Absinthe was the drink of choice for Parisians in the 1890s. Phylloxera had wiped out all the vineyards, and the cheapest alcohol was this medicinal wormwood concoction. It inspired madness and genius for the great talents of Montmartre. And our protagonist, Artemisia, finds herself painting in the midst of it, surrounded by the likes of Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, and Erik Satie.
The concept of The Absinthe Drinkers began several years ago, over a wonderful dinner in Tuscany with my husband, John Jopson, and a good bottle of local wine. Initially, the conversation was about an 18th century painting—much like my “Eduardo Gauteir” (below)—at auction. What stories that painting could tell—who was the artist and who was the subject? What if the painting came to life?
In creating paintings for the film, I am literally stepping inside the mind and world of Artemisia and Paris in the 1890s. What were her materials, her inspirations, passions, and challenges? It’s wonderful to imagine the struggles of a young woman painter of that era. Many struggles not unlike my own!
The cast of actors and others on board are committed—we are just waiting for final funding and financing for filming to begin. We are now hoping for production to start in the spring of 2011.
About two years ago we received financing to create a short film for promotion of the film. We filmed on location in the Tuscan countryside and in my Tuscan studio. Gaetano Guarino, our dear friend and brilliant Italian actor, was cast as the role of Eduardo Gautier—the unscrupulous art dealer who, in the end, betrays Artemisia.
My Tuscan studio was turned into a movie set and rearranged and dressed to look like an art dealer's office. As we filmed I made several sketches and took many photos. It is from these references I created "Eduardo Gautier".
"Eduardo Gautier" was painted on linen with oil paints. It was recently exhibited at the Salon International Exhibit and won the top prize in the Figurative Category and placed in the jurors’ top 30 at the Salon International Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.
To see more of Caroline’s work, go to carolinezimmermann.com
Caroline has several of her latest paintings on display at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, California, through August 31, 2010.
Caroline has contributed to the following Walter Foster books: Oil and Acrylic: Still Lifes, Oil Painting Step by Step, and Beginner’s Guide: Get Started Painting.