Friday, May 05, 2017

Painting La Périchole

La Périchole is an operetta by Jacques Offenbach, set in Lima, Peru. (It was originally written in French--Tacoma Opera performed an English translation.) It was a big painting job!

We reused some of the painted drop cloths from Fledermaus. I worked on these at the Armory for a while, and then we moved over to the Northwest Stage warehouse.

Working on my scrubbed-stucco look. We put muslin over the seams once we got it onstage, so I had to go over a lot of it again.

Gail cuts styrofoam blocks.

Stippling. I've got the technique down but it does take a while.

A new addition at the warehouse--one of the guys in the adjacent workspace got locked in recently.

On stage at the Rialto. I didn't go on Saturday, when most of the build happened, but there was a lot of finishing-up to do in the remaining week.

Drawing brick lines with a paint pen.

Royce hangs up the picado streamers.

Styrofoam blocks for the prison scene. There's an old prisoner who breaks out of his cell only to find himself in an adjoining cell.

We put the painted drops on rolls and cranked them up and down. It worked but it was really a pain to put together. We probably won't do it that way again.

(photo by Peter Serko)

I took Kate and Tavah to the Friday performance. It's a very funny show. Marcus Shelton, who performed the fabulous routine with the mop in Fledermaus, played the role of Piquillo. He's so good at the physical comedy. Christopher Nardine directed this one too. He likes to add in a lot of extra jokes in the dialog, which the reviewer from the Tribune didn't appreciate. Marcus made a reference to this in the Friday show--"This letter sucks! Even worse than the review!"--and got a good laugh. Chris has a fun directorial style and I could tell that everyone was just having a good time with the production. Kate and Tavah both enjoyed the show. Tavah says she will have to attend more operas in the future.

Monday, April 17, 2017


Spring is lovely, after an excessively rainy winter. We've had some really nice days lately. I have some tomato babies started inside.

We missed our neighborhood egg hunt, but Kate dug out our plastic eggs and we took turns hiding and finding them around the front yard. (She put a pink egg inside a pink tulip and I just wasn't seeing it at all--we had to play hot and cold for me to find it.)

Friday evening Kate and I went down to Olympia to see the Japanese movie Your Name. Peter and Karen saw it a couple of days earlier and strongly recommended it, so I looked it up to see where it was playing. It was quite fascinating and twisty, and the animation was really gorgeous. I was worried, briefly, that it wasn't going to have a satisfying ending, but it delivered at the last minute. The version we saw was dubbed; I realized later that the one showing in Tukwila was subtitled. I'd like to see it that way too, later. Kate said it's her new favorite movie.

I'm in the middle of more opera painting. Busy busy!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Federation Forest

It was Discovery Pass Free Day, meaning we could go to a state park without paying the pay use fee, so we picked Federation Forest (near Enumclaw). It turned out the main parking area and interpretive center (and important things like bathrooms) were still closed for the season, but we parked outside and went in anyway.  There were a few other people around, too. 

There was a ridge overlooking the river, and a steep slope that took a bit of tricky negotiating to get down.

We spent a good long time just hanging out by the river, enjoying the scenery, and throwing rocks in the water. (Anywhere there are rocks, water, and Andy, you know there is going to be a lot of throwing going on.)

Lots of cool rocks along the river!

Scrambling back up the slope.

We knew we were going to be there over lunch time, so I packed some snacks and fed everyone in the car, and then on the way back we stopped at a place called Mr. Jalapeño in Bonney Lake. It was unexceptional but worked out fine for our needs. (The kids' plates were a lot bigger than we were expecting--we should have just gotten one and split it.)

The kids had a great time, just being out and exploring the woods. I'd been feeling the need for an excursion, so I was glad we made it happen. A grand day out!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Dad's Air Force Quilt

I was able to fly out to Ohio for my dad's retirement ceremony. He's been serving his country for fifty years--twenty years active duty Air Force, and thirty years in civil service. My sister Barb had the idea to make this quilt for him. There wasn't time to piece it, so she called me up and told me what she had in mind, and asked if I could design something digitally and we could get it printed. I put the background together with gelli prints, and created the plane silhouettes in Adobe Illustrator. These are the three main airplanes that he worked on--the T-6, C-17, and F-35.

