Season: 2013

Makin' a Scene: Painting a Drop, Part II

Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 in Artists & Company
sandy blog six

Sandy explains how layers of paint will provide the right effect

When we left our fearless heroes last week, they were halfway through an architectural translucent drop. I talked a bit about the work that goes into just prepping the drop to get painted. Next I'll say a little about the complexities of the painting itself.

As I mentioned before, the drop will be lit from the front with white light and from behind with red light. When lit from the front, the picture needs to be in greyscale and when lit from behind with the red light, only some parts are red, while others need to stay in greyscale. This means that there need to be both translucent and opaque parts to the drop that transition softly into each other.

We were given two elevations to paint from: one depicting what the drop will look like when lit from the front (in greyscale) and one depicting what the drop will look like when lit from behind (with red light)

We painted from the red rendering, showing us which parts would be translucent, and thus showing up as red when lit from behind. On top of that, in order to make the white step as opaque as it needs to be in the next step, everything that is going opaque white needed to go opaque black first. SO.... what we are doing is painting everything we see as red on the rendering as variances in the black's translucency, and everything we see as white we are painting straight black.

Confused yet? That was just step one. Next we had to go back over the entire thing to paint in our opaque whites. Remember that anything that was going opaque white had to be painted opaque black first. The final stage of this drop was to age and contour the white. It was very mind-boggling to keep in mind that anything that read as grey on the rendering had to be painted out opaque black, then opaque white, then grey last and on top, whereas anything reading as red on the elevation would be painted translucent black. We really had to use our imaginations on this one and had to paint from TWO elevations simultaneously instead of just one.

Usually a scenic artist paints the drop to look exactly like the elevation. In this case, we needed to paint the drop to look like TWO elevations. It was a great challenge. Our efforts paid off though, as the finished drop was hung on Saturday and looks great! We completed this humdinger in only ten days with only three scenics per day. Not bad!

Technical rehersals for The Unfortunates begin this week. There are so many cool lighting effects, one of which is the red backlight. I can't wait to see that cue bring our drop to life!

To learn more about Sandy, go to her blog on her website.

And if you want to read Sandy's weekly blog on the OSF site, click the RSS feed button over in the red box on the right (the little tiny icon to the far right) to get alerts.