The Puppet Challenge Part 8: Lynne, Graeme and Anna

Lynne Lamb, Anna Marchi and Graeme Galvin

Lynne Lamb: Big Bad Wolves and Puppet Portraits

Lynne was so quick off the mark with the Puppet Challenge, that she was deep into creativity a bare week after it had been announced. To that end I’m going to include her… alongside Philippa Robbins, another who made many puppets… in an ‘overspill gallery’ toward the end of the exhibition, the better to do justice to what was produced.

For today I’m going to look at Lynne’s work on the theme of the wolf. It was never specified whether there was any particular mythic aspect she was examining. I’m assuming Red-Riding-Hood, though she may well have been exploring more generally the wolf’s role as the villain in folklore and fairy-tale. The journey began with digital sketches.

One of things that was immediately apparent in the work posted at her blog, is that Lynne is an artist down to her fingertips. She draws beautifully, even when the idea is just to get something down quickly. None of the sketches shown here were realised as puppets looking very much like them, but I think at this stage Lynne was playing with ideas. One of her great strengths is that she’s flexible about realisation, and once the making is underway, she allows it to carry her where it will, regardless of the starting points.

Above and below: digital concept sketches

Below: taking us into the realms of Greek myth and Cerberus, the three-headed Guardian of the Underworld

Below: this might be a take on werewolf iconography…

… and these two are indisputably werewolf-ian!

Below: once the puppets were underway, they romped off as though entirely confident of what they wanted/needed to be.

Above and below: Not one wolf under construction in Lynne’s studio, but many.

The three-headed wolf initially manifested as a demonic beast…

…and then donned a frock and acquired some strings to transform into this rather sinisterly winsome marionette, a three-headed grandma-impersonator in floral-print and flounces!

Elsewhere, a glove-puppet came into being, with needle sharp teeth and mad, yellow eyes.

And finally, the journey begun in a virtual paint-box, arrived in the world of corporeal pigment and brushes, and a series of puppet-portraits emerged that I absolutely love.

Graeme Galvin: The Canterville Ghost

I’ve known Graeme Galvin since I was teenager, when he was the designer at the Caricature Theatre in Cardiff, the puppet company I joined shortly after leaving school. Graeme designed and made so many of the puppets that I cut my teeth on, and so it’s a delight to present here the marionette he’s made for the Artlog Puppet Challenge. Graeme is, I think, the only long-time professional puppet-designer/maker who has taken part in the challenge. Time to salute a master.

Anna Marchi: Bluebeard

I haven’t been able to discuss puppet-making with Anna, as there has been a language barrier. But on completing him, at her blog she announced… in Italian, of course…

“Bluebeard! Finally! I finished the puppet version of Barbablu, and here he is, in all his cruel elegance!”

I like the phrase ‘cruel elegance’. I’m reminded of John Malkovitch as the viperish Vicomte Sébastien de Valmont in the film version of Christopher Hampton’s play, Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Below: the stages of making, starting with Anna’s concept drawing

I see no strings or control-rods on this haughty ‘Barbablu’, and I suspect his role in life is to be an ‘artist’s maquette’ in Anna’s studio. We shall have to wait to see whether he appears in any paintings.

17 thoughts on “The Puppet Challenge Part 8: Lynne, Graeme and Anna

  1. I enjoyed journeying through Lynne’s exploration to the subject of wolf and that second digital sketch reminds me so much of a futuristic version of Anubis. I love the characteristics of each of the three heads, those yellow eyes and that mad grin.

    Graeme is truly a puppet master, I love the elegance of his ghost complete with the pale complication and and majestic garments, and Anna’s Bluebeard has a majestic crudity to it… such fabulous creations

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  4. Lynne has to be one of the most prolific artists around! Looking through her process shots is to go on a journey, in the best possible way. I really enjoyed her three headed wolf puppet. In granny’s clothes or not, it is brilliant.

    Graeme’s ghost is absolute perfection. The face and hands are so expressive, the costume is lovely, and all of the carving even down to the joints of the knees beautifully worked and considered. Puppet-making skill is just pouring out of these images.

