Fall 2011 Hamilton Central School

Set Painting for Play: Enchanted April

 

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Technique:

Behind the Scenes: A Creative Collaboration

Inspired by a recent painting workshop I completed with Golden Artist Paints instructor Lori wilson, I was ready to dive into uncharted painting territory and have fun with some experimental painting techniques.

 

My main contribution to this set design by Melissa Davies was the conceptualization and execution of a textured and aged wall starting with a sunny flat yellow undercoat, groove troweled over with adobe hand-mixed color blended with cotton fibers to add an even deeper texture base. It was more difficult for me to try to explain this process to the set designer than to simply execute it. Watercolor artist Jana Laxa inspired me by the manner in which she assited me with ragging the walls with brown washes and a lighter creamy yellow to "age" the walls and make them look more time worn. Jana has a wonderful sense of color and a very different painting foundation from my own, so I really learned a lot from working with her. Collaboratively Jana and I painted the "rock" patio and stairs with a flat grey base and individually painted in the rocks, eventually adding "dirt," "moss" and aging it with a dark grey-brown wash. I instisted on the color for the shutters and doors to coordinate with the walls. Jana and I aged the doors. I designed and painted the door "hinges" with a textured metallic paint that gave the illusion of hammered metal. In addition I made wrought iron handles for the doors which were never put on and 2 electric lanterns to flank the doors which were also not used in the set, because the set designer felt that such details were unnecessary so close to the completion of the project. That is always a great disappointment to hear when you've put so much time and effort into such details! What was even more disappointing was that the set designer Melissa Davies failed to graciously acknowledge certain people, such as myself, in the program for the play, that worked long countless hours in order to make her set design such a great success. Joel Morain the Stagecraft instructor at Colgate University later told me he had a heavy hand in the execution and success of this set as well, but was not acknowledged in the play program either.

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