Barb wanted fifty stars around the border, and I thought they would look good on a background of smaller stars. I made some gelli prints and scanned them.

I made a large star stamp and stamped it with acrylic paint on fabric to get the texture I wanted.

I scanned the stars and made them into Photoshop brushes to put around the border.

Barb and I went back and forth with the image a few times to make sure everything was just right, and then I sent the completed file to Pattern Jam. They printed it out on fabric and sent it to Barb.

Barb put it together and quilted it on her longarm machine. The printing turned out great (the red came out a little more orange than I was expecting), and Barb did a fabulous job with the quilting.

Barb is a longarm artiste!

Presenting the quilt to Dad.

Barb said, "It will keep you warm while you take naps."

It was a really lovely ceremony. Peter sang the national anthem (first and fourth verses, by request), and did a great job. Everyone had lots of nice things to say about Dad.

After the ceremony we had a receiving line. Kirsten sat out most of it. The rest of us thought it would be funny to line up by height.

Betsey and Barb were up late the night before making fudge. I did the labels. I hear it was quite tasty. I think they're still eating that cake.

Barb was the only one who came out with her whole family--Peter and I left ours at home. Our Cousin Mark came from Indiana, and we all had a fun couple of days together. We played some games and ate Korean food and made inappropriate jokes about making fudge.

Congratulations, Dad!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Painting Eugene Onegin

Eugene Onegin is a Tchaikovsky opera based on a lyric novel by Alexander Pushkin.  This was Tacoma Opera's first time putting it on.  Mark, the set designer, populated the Russian countryside with birch trees which we created out of PVC--bare trunks with the suggestion of leaves projected on the screen behind.  In this photo from rehearsal we had a few of the trees in place.  (Photo by Peter Serko)

After La Boheme's difficulties, we wanted to get as much done as possible ahead of time and limit the amount of actual building happening onstage, which meant that we needed a nice big workspace. We made arrangements to use a warehouse down at the Port of Tacoma. Work began during our cold snap, and it was cold. I was painting in gloves. We brought in a little space heater. That helped.

The space belongs to Northwest Stage ("the Pacific Northwest's premier audio-visual and staging company"), and is full of interesting things.

The first day that I walked in, I saw this sign and knew I had to get a picture of it. Ha.

I spent a little too long painting the columns to look like malachite. I did the trim in gold. (This was my second time painting these columns. They were white for Fledermaus.)

Working on PVC trees. I helped wipe them down and Gail sanded them.

Troy built this rock wall and carved the rocks in pink foam, and then I got to paint it.

Striping wall. I went through a lot of tape.

Theater load-in day. We put the rock wall out in the hall so I could work on it while they locked up the theater and everyone else went to lunch. (I brought a sandwich.) That big rock in the middle is my favorite.

We had to get everything out of the warehouse, but by this time rehearsal had moved to the theater, so we took the trees over to the Armory to finish them up. Gail and our intern, Skye, put the spots on about half of them and then I did the others to match.

This production was in the Theater on the Square. I'd never been in there before. It's a small house (300 seats), and Mark was complaining about the sight lines onstage, but it's a nice theater to work in.

More trees!

Kevin arranges trees onstage.

I went to the Friday night performance with Anne Marie and Mimi. I told Doug, "I'm off to be Russian and depressing!" and he said, "Enjoy yourself!" The first half was more light-hearted and then it got rather bleak. The orchestra had some issues, and the chorus got badly off-tempo during their first number, but the other singing and acting were fabulous (the leading lady was especially delightful). We had a fun night out.

The trees looked awesome!

They announced next year's lineup. Noel had already talked to me about doing The Marriage of Figaro for their 50th anniversary, and I found out that after that they're doing Carmen. That's so exciting! I've been hoping to see Carmen since I started this job. Looking forward to it!