next witch will be Greek...

A little note to my Russian friends and fans...
Мои русские друзья, это послание для вас...

Если вы умеете читать на английском, то могли знать что я частично русская и абсолютно обожаю русскую культуру. Я настолько люблю все русское, что возможно даже я буду жить в России и заведу там семью вместо Англии! Я создаю персонажы в виде ведьм со всего мира для проекта "Хорошие ведьмы Плохие ведьмы" и я уже создала английскую ведьму, шотландскую, французскую, итальянскую и так далее, и сейчас я создала русскую. Это не Баба Яга, это мой собственный дизайн персонажа к моему собственному фильму который в процессе развития с Tall Tales Productions. Я сделала её руками, используя застывающийся клей и проволоку. Она может показаться немного пугающей, но я надеюсь вы воспримите её с хорошем чувством юмора. Спасибо огромное что проявляете интерес к моей работе, и если вы хотите видеть больше, то пожалуйста загляните на мою страничку в Facebook, Instagram и Twitter и VK, и так же я размещу видео как я делаю эту ведьмочку на моем YouTube канале очень скоро!
Спасибо вам!
Каролин МакФарлейн-Уотс. x

Blog post title quote - “But Sasha was from Russia, where the sunsets are longer, the dawns less sudden and sentences are often left unfinished from doubt as how to best end them.” 
― Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Friday 6 May 2016

Berned or Trumped?

As an outsider, a Greencard-carrying 'legal alien' living in the United States, I get to watch the political debate in this country objectively.

This blog post does not reflect my political stance.

My cartoon is an attempt to capture the mood in the United States at present, and specifically the way these two politicians are, for the most part, viewed in the state I live in (Los Angeles, California).

I drew this cartoon and coloured it using Photoshop, as creating cartoons is still new to me and I want the practice playing with my tablet. It shows two politicians in the United States today, both vying for the position of President, and both so diametrically opposed to each other that this drawing practically drew itself.

Many around me view Bernie Sanders as heaven-sent; an honest man with compassion, decency and plans to make health care a right - not a privilege, to reduce gun violence, resolve international conflicts peacefully, allow immigrants a path to citizenship, allow women the right to choose what they do with their bodies, address global warming by cutting US carbon pollution etc...

As Paul Waldman (The Week) put it -
"Sanders' supporters are idealistic, hopeful, and looking for dramatic change that is rooted in liberal ideology. They want more comprehensive government benefits in areas like health care and education, higher taxes on the wealthy, and greater restrictions on financial firms."

Conversely, the mood around me in Los Angeles suggests that Trump is viewed as a dishonest bully who denies global warming and has unrealistic plans and policies which belie racist and misogynistic convictions.

Paul Waldman sums up Trump's supporters' opinions of Trump -
"Trump's supporters aren't motivated by hope and idealism but by anger: anger at immigration, anger at Muslims, anger at foreigners, anger at a changing country that seems to be leaving them behind. "

So I created this cartoon to put this mood to paper! The armband on Trump is because many compare his policies regarding immigration and religious intolerance to Fascism. The bird alighting on Bernie is in reference to a small bird which landed on his podium during a speech in Portland, Oregon, which got a standing ovation from his crowd.

For my non-American readers, if you're unfamiliar with these two politicians, Bernie Sanders is the likely candidate for the Democratic Party and Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party, for the 2016 election.

Disclaimer - Tall Tales Productions takes no sides.

In other news, I have almost finished a new miniature witch character for 'Good Witches Bad Witches', and you may have caught some work-in-progress updates on Instagram and Facebook! Coming soon.

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