I thought I'd share some outtakes from a recent photo shoot. This one involved a borrowed wading pool (thank you Stacey, as always), a pig trough's worth of milk, lots of paint, and an artist willing to subject herself to this crazy scheme. Linda Bleck, the children's book illustrator is the subject of a feature profile coming soon to the blog. But I am not giving anything away by stating how grateful I was for her trust. Perhaps because she is herself so utterly creative, she was open to all ideas, God bless her, including full milk submersion.
Linda did say that floating in warm milk was a calming sensation. However, getting to that point was anything but. From figuring out the water-to-milk ratio, how to warm the milk, which paints would float on the milk, and how to deal with the spilt milk, it was Wisconsin Dairyland on acid. The phrase "creative mess" exists for a reason, and I'm excited to take you into ours.
The day began with the milk, all 4o gallons squeezed into two carts at Costco. I was prepared with an interesting excuse as to why I was procuring so much milk - I work for a baby monkey orphanage and also I'm directing the Cats Musical but I use real cats - but then no one ended up asking. Those Costco people are so jaded.
It was tricky trying to estimate how much milk one would need to fill a kiddie pool, and as it turns out, once mixed with water for the perfect opacity, 40 gallons was too much. We had a few gallons left at the end of the day. Hopefully warm milk is good fertilizer for grass.
Once I got the milk home, Renn and I ran a few tests. I pulled every skin-safe paint I had and we went to town! It took time and a few cups of sluggish green milk, but we finally found a color combo we liked.
We knew we wanted the show-stopper images to include Linda and paint, but before we compromised the milk, we shot Linda with freshly plucked garden flowers. (Thank you again, Stacey!) In the photo below, you'll see my favorite pancake spatula, which was perfect for popping the relentless milk bubbles and skimming off the shocking number of bugs who insisted on committing suicide by drowning in milk.
The magical moment finally arrived as we eased Linda into the milk bath. And by magical I mean chaotically sloshy. It took trial and error with wood blocks, a sleeping pad, towels, and a lawn chair to get Linda comfortably positioned, but we eventually found the ideal shooting arrangement. When Linda wasn't laughing, she was dozing. "It's very soothing," she explained when we startled her awake. "The warm milk feels nice."
Of course the conversation turned to breastfeeding. And nipples. How could it not? Renn and Alicia, the non-moms, were surprised by the stickiness of milk. Linda described how moms of ferocious nursers can't help but feel like a cow. I revealed that I have an uncle with three nipples.
And so, it seemed only fitting that one of the milk spills happened to replicate a breast.
These over-the-top shoots are always unpredictable. I get ambitious and then things don't go as planned. But Renn always saves the day. And just wait till next month when I post the photos -- Linda's beauty shines through. That said, she hasn't had a glass of milk for some time.
If you would like to read another behind-the-scene's post, click below: