Our basement has been transformed into a set building workshop. In this pic, I am making architectural pieces that will simulate wainscot and columns for the Nutcracker "party scene" and Megan is laying out and painting her design for the sled that will transport Clara to the Land of Sweets. I was feeling so on top of things for getting the stage painting done TWO weeks before show time. Nothing left but to kick back and build some big, fat props. No big deal. I love power tools almost as much as I love all of my fingers. I keep saying that it is really gratifying that they let me put art on the stage, and even pay for the materials! But who will pay for my prosthetic fingers?
This weekend, it's that time of the year where we paint the nutcracker set. After spending days painting the side flats (the faux curtains to the left and right of the stage) I was ready to start work on the background. You can see that the ladder is not really for those of us fearing heights. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and put on your game face. This ladder is one of those times.
Another artist mom was with me for part of the day, reworking the christmas tree.and listening to Cee Lo's "Magic Moments" Christmas CD. Is there anything better? (Well, actually, fudge is better. But then again, nothing beats fudge.)
In former days, I might have gotten in trouble for painting on walls. But I have discovered that if you "volunteer" to paint it, and you call it a "mural," it's all good. Context is everything.
Here is the "before" and "after" of a stairwell in my school. A couple of years ago, a mural was done by gluing student paintings onto the wall. Unfortunately, the paper began peeling off about fifteen minutes later, leaving the wall looking tattered. For the last year, I have been on a mission to replace it with a river/stream mural, with mosaic salmon to follow. So it turns out that the best way to get something done is to actually just do it, to just get off facebook for Pete's sake and go paint a wall!
While I was painting it I thought, "Am I incredibly stupid, painting a mural at the same time I am working on set painting? How much can one back take?"
I also thought, "Am I incredibly unrealistic, thinking I can paint a mural in a day?"
No and no.
So to all you slackers going to your "jobs" and making dinner for your "families," I have one thing to say: Go paint a wall.
I now have six 13 foot flats in my basement, in various stages of painting. They will be the flats at the wings of the stage. I am painting them to look like curtains. The trickiest thing is to paint them quickly enough to still have time for other parts of the set, but carefully enough to get the effect I'm looking for. I think I have gotten the technique figured out, so hopefully it will go quicker from now on. The process also got slowed down by my first cold of the season, which occurred, coincidentally, the day after we were out in the rain trying to tie down the flats in the back of a pickup (thanks Stan and Crissy) to transport them from the high school stage to my house. It was kind of a "how many people can you fit in a VW bug" kind of experience, but the flats made it in one piece. Or rather, in six pieces.
I now have artwork hanging in the Heron's Nest on Vashon Island, just in time for holiday shoppers. It is my "Who's Counting" series, eggs that have been painted onto a collage of medium and fabric. The folk art reference is 100% intentional. And if you are someone who feels that oil paint is so superior to acrylic, I defy you to guess which is which. And if I sound defensive and like I have a chip on my shoulder about how snobbery is usually ignorance in disguise, and about how arbitrary I think these distinctions are anyway, well that too is completely intentional. Oh, and p.s., I will henceforth only refer to galleries as "consignment shops." Hey, just calling it what it is. (I thought I would throw an arbitrary rant in there to match the tenor of this election season. And now I must go shower.) The title of each piece is written on the back. Chicken #1, Chicken #2, and so on.
I like to count my chickens before they hatch. like to believe that a lottery ticket will make me a millionaire. I like to see a dirty driveway as a good place for a wedding, given a little imagination and a whole bunch of confetti to hide the oil stains. I like to believe that teaching kids will make a difference in the world, or at least in someone's life. I like to believe that the Democratic candidate is going to win, every time. It can be so disappointing when things don't quite work out, but it's like what Zora Neale Hurston wrote, "Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at de sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground." Okay people, I think now would be a good time to get off the ground. I'll go first. Chicken #1, chicken #2, chicken #3...