Thursday, August 30, 2012

Painted Model

I don't build a model for most shows.  I tend to think in 3D and to be able to document ideas for directors and producers in sketches.  It's faster (and cheaper) to scribble than to construct a model.

But for this show sight-lines are tricky.  Hard to estimate on paper.  The lighting designer kindly made an AutoCAD 3D model which helped immensely, by letting you virtually-sit in any seat.  Fantastic!  Still, a physical model could enhance our understanding.

What decided me that I needed a model was the scenic painting.  This design is not the simple paint-by-number, give-'em-paint-chips! paint job that many sets are.  (Realistic interiors, for instance, can be straightforward to paint: flat or simple scumbled color, then dirtied up.)  This show needs to be much more "scenicly" painted.  But I was having trouble understanding how color ought to vary across the walls without seeing them together in 3D.  AutoCAD models are great, but famously poor at rendering color...

I needed a model for my own sake - to figure things out - and for everyone else's sake - to explain.


I spent one efficient Sunday making little side trips outdoors to spray-glue copied construction drawings onto foamcore board, which I then cut and glued into the basic "white" model.  Finicky work.

White model of a theater set - copyright Clare Floyd DeVries

The next day I painted this white model (and the model for the other scene I'm not showing you - come see the show, eh?)

Tell you the truth - I was nervous.  Afraid I'd botch up 8-hours worth of model by 8 seconds of Oops! with a paintbrush.

But it worked out okay.

Painted model for the same theater set - copyright Clare Floyd DeVries

ADDENDUM:  My buddy Joseph is featuring this model on his Stage Design by Joseph blog.  His posts are worth reading as another view of the set designer's life.  His current project is Man of la Mancha.  (A show I love.)

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