Monday, April 13, 2015

Eraser Dragons



Kate's been making these out of kneaded eraser.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Painting Roméo et Juliette



The latest set! I've been super busy painting for Tacoma Opera's production of Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.  Set design by Director Noel Koran, built and assembled by the fabulous and hard-working Tony Hall, painted by me (in various locations!)  We took some details from this building in Verona which is supposedly Juliette's house.  The curvy-pointy shapes along the top are from there.  (I'm not sure what they are.  Chimneys?)  



The pieces were too big to fit in the rehearsal space at the Armory, so I did most of the painting in a warehouse in Lakewood. (The opera has a storage trailer down there, and Mountain Moving had some space that we could use.)



It was probably a bit closer than driving downtown, which worked out well for me, but it was also pretty cold in there, and on gray rainy days it was a little harder to find the motivation to go paint. (My coat has a lot more paint on it now. I guess I have a painting coat.)  This was also my first time doing two shows back-to-back, which proved to be a little harder than I was anticipating.  There's a lot of running-on-adrenaline, especially at the end, and it's not easy to pick up immediately and start doing it all over again.



(Taken with the timer on my camera, which I hardly ever use.)



This was my first show at the Pantages theater. It's a lot nicer to work in than the Rialto. For one thing there's actually a backstage entrance, so you don't have to carry everything in through the front. And there's a nice big shop area right behind the stage. (I understand they did some remodeling recently and changed things around--I hadn't been in there before.)



It turned out my stucco effect was a bit too subtle, so I got to add a bunch of splattery shading to everything. And some of the seams were too visible, so we gaff taped those and then I had to blend them in, too.



We had work call every day at 2:00, but I was able to go in early and work on my own stuff (as long as it didn't involve ladders) by myself. (Which made for some very long days. Doug got to pick up all the slack at home.)



Wolfgang (Pantages dog). The stage crew there is just awesome. They have a great relationship with the opera people.



During rehearsal.



Director Noel staples up some greenery. The balcony is the same one that we used for The Barber of Seville. Tony made that front panel out of pink insulation foam.  (The tall brown columns were already painted from a previous show--I didn't do those.)



I painted the bricks while everything was down at the warehouse, but it turned out that the panel was upside-down, so once they got it set up the shading on the bricks was wrong. (Aargh!) They were pretty near the bottom of the priority list, but I did manage  to get them touched up before the performance. (Also added  more contrast and color, as they were rather muted. In this picture I had done the bottom set of bricks but not the top one yet.)

The doors were a fun touch.  They're just regular panel doors, and we faced them with luan that I painted to look like wood, and we added the big black strap hinges.  I drew a pattern for those and Tony cut them out of luan.



The painting paraphernalia.  

My comp tickets were originally for the dress rehearsal on Wednesday. (Anne Marie was going to go with me, but got sick.) I ended up not going, as I was there painting till 5:45, rushed home to eat dinner and change, and decided it just wasn't going to happen. I stayed home and crashed. Friday I went back in for a few hours and finished up some of the shading on the upper walls, and that other patch of bricks.  I got everything cleaned up and hauled back over to the Armory, and had a few hours before the evening's performance.



(Photo by Peter Serko, from dress rehearsal).

I went to opening night with Erin Guinup.  It was lovely.  (And sad--we all know how it ends!)  The costumes were amazing and the whole performance was just really well done.  It's cool to see how to look of the set changes with the different lighting.  

This was a definitely a challenge (and not just because my kids kept getting sick!) but very rewarding.  I hope I get to keep working with Tacoma Opera in the future.  It's really is a fabulous experience. 

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Time out for Easter



Easter Sunday fell on General Conference weekend. We're used to that happening every so often. This year it also happened to coincide with theater load-in weekend for the opera, which meant things were pretty crazy. So we didn't really do anything for Easter aside from the neighborhood egg hunt.



Andy was intrigued to discover that the eggs had candy in them, but he wasn't interested in running around and trying to pick up as many as possible. (Unlike his sister, who was!)



While we were waiting at the park for the hunt to start, Kate excitedly announced, "I like pretty much any holiday that involves traditional activities!"  That about covers it!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

If you know the Gounod

I'm currently working on set painting for Tacoma Opera's production of Roméo et Juliette. Progress has been a bit choppy--largely because people keep getting sick--but it's coming along! Theater load-in is next weekend.

There's a Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet that's pretty well known, but that's a ballet. Anne Marie asked me who the composer of this one was, and I said, "I don't remember--not someone I'm familiar with. I think it starts with a G. Or maybe a C." She looked it up on her phone and said, "Oh, Charles Gounod! I know him."

Later I was checking out the Wikipedia article and realized that I know him too.  Or at least one of his works.   He wrote the Ave Maria that's superimposed over Bach's Prelude No. 1.  The Barra MacNeils have an especially lovely version on their second Christmas album.  It's the first song on Kate's bedtime playlist, and we've been hearing it every night for years. 

Years ago I ran across this video of Bobby McFerrin and was absolutely enchanted.  I had to go look it up again after I made the connection.



I can't help but think what a transcendent experience it must have been to be in that audience. I've always loved the bit at a concert where the performer will stop singing and let the audience carry the song for a while. It creates a brief feeling of connection that always gets me a bit emotional. (I remember being at a concert in Bannerman Park in St. John's Newfoundland, sitting on the grass in the twilight, softly singing "Sonny's Dream" along with all the other concert-goers, and getting positively teary-eyed. And I don't even like that song.)

