I've been painting for The Sound of Music--this year's production of the Tacoma Multi-Stake Cultural Arts Committee. We've been excited about this since it was announced last year. The powers that be agreed to roll in the budget from two other productions (A Christmas Carol did not happen this last December) so they could pay for the rights, and they really pulled out all the stops.
All the planning and preparation takes quite a while, of course, but they only get two weeks before opening night to lock up the gym and keep everybody else out. During those two weeks the place is a madhouse.
Patrick came and talked to me about sets a few weeks ahead of time, so I was able to start putting together some ideas. This is the sketch I came up with for the rear of the house.
I took a couple of days to draft the design onto the panels (lots of measuring and marking), and then started painting. Patrick came up with this really cool system where he had some tracks on the stage and then panels that slid into the tracks. The panels were wood frames with canvas drop cloths stretched over them, which was not an ideal surface for painting, but we made it work.
I had a lot of help with filling in areas of color, so I could focus on details and shading. And Anne Marie painted a lot of the window bars for me, which was a huge help. (So nice to have a friend with a steady hand... I don't think I would have trusted anyone else to do those!)
Anne Marie touching up abbey windows. (The windows were based on this photo, simplified a bit). The abbey walls and the house background color were both mistints that Patrick got for free. Can't beat that!
I was thinking of how I got a glowy effect on some of the windows in the Hogwarts mural, so I tried going for a similar look. I think it worked--it did look pretty cool from the audience!
Anne Marie on stage (she was painting the top track to blend in with the black curtains).
You can see one of the house panels in the background.
Patrick built this mountain over the orchestra. (This was one of the first things he told me about--"I'm going to make a mountain!"--but he didn't get to actually put it together until a few days before the play.)
Mixing up mountain color (we use what we have!)
Patrick put on the base coat.
I painted the mountain in less than two hours, the morning of opening night. It was a rush job. Not what I would have liked, but I got it done!
Kate and I went to the Saturday matinee. I gave her a little bit of background while we were waiting for it to start--"Okay, do you know what a nazi is, and do you know what a nun is?" She said she enjoyed it. I'd never seen the stage version before--it is a bit different from the movie. (The orchestra was a little rocky, but everyone did a really great job.)
The nuns' music was really gorgeous! The whole thing was just lovely. It's so cool to put in all those hours and then see it all come together.
I was a little bummed about not getting picked for the Tacoma Murals Project (I made the initial selection process and got onto their artist roster, but wasn't chosen for one of the six mural sites)--but honestly, I don't think there's any way I could have done both at the same time. And a few days before opening night I got an email from the Tacoma Opera, asking me to come back and paint for their February and April productions this next year. I was walking around with a big grin all evening. It's just so fun.
There's still time to catch the show! Two more weekends!