Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day Baby!

My sister Barb had her baby--Sage Elaine.  She was just past 38 weeks and still over ten pounds. Look at those cheeks!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Been better....

I turned forty-five today.  It's hasn't been the best birthday--not that I'm (on principle) opposed to turning forty-five, but I've been sick all week, and it hit Kate pretty hard Thursday night, too.   We've been doing a lot of resting and recuperating.  (Kate was quite impressed that I was willing to spoon-feed her ice chips.  She seems to be on the upswing now.)

I was planning to go out for some kimchi jjigae, but that'll have to wait. My family called and sang to me, most fabulously, and when I was outside early this morning I heard an owl, so that was cool.

I got myself some paint for my birthday. I'm looking forward to playing with these, once I'm feeling a little better. (Soon!) And Doug got me a solid-state hard drive, which should help my computer run better.

My sister Barb is expecting her fourth child, who apparently decided not to share my birthday, but should be along any day now! We are excited!

I've been spending the past couple of days checking out Airbnb sites in Korea, and looking at maps and imagining itineraries.  We have a plan.  September 2017, with both kids.  It'll be a crazy adventure.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Art and YouYou

YouYou and her parents are new members at our church. They're from China.  The kids have been on mid-winter break this week, so we had YouYou over for an art play date.

YouYou's Sculpey creations.

Kate's painting.

YouYou's painting.

Mixed media experiment (acrylic and pastel).

YouYou's mom picked her up after lunch and took Kate over to their house for the afternoon. YouYou is working on her confidence in English conversation, but apparently they found some good ways to play together. Kate said she had a lot of fun.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Valentine Project

In the midst of all the opera painting, I was also working on Valentines. I was asked to help out with a Relief Society activity, and also helped Kate make some for her class.

I got some gelli printing and stamp carving done ahead of time, but no actual Valentine-assembly happened until Wednesday night. I was thinking Kate's class party was gong to be on Friday, but she came home and told me it was on Thursday, so we had a late night Valentine-making session.  As it happened, I'd been super tired for the first few days after theater load-in, but on Wednesday I suddenly got this great productive burst of energy (still trying to figure out where that came from and how I can make it happen again!) so we just buckled down and got it done.  I did the front sides of the cards and she added a personalized message and drawing on the back of each one. 

Kate brought home a bag from school to decorate.  She cut out some paper pieces, and I did some gelli printing on the bag before she glued them on.

I've been watching mixed media tutorials on YouTube,  and I have a lot of things that I want to try.  I did play with stencils and molding  paste a little (which we ended up using on the cards for Kate's teachers, but I didn't get a picture), and I got some Tim Holtz distress ink and a blending tool.  Cool toys!  I need to experiment with that a bit more.  I have this problem--I have tons of ideas and things that I want to try, but when I'm feeling most productive is usually when I'm busy doing other things.  Isn't that always the way? 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Birthday cake(s) for Doug

On a lazy, rainy Saturday, where we're all feeling a bit stunned from our late night at the opera, Doug decided that what he wanted to do for his birthday was go to the Indian buffet in Lakewood for lunch. We used to go there quite frequently, but had been neglecting it since discovering East India Grill in Federal Way. This one is quite a bit closer, though, which is a definite plus, and we found that, though the selection is a little smaller, the food is just as tasty. (I was particularly enjoying the pakoras.) Afterwards we stopped by the German bakery and Doug picked out some cake. Three pieces.

(I had a very long and stupefying nap after that big lunch!  Opera-ing is hard work!)

Happy birthday Doug!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Die Fledermaus

We took Kate to the opera! I've been painting for Die Fledermaus, and got some extra tickets so I could take Doug, since his birthday was the next day and he never gets to go to these things--and then I thought, why not take Kate as well? It's a fun opera and I figured she could handle it. (She said she thought she could sit quietly if she had a kneaded eraser to play with, which we agreed was a good solution.)  It was a great show. 

We didn't really have a set designer for this one--the whole production crew met with the guest director and we all hashed it out together. The first act takes place in a house, the second in a ballroom, and the third in a jail.  We came up with the idea of using different colors on the masking panels (visible through the doorways) and different frames around the doorways, to represent the three settings.  It ended up working really well. I wasn't able to get photos of the different looks, but you can see the green for the ballroom in the top picture. 

After the success of the tear-away painted drop-cloth walls in Don Giovanni, Noel asked if it would work to just paint all the walls on drop cloths and affix them to the set on-site. I was up for giving it a try.  Tony also thought it was a great idea, since it meant one less time that he would have to move all the pieces.  Right before I started painting, though, our car died.  This made things considerably more complicated.  I ended up painting the first drop cloth in Laura Call's garage (conveniently within walking distance of our house), and then moved to the Temple Theater and later the Armory, and had to beg rides or take the bus.  Then Anne Marie said I could borrow her daughter Raechel's car (she's away at college), which was a huge help. 

On a Wednesday at the Armory, Anne Marie came and helped me paint for a day. We worked on the big columns. (The first time I've actually painted these--we used them in Roméo et Juliette but they were already the right color.) We had a nice time painting and talking, and ate our lunch at one of the prop tables.