Bobby McFerrin does some amazing stuff.  This video is fabulous as well. Both entertaining and astonishing.



My mind is blown.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Training Chopsticks



I got these for Kate a while back, and I've been wanting to get a picture. (They're cute! And pink!) At this point I'm not sure if they'll really help her learn how to use regular chopsticks, but we shall see.



She wanted to get some pho. That's my girl!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Birthday Jjigae



Doug and I went to to lunch (without the kids!) and I got some kimchi jjigae for my birthday. This time we went to Gangnam BBQ (which used to be Honey Pig and was Duriban before that). It wasn't the best jjigae I've had--I think the kimchi was too fresh--but it was a good meal. I ate three bowls of rice.  (They were not overly full to start with, but still, lotta rice.) And then I got a birthday nap, which was awesome. And my family called and sang to me badly, as is traditional.

We finished up the day with a ward activity (where I got a nice long sit-and-chat with friends), and I did not have to do any cooking or dishes all day.  (Aside from the breakfast oatmeal.  Which I'm not counting.)  So, all around, good day!



Doug got me some flowers, too (roses and alstromerias). Awww!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Peeking Up



This was a nice surprise today!

I planted tomato seeds on the 13th and hadn't seen any signs of sprouting yet, so Friday night I went up to McLendon Hardware and got a seedling heat mat (I was going for just the mat, but they had the Hydrofarm Germination Stationon sale, so I got that.  Comes with a tray and dome also.) I put the seeds in it that night and had some little baby sproutlings Sunday morning! They might have come up on their own anyway, after being in the dirt for a week, but I'm thinking the heat helped.

 I planted twelve different varieties and a few of them haven't made an appearance yet, but I am optimistic. And if they don't come up I've got plenty of time to try again.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sunny Days

We have been having a lovely early Spring.  It's crazy how everything is blooming.  (Tacoma has a Daffodil Parade in April.  I'm not sure what they'll do this year--all the daffodils will be gone by then!)

We took advantage of some lovely Saturday weather at Titlow Park.



Wheeee!



Down at the beach.



Finding crabs.



What Andy does when a train goes by. They are close! And loud!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

So this happened....



It's February 15th. There's something wrong with this picture.

Friday, February 13, 2015

In which Doug hits half a century.



This guy is fifty today! (This is rather unfathomable... fifty?  Really?)  Still as cute as ever. 




Doug's big present is still on the way (clearly I should have ordered it sooner...) but I did have something for him. I got ahold of family and friends ahead of time and got people to contribute to a "50 things we love about Doug" card/book.



Andy got to add his own personal touch.



Helen Chick contributed a poem. (Clever!)



A gelli print for the back cover.



Doug and Kate enjoy checking out everyone's comments (while Andy hides under a blanket).  Doug is awesome and funny and smart and dependable and resourceful... so many things.  In fifty years he's developed some unusual talents and interests.  (And he makes fabulous homemade pasta!  Score!)

We had a nice little birthday observance at home. Andy's been sick all week with a cough, fever, and ear infection (ugh!) but he's finally starting to feel better, and we had a gorgeous sunny day. (I started some tomato seeds!) We are planning to continue our celebration with a trip to East India Grill on Monday.

Happy birthday Doug!  

Friday, February 06, 2015

Planking the Pinafore



I've been busy working on the set for the latest production of Tacoma Opera--Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. It's been a year since I painted for them and I was thrilled to be back. It's been a bit hectic but it all turned out great. (Picture from Evan's phone--I, with my 50mm lens, cannot get the whole set in the frame even if I go all the way to the back of the balcony. )



Evan Ritter was the set designer and lighting tech guy for the show. He made this fabulous model (out of illustration board). I love the forced perspective with the diagonal walls.



For this show I got to paint lots and lots of flooring. We decided to recreate a polished wood deck on the ship, so I got some high-gloss paint, marked off eight-inch boards, and painted all the wood grain by hand. The opera now has a big space on the bottom floor of the old Armory building (for rehearsals and set preparation), and I spent many long days holed up there with my audiobooks and my snacks.



I did about two dozen of these things. I got faster at the wood grain, but probably still ended up spending longer than I should have. Re-doing all the seams after finishing up the boards did get a bit tedious. (The last couple of days, all I was doing was seams. I developed a system.)



Tony loading up the boards to go to the theater.



"Just like laying flooring!" says Tony. "But less rewarding," I say.



A little floor touch-up. My painting clothes have become excessively more painty.

Our comp tickets were for dress rehearsal rather than opening night this time.  I took along my friend Wendy and her daughter Melanie, who were both in our multi-stake Pirates of Penzance, and we enjoyed finding all the similarities between the two shows.  (Sir Joseph was particularly fabulous, in a mincey-poncey-Scarlet-Pimpernel kind of way.)  I also got to stare at the stage for two hours and compare notes with the rest of the production crew, which was good.  We ended up darkening the interior walls (seen through the doorways), painting the door frames red, which was not in the original plan, and changing some of the gold trim to red.  It made things pop!



We new buddy Johan. I had a couple of helpers as we were finishing up for opening night--holding my ladder, handing me stuff, and washing out brushes for me. And when I was done they helped me carry everything out to my car. It was awesome.  (Though I neglected to check the paint cans to make sure all the lids were on securely, which turned out to be a problem later!  Oops.)



Swabbing the deck. We really cut it close--patrons were congregating out in the lobby as we were cleaning up. Whew!

I get to help out with the next show too--Roméo et Juliette, in April. I'm excited already.  It's all great fun.