    Anna’s Bluebeard is like a poem of a puppet. I love the free painting and all of the beautiful shades of blue.

  5. wow!!! all those wolves! and the puppets are so wild and fantastic! i especially love the painting of the three-headed not-quite-grandma, what an outstanding painting it is! the two heads flopping to the sides and that little bib of wolf-hair…that grin… awesome 😀
    the canterville ghost is just the model of elegance. bowing to a master for sure! his face is so full of expression, and the colors are perfect. he seems so…perfect. pretty overwhelming!
    cruel elegance is just the expression for bluebeard! i love that dandy little hat twisted up 😀
    another fabulous post!

  6. Wow!
    Just fantastic.

    Lynne certainly dazzles with the volume of prep studies, all so wonderful on their own – but the three-headed-Cerberus-Granny just brings forth a chuckle… as a good puppet should!

    Graham is indeed a master such an elegant beauty. So much to learn from this figure.

    Bluebeard does have a raw, fierce seductiveness. Wonderful work.

    Thank you all for sharing your creative spirit.

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  8. Once again a marvellous post! Lynne Lamb’s diversity as she progresses towards the 3D puppet, then through to the paintings. (I would like to know their dimensions.) The character while scary, is nevertheless loveable. I think Lynne has got to know and love her character as it evolved. I particularly like the painting of him/her on the bed, with his glasses.

    Graeme Galvin’s exquisite watercolour is mesmerizing, as is the puppet. I’m glad I didn’t see his puppet before embarking on mine. I fear I may have been daunted. (Too much to aspire to! ) Beholding a professional puppet is immensely satisfying and leaves me with a delicious sense of pleasure.

    Anna’s foppishly cruel Barbablu is excellent. Marionetto di Anna è eccellente affettatamente crudele. (I hope that’s an acceptable Italian translation!)

  9. The standard and diversity of all the puppets so far has been amazing, and makes me proud to be a part of this process. Because of my love for marionettes, Mr. Galvin’s “Canterville Ghost” is the one that has grabbed me the most so far. There is always a lot to learn when viewing the work of either a gifted amateur or a seasoned professional, and I will study the photos of Graeme’s lovely creation, and the other puppets for tips to carry forward in my own work.

  10. Lynne’s torrent of talent and creativity is jaw-dropping, I’m pretty much speechless, and Graeme’s Canterville ghost is perfection. Anna had expressed cruel elegance in her puppet so well, he makes my flesh crawl, that face!
    This is turning out to be a brilliant, brilliant Artlog extravaganza 🙂

  11. Yet again…blown away by fantastic creativity here! Lynne’s wolf is wonderful….I especially like the 3rd image down where he has human legs. That’s what REAL wolves have. And I adore all that toothiness! Fascinating that the language barrier doesn’t stop us appreciating Anna’s Bluebeard…I like that literal blue. As you say, Clive, a salute is due to the master…Graeme’s puppet is fabulously realised – amazing how much subtlety and detail he gets into what is, in effect, a monochrome design. Gosh….wonderful stuff!

  12. Another fantastic card code. Lynne’s wolves are somewhat sinister in their finery-of three heads. Bluebeard too is fabulous. The hi-light of having a Canterville ghost as well… I love this story and feel he is so well captured, bad temper et al.

  13. Lynne’s digital-making-painting journey is a fascinating insight into her working process, Graeme’s drawing and making are so deft and finely rendered and Anna’s puppet has just the right balance of lethal dandified bloodiness (!) for Bluebeard…More brilliant stuff…

    • Rachel you have expressed it so well. I am so drawn to the wolves in all their variety of expression. The fairy tale wolf has long been a favourite of mine, especially since my discovery of Angela Carter’s writing years ago. And the ‘Fables’ graphic novels also take the idea of wolf / man and play with it.

      The ghost is so skilful it takes my breath away. I would love to see it perform. And the Bluebeard puppet (also excellently explored in Angela Carter’s short stories and really rather akin to the wolf) has the kind of rough textured arty quality that speaks to me every time. I love it. Wonderful stuff all round,

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