Friday, December 02, 2016

Dragons at the Nativity



Kate made a nativity set to display at this year's Festival of the Nativity.    It was definitely her own unique creation--Kate's set is made up of Sculpey dragons.  She worked on it for probably a couple of weeks, off and on.  Everything turned out so cute.



She's really been developing her Sculpey skills lately. She comes up with some great detail.



I love the eggshell pieces.



You can tell this is the angel because it has a halo, and is holding a star.



Kate's set was displayed in the whimsical section, which features nativity sets of teddy bears or rubber ducks or other things, and this year a couple of very cute Lego creations. They just happened to have the perfect spot for her dragons.



Displays from another section. (No dragons.)



We took Tavah along, and she and Kate had fun checking out all the exhibits. The backdrop that Anne Marie and I painted was the centerpiece on the edge of the stage. Once they got it up there I realized that we had missed the edges. Whoops! When we were putting on the blue base coast we discussed doing the edges, decided that they should be black, and then promptly forgot about it. Ah well. If anyone noticed, they didn't say anything to me!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Nativity Painting 2016



Anne Marie and I painted this backdrop for The Festival of the Nativity. It went so much faster than last year's. That one, with all the outlines and complicated shading, took about three weeks. This one was done in three days. Whew! (This was a relief, as we're both pretty busy!).



We were given the image to enlarge and paint on the backdrop. I don't know who created it originally, but on the last day of painting I realized that the two camels on the ends are actually the same camel. We were laughing over how we didn't notice at first, even after tracing and painting both of them.

We had a little trouble when we used up some leftover black paint from last year and then started a new can, only to discover that the two blacks didn't quite match.  Anne Marie came up with some creative solutions so  we didn't have to completely go over everything.

The theme is "Star of Wonder, Star of Light."  Oooh, pretty!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Aunt Betsey's Visit



My sister Betsey came to see us! She flew in Saturday night and left Friday morning, so we had a good five solid days to spend together. We had a great time exploring and just talking and laughing together.  The kids especially enjoyed having her here. 



Finding crabs at Chambers Bay.



Yummy challa made with imported flour that Betsey can eat!



Nisqually Wildlife Refuge.  Washington in the fall can be rather soggy, but we lucked out and got some good weather.



Chambers Bay playground.



Playing Settlers of Catan (in which no one rolled a 7 the whole game!)



Point Defiance.



We hiked from the Rhododendron Garden up to the Gig Harbor viewpoint (with a few detours off the "spine trail"). I've never done that before. It was a bit muddy in places but we made it through largely without incident.



No biking, no falling.



Another Chambers Bay sunset. We could see it on the way home, so we ran down to the bay to get a picture.



Lunch at Chung Ki Wa. It was fabulous.



Tree hugging at Snake Lake.



Kate and Tavah.



Kate made these cute collars and tags for Rose and Olivia.



We had a super fun time together! We love you Betsey!

Friday, November 04, 2016

Palette Knife Painting and La Bohème

It's not just sets, anymore--for La Bohème I got to paint a prop. The character of Marcello is an artist, and works on a painting of the red sea. The set designer gave me a sketch of big red waves on an ocean with a woman's face in it.  The canvas was small enough that I was able to work on it at home, up against the half-wall in the living room where we get pretty good light.



After getting this far I decided that it needed to be done with a palette knife. I've never done this before. I didn't even have a palette knife. I picked up a cheap plastic set.



I've discovered that I really enjoy palette knife painting. It's fast and bold, and makes fun textures. I was pretty happy with this, but Linda (the director) said that the face was too obvious, so I took it back home to tweak it a bit more.



In the opera lyrics, we're told that Marcello keeps trying to paint other things and then they turn into Musetta's face. Nobody told me this to begin with (I think I probably would have approached it a little differently), but it turned out all right. Linda was happy with it, anyway. It only has to look good from forty feet!



There was a lot of set painting to do, too.  We're back in the rehearsal space at the Armory. It's gone through some cosmetic changes, but of all the spaces that I've worked in it's the most familiar.



Tracing out big sandstone blocks. I made a foam board template.



Anne Marie came with me one day, and I put her to work painting seam lines on wood paneling.



I got a plastic stencil blank and made myself a brick stencil. When I arrived at the Rialto for load-in and there wasn't anything ready for me to paint on stage yet, I spent a few hours painting bricks out in the lobby.



I will remember this as definitely the most hectic and exhausting set construction that I've been through. Tony and Rosy retired and bought a house in Mexico, so Tony's carpentry role was filled by somebody else (who was familiar with the process but hadn't worked in that specific capacity), who found himself rather over his head and then got sick. So there was a lot of scrambling and everybody jumping in to help out, and lots of long hours. This pic was taken on the day of dress rehearsal. Now, we've never been completely finished before dress rehearsal, but we've never been this far behind. It was crazy.



Kevin and Royce paint window mullions.  Everyone was super helpful.



I added some smoke damage to the bricks above the fire place. That turned out really well. (I probably would have done more if I'd had time!)  The set is reversible--the back side is one big long stretch of sandstone blocks, which I never did get a picture of, since it was always on the back side and the lighting was horrible, but that's what I spent the most time on. Lots of ladder work, at the end. On opening night I was at the theater for about eight hours, painting like crazy. And then I went home and crashed.

In the past I understand that the opera did run for two weekends, but since I've started it's always been just final dress rehearsal Wednesday, opening night Friday, and matinee Sunday. This year they decided to try doing two weekends again, so we had final dress Thursday, opening night Saturday, and then two more performances the following Friday and Sunday. And since Doug has evening class this quarter (again), I begged tickets for Friday instead of final dress. As it turned out, having a week to recover in between made a huge difference. I was not completely wiped out the next day. So it seems it's not the late night and the excitement and the Rialto's uncomfortable seats that are so exhausting, it's the week of painting before that. Whew!



I went with Anne Marie and Erica and we had a great time. None of us had ever seen La Bohème before. I've seen it described as one of the most beloved operas, which I didn't quite get--we found the plot a bit thin--but the music was sublime and the performers truly amazing.