Flashback Friday

Today I'm going to take us on a short journey back into September of last year.  And a simple main-stage production of Antigone. Being performed in the round (meaning the audience is surrounding the stage on all sides) meant that were not a lot of big scenery requirements. Therefore a set designer wasn't hired for this production. The director had something in mind and gave me a rough sketch....which I can't seem to find. It was a rough outline of a bearded face with bleeding eyes. (I'll add a pic if I happen across it)
He wanted the audience to walk in and see this face there on the floor that had a 'stone like' look to it and the words around the outside. So I did a little work in Photoshop and sent this back to him as a more refined design.

He loved it and I actually began painting it before the end of my contract the summer before; finishing the base look of the floor.  Upon returning I started in on the head and the lettering.

The director had expressed a wish that he would like the face to glow under the lights and have that effect fade in and out. I brought up the black light reactive paints and we had a plan. I even found paint that would glow red for the blood coming from the eyes.

When the director came to see the finished floor, he was positively giddy. Unfortunately in space there were some issues with getting the same results from the lighting designer's equipment.  Mostly because the lighting designer made a lot of false assumptions on what would work. I ended up throwing another coat of the UV paint on right before opening (and missing Stitches East). Either way I think the end result was rather stunning. 






Flashback Friday

I promised flashbacks and here is your first one. I was going to begin with the show I had abruptly stopped with, but I have a recent project that is more near and dear to my heart.

We have these 'deteriorating' columns. They have never been used in a show since I have been here, but we rent them out. A lot. Which is amazing because they look like this:

Now these embody many of my painting pet peeves. The first is bad marble in general. It irks me. I strive to make my marble realistic. Whenever I come across actual marble I become mesmerized in trying to figure out how I would recreate it with paint. This has, more than once, led to me walking into walls or tripping over something/someone. The second is the purple 'fantasy' marble. Designers love this sort of thing for some reason. Marble doesn't exist in those colors, but you paint what you are told. However that is no excuse for the 'pooka-pooka' sponge marks on the marble. I should not be able to see each and every spot you plunk down your sponge. And frankly, if it is marble, I should not be able to see that you used a sponge at all. Then the veining. Oh vey, they veining! No, no and NO! Someday I'll do a post regarding this....too much to include here.

I've seen these things go in and out of our shop on rentals and they make my twitchy every time I see them. When a few of them returned from a end of year event and I had some unoccupied time before the end of my contract I saw my chance. I approached my boss with the proposal of repainting them to look better and make them more attractive for rental and use on stage (read- not purple). Don't get me wrong. I love purple, but a more realistic and neutral color would be more versatile for rentals and productions. He thought it was a great idea and said go for it.

And I did.

The first step was to kill the purple. It took two coats of primer and two coats of  the base color. I don't care what the manufactuaer says; their purple (and some blues and pinks) have dye in them. It can create havoc in other situations, but in this one it just made it hard to cover.

The new marble choices were a creamy brown for the top and keep the black on the bottom. These were my inspiration samples.

Once I had the base set, the glazing of colors began. 

This picture shows a good example of the difference between the base coat and the glazes.

Another example of the differences in the process. The one on the right is the first layer of glazes. The one on the left is a few steps further in the process. 

 This one I was rather happy with. Much prettier than the purple.

With the glazes done it was time to start veining. This was the hardest and most stressful part. I really obsessed over making them look realistic. On a table top or a section of wall it is much easier than on a item you can see from 360 degrees. I tweaked it in some spots but really worked to make it seem like these were cylinders of real marble.

I liked these two sections.

Then onto the bases an the portoro marble. I worked them as if each face was a different slab of marble applied to the base structure. 

The linear nature of this marble felt so very strange to me, but it was fun to do. I'd never painted this type before. 

And here is the whole lot. Big improvement, no? Much classier and more likely to be used on stage as well as for events. I'm rather proud of them. There are areas I'm still not happy with but overall I think they are a tremendous improvement. And it was far more fun than just cleaning the shop.

Here are a few more individual shots.

I hope my first Friday Flashback didn't disappoint.

And we're back...

Sorry about that folks.

Right in the midst of reviving this blog...and then absolute silence.

For over a year.

I'm sorry. But I do have a good excuse. I didn't lose my job or stop painting. But during the rush and frenzy of that show last posted I had a ton of doctor's appointments. And one day, in the middle of load in, my life changed. March 23rd, 2012 I was diagnosed with MS. You can read the details about it over on my other blog

Last year was a big year of adjustment. I was enlightened as to some of the issues I had been having, and now I had to learn to shift my thinking. As a woman in this business, I've found that I have to work extra hard to prove that I am capable. It's the curse of being a petite female in a physical career surrounded by guys. When you've been doing that for so long, it is extremely hard to admit you have limits. Limits that you cannot control.

And last season's schedule sucked. There's no other way to describe it without wanting to choke some pencil pusher without a clue. But it was a successful season. One in which I accomplished some big projects, including designing a mainstage production. Therefore I have lots of stories and pictures for you. I'll be doing Friday Flashbacks for a while to get caught up.

In the mean time. I am back on contract. Plans for the first two shows are starting to come in. And I'm getting started on a few small projects and continued shop improvement. I did a lot to my shop space over the last year, and hope to do some more this season. I'm sure when I get it just the way I want it, they will decide to move us to campus and I'll have to start all over again.

So hello. Welcome back. And here's to a season of on time plans/color, polite directors, cooperative designers, surprise increases in budget and actors who don't break everything they touch.