Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Painting Fiona's Library



This is what I've been working on for the past week and a half! I got a call from Helen Christensen, who I helped with the Mod Prom decorations, asking if I'd like to do some set painting for the upcoming Broadway Revue at the church.

We met JoLee and Patrick Watson at the church on Monday morning and went over the planned sets. Castle walls for Once Upon a Mattress, River City store fronts for The Music Man, vaguely Middle-Eastern-looking buildings for Aladdin.  There was also a library set for Fiona's song "I Know It's Today" from Shrek the Musical.  JoLee had printed off a screen shot from this video.  When I saw it I said, "Ooh!  Can I just do the whole library by myself?" and they said, "Sure!"  So I got to focus on the library while Helen did everything else. (Helen is good at getting things done.)



After Day 1 of painting. Helen had some electric pink acrylic paint. Very bright!




 The end of Day 2.



 On Day 3 I did the bricks--I stippled them with one of those sponge tools that looks like a sea urchin on a stick, and then scrubbed a thin layer of light blue back over the top.





"Still Life With Painting Shirt." I've been wearing this shirt since Bruno's. It has memories of all my projects on its sleeves.



 Day 4.  We had some metallic gold paint, but didn't think it would show up very well, so I did the book spines in white first, and then went over them with a couple of coats of gold.




 Books before outlining...



 ...and after.  Helen found some great (and cheap) markers at the dollar store that worked really well. 



Beginning the chalk shading.  I used Helen's pan pastels.  They're just perfect for this sort of thing.  Much faster than shading with paint. 



 The end of Day 5.  You can see which books have been shaded and which haven't.



 Day 7 and all finished!  I added some chalk shading to the bricks and the window frame, too.  (And then I gave it all a good spraying!)



 There are 27 books on each side.  This was not planned at all.




All together it took almost 40 hours.  Which is way too much work for a set painting, I know.  But I thought, hey, if I get to do something like this, and take pictures, I might as well do a good job.  Who knows--maybe I'll get some work out of it.

When I've been working on the train table backdrop at home, I really can't paint for more than an hour or two a day. It was nice to be able to go somewhere else and work. I never would have been able to do this if Doug hadn't been available to stay home with the kids. He was very patient and supportive through the whole thing. (It did end up taking a bit longer than I'd anticipated!) He made lunch every day and called me when it was ready so I could run home and eat. What a great guy.

At this point we don't know if they'll be able to use this piece again for anything else later (or even where they'll keep it--it's too tall to put out in the storage container or down in the basement).  But they're doing seven performances, so it'll be used seven times, at least!  I'm planning to take Kate to the matinee this Saturday.  Should be a great show.

18 comments:

TeacherGenne said...

Hey Helena,
I would be more than happy to work out storing that piece (for future use) and use then I could use it for my Shakespeare and Classical Acting classes. I'm sure it'll come in handy. Exactly how big is it? It's just a thought, if they really don't know what to do with it.

BTW, you did a fabulous job on it!!

Helena said...

Hmmm, that's an idea! I will mention it.

It's eight feet tall, I don't know how wide, and fairly heavy.

Roscar said...

This looks great! I love seeing your process. It's a treat for a fellow scenic painter. Great job!

Mimi said...

Fabulous job! May the show go well :)

Helen in Australia said...

That's fantastic. You have such great talent and a wonderful attention to detail.

Casey Massey, Digital Scrapbooking Designer said...

Great Job! I hope you get commissions when people see your work. c.

Heather T. said...

Oh Helena, that's gorgeous! Somebody should write a soliloquy play just for that setting... =)

BSI said...

I just came over from 2Ps. Had to commend you on an amazing job. To have just a little bit of your talent would be a blessing.

Jake and Jenny said...

Amazing!

Laura Call said...

Wow, wow, WOW!!! Truly amazing, Helena!

Rebecca O'Bryan said...

I love the detail! So curious as to what you will do with it after.

Kristal said...

It looks great! I never would have thought of shading it with pastels, wonderful!!

wholarmor said...

It's very cool! The books look very real and dimensional!

Jesse said...

That's awesome!

Why am I here??? said...

HOLY SNAP THAT'S TALENT! And you're not the only one who spend excessive amounts of time doing things, just so you can do a good job! But I wouldn't do it any other way!

Wingnut said...

Your talent continues to make me dumbstruck with awe!! Congrats on such a great job!

Anonymous said...

Yikes...this is all gorgeous -- but 16 kinds of illegal. If R&H, MTI or Tams-Witmark found out, they'd nail you on copyright and licensing issues.

You're not allowed to stage "scenes" from Broadway shows with costumes and scenery, or with any part of the script without renting the full show. It's a stupid law for schools, but they don't care. They have gone after public schools and private not-for-profit entities for five-figure fines.

Helena said...

If it comes up again I will mention this to the producer/director people and they can look into it. :)