Sunday, May 19, 2013

Improvising Techniques

There are rich traditions to scenic painting and more-or-less formal training and apprenticeship.  To watch a talented and well-trained scenic painter at work is a lesson in economy of motion and effect - nothing is rushed or sloppy, yet every movement is quick and the acreage of scenery fills fast!  Every line and drop of paint is purposeful and perfectly placed.

It's daunting.

For those of us who scrabbled into the role of scenic painter by default - because there was no one else to do it - we have little of that awe-inspiring artistic ability and a whole lot less elegance of motion... but you do learn to be fast and effective.  Sadly, I'm of this lower order of painters.  (A "shmearer" not a "painter" as a NYC scenic painter friend termed it.)  Still, to all but the eye of a trained scenic painter, my sets look okay; they work under stage lights, which is the main thing.

Painting Se Llama Christina's set was a fairly simple business - dirty the walls and take the shine off the floor.  The walls were a matter of swiping some much diluted almost-the-color-of-the-walls paint on the fabric covered walls and spattering "dirt" here and there.  This sort of thing requires an "eye" for effect, but no particular skill with a brush.

Taking the shine off the nasty stick 'em tile floor required adding a thin, messy looking coat of watered down paint as a top coat, but letting the nasty stick 'em tile pattern show through.  The trick was to not let the paint look like paint - no brush strokes!  So, after some experimenting, I ended up applying thin paint, then  wrapping rags round my shoes and sort of shuffle-walking through this and shmearing it around.  Add spatter.  Voila!

A totally faked-up photo because I forgot to actually take a photo.

Fun.  And effective.

I probably looked very silly in the rag overshoes... but my paintin' shoes have seen worse days.

Se Llama Christina opens this Friday at Kitchen Dog Theater.  (Gotta get my ticket...)  Also One: Man. Show. (for which I painted a coolo giant circle) opens the 29th.  Both are part of the Dog's 2013 New Works Festival   Come see!

No comments:

Post a Comment