We also painted a drop cloth for the center masking panels. I'd already done one blue and one green, and this one was split down the middle (to be cut later). The colors that I got ended up being very bright. Like special-effects-green-screen bright. Anne Marie said it was like painting Kermit and Cookie Monster.

The director was going for a 1930's setting, so I wanted to use an art deco stencil on the masking. Anne Marie helped me find a good pattern, and I went home and made a stencil with some tyvek. I got a darker emerald green paint and scrubbed some of that over the too-bright background before stenciling.

The tyvek worked okay, but the edges did curl up as the paint dried, which made it a little tricky. (And it got messy--after this I brought gloves!) I ended up only doing the center panel, since it took so long, but it I was happy with how it turned out. And I did scrub a layer of darker green over the other two panels as well.

Painting everything on drop cloths worked pretty well--we could still see the seams and wrinkles, but I don't think they really detracted from the overall look. I had to use quite a lot of paint to get a solid color on the green and blue panels, but the walls required much less, since the light gray I was using for the background was not far off from the original color of the canvas. But it did take a while to get everything up and looking good, which means all the rehearsal photos show a rather unfinished-looking set.

Johann gets ready to paint a masking panel. (He's the one who was interning at the theater during Pinafore. He's been in the chorus of all the shows since.) The "dry floor" sign is a sight gag for the beginning of Act 3, where the jail guard has a rather lengthy slapstick bit involving a mop.

Tony works on a window.

The stapled-up cloths were looking a bit sloppy, but the white trim at the top and bottom really helped pull everything together. (I was able to paint the top trim before it was put up, and we got Johann to do the bottom trim. So nice to have help!)

We got as much as possible done before dress rehearsal, but there were still a few things left to do, so Tony and I had a work call Friday afternoon. 

Royce's daughter Brenna, staying away from the wet paint while the stenciled cloth gets hung. (Her mom put her on tape-measure duty, so she was going around measuring everything, but then she was sad that I wouldn't let her measure the paint.)

Finishing up door frames, mere hours before the performance.

Humorous cartoon-style keyhole.

The director said that it's common to add an extra number in the party scene, so he got the idea of collaborating with Tacoma Ballet, and had two couples come out and dance a number. One of the dancers was Erin Guinup's daughter. It was a great addition to the performance. (Photo by Peter Serko, from rehearsal.)

Kate's friend Emma's mom watched Andy for us so we could go to the opera. We were accompanied by Anne Marie, Mary McGiffin, and Lynne Hennessey (grandmother of the ballerina). It was such a fun night. The music was fabulous, and the performers were all excellent. They really played up the humor. (Kate says she liked the singing and the fancy dresses.)

I read that Fledermaus was the first show that Tacoma Opera ever did, back in 1968. And in 1996 when Doug and I went on our first official date, he took me to see an opera revue at the University of Utah that a friend was singing in, which included Fledermaus's champagne song. (In fact, that's the only song I remember from that night.) It all seems fitting, with Erin's daughter being in the show, since Erin was the director of our multi-stake Pirates of Penzance, which is how I ended up getting this job in the first place. It's been altogether fabulous.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Stamped Skirt (보리밭 치마)

My first attempt at painting and stamping on a skirt!  I've had this in mind for quite a while, but it took some time to figure out exactly how I was going to do it. 

I used Jacquard Textile Colors on a white skirt from Dharma Trading Co.  (this one is unfortunately discontinued--I snagged two before they were gone!)

I learned some interesting things while working on this project:  (1) It's almost impossible to get a precise placement and a good print with an already-put-together garment on a gelli plate. (2) Jacquard Textile Paints will wash out pretty well, if you do it right away. I went through a couple of false starts before I got something I was happy with. I did use the gelli plate for the background--rolled out a thin layer of paint and just pressed the fabric randomly onto it for a blotchy, distressed look, which was pretty much what I was going for.

The text is the lyrics of 보리밭 (a song about walking through a barley field). At first I made a big forward-facing stamp (so I could use it on the gelli plate) using puff paint on craft foam, but I just couldn't get the print placed correctly on the skirt. I realized that only way I was going to get a good print and be able to position it just the way I wanted was by direct stamping. So my project went on hold while I made another stamp.

It's hand-cut craft foam glued onto a clear background.  (This took a very long time, and I'll probably never do it again!)  I split it into two narrower stamps, rather than one big one, so I could spread out the gathers on a small amount of fabric and position the stamp. This is still tricky.  Stamping fabric and then making it into a skirt seems like an obvious solution, but I have to wonder if the paint would gum things up. It does get a little stiff.  Worth a try, maybe. 

The middle tier is all text, and then it dips down into the bottom tier in places. I kept that part more indistinct by rolling the paint on the stamp unevenly and then not pressing down on the whole stamp.  I like the look. 

The big stamp is adapted from a Dancheong pattern. I got eight spaced more-or-less evenly around the bottom.

The apple green color is really bright.  I mixed it with some other colors, but it's still pretty bright. It's a good Korean color, though.  And it came out pretty close to what I'd pictured, so I'm happy with it! Now I have a couple of skirts and some ideas for Kate!