Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Gummy Bears for Lunch

Sometimes a set designer's life gets a tad hectic.

At the moment I have three shows all building and all in Fort Worth - Wait Until Dark at Stage West, The Winter's Tale at Trinity Shakespeare Festival, and Don't Talk to the Actors at Circle Theatre.

A whole lotta car time.

And not much lunch time while driving between theaters (and the fabric stores etc. etc.).

I usually try to keep something healthy-ish in the car for when I'm desperately hungry, but yesterday lunch turned out to be an Opening Night present from Circle Theater's Under the Skin...  gummy bears from one of the actors.

Thanks Uncle Gummy!

ADDENDUM:  I forgot to add this link to a cool study of color palettes in films HERE.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Realized and Un-Realized

Sometimes a design gets built.  Sometimes it gets built and its a hell o' work and everyone deserves a medal!  And sometimes it never happens.

I've been digging through files of old drawings today and found a few things...

In the Hell o' Work file I found this actual medal that I created for the hard working set build team:

It was a ton of work - including lugging a ton of books - and, as it was supposed to be a Pritzker Prize winning architect's Manhattan penthouse, the construction had to be exquisite.  (More on that show with a photo HERE.)  Anyway, the team was incredible!

I also found a full design for a show that never was.  Never mind the particular play or theater (getting rights can be complicated), here's the scenery that never got built... an upstage wall that gradually stripped away, sliding panels that slipped away to reveal, by the end, the raw truth, red in tooth and claw.

Here's the plan:

And here's the progression:

Would have been interesting.  Too bad it never happened...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Haircuts for Radio and Other Weird Things

It's been a busy month or two.

At the moment I'm set dressing Wait Until Dark for Stage West and construction is starting on The Winter's Tale for Trinity Shakespeare, while I'm starting sketches for Circle's Don't Talk to the Actors.

Wait Until Dark, Stage West, design by Clare Floyd DeVries

But what was that about haircuts?

Yesterday a videographer for our local public radio station, KERA, followed me around the stage at Stage West, watching me safety-pin up giant (16' long!) B&W photocopies of the outside-the-basement-window view.  When this got boring (set designer with nice hair cut climbs ladder again!), the TD took us on an Alice's rabbit hole tour through the darkened corners of the theater.  We looked at ancient steel safes and old sofas up nifty counter-weighted folding attic stairs... Fun!  Explore the Theater could make a great virtual reality game.

I think the talk got more interesting too as the TD and I back-n-forthed over scenic problems.

Why all this videoed ridiculousness?

Well, KERA's Art & Seek has gotten a grant to document an artist a week for a year in a how-the-work-happens sort of thing.  As I understand it, there'll be a little bit on the radio and more (like vid) on the website.  Cool idea, huh?

Anyway, 52 weeks, 52 artists... starting, oddly, with me.

So that's weird.  On Monday they're coming by my studio to interview me.  (I'll be vacuuming till then.)  

More weirdness was my battle with the big rendering for the big big backdrop for The Winter's Tale.  I mean, I can design and I can draw... but painting... meh.  So I struggled with it for hours trying to meet the deadline - to the point where, when family arrived, I had to ask 'em whether the result was terrible or okay.  I couldn't tell.  (The consensus was "use it.")

Backdrop for The Winter's Tale, Trinity Shakespeare - design by Clare Floyd DeVries

So there I was yesterday, presenting this alleged artwork to a real painter - the scenic artist - with, as it happened, another very good scenic designer / painter whose opinion I respect looking over my shoulder.  

All he said was, "Colored pencil?"

"Watercolor pencil and colored pencil," I answered.  "But don't look at the technique, just the color."

Actually, that scene shop is absolutely stuffed with good painters who will, naturally, look at my, you should forgive the expression, "technique."  

I have now vowed to take an official watercolor class.