Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Boy's Room Cleans Itself


Just a little something I threw together.  Over 460 photos and 4 hours created this video.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Oh, Tchaikovsky, you little rascal.

Ready, sets, go.
Amazingly, everything I intended to do with the sets this year got done, including repainting the iconic grandfather clock. I am always so happy when it is time to just join the audience and enjoy the show.  Changing venues created new challenges, which means more opportunities to say "well, I guess it'll have to do." Its good practice for perfectionists. "The show must go on!"



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nutcracker 2013

Let's consider this the "before" picture of the Nutcracker set, 5 days before opening night (December 6th)!  The flats lined up at the back of the stage will be completely painted over into the Land of Sweets. Stay tuned for updates.
This will be the first time the Vashon Center for Dance performs at O Space.  Get your tickets today.



Do these curtains make my butt look big?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trinke Liebchen, Trinke Schnell

Back in the set barn, at work on die fledermaus, being put on by the Vashon Opera September 20th & 22nd. The set decor will be Art Deco, a favorite for me. It is less painting-intense than the last operas, which  allows more time to enjoy the process. I am working on creating a faux stained glass window and door while other volunteers create fake wood grain. Don't I look like I'm having fun?






Monday, July 15, 2013

Priming the pump

I'm not sure why it has been so hard to start my summer art projects, but there it is. These pets were a good place to start. The photos I was drawing from were high quality, high contrast and well composed. From there it just took a little Al Green in the background, and I was happy to gaze into the eyes of these precious beasts.




Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Back on the chain gang

I have been doing some set work for Drama Dock's production of Into the Woods, running July 19-21 and 25-28 at Bethel Church. I was back at the barn, painting a tree on an especially rare, sunny day. Déjà vu spring 2013. One main difference is that I am just copying someone else's design, free from having to make any executive decisions. Phew.

I took a picture of the warm, pastoral landscape outside of the barn, proof of my artistic dedication (or proof that I don't know how to say "no").

I wish I could take credit for this painting/design, but all I did was to copy the image.  I used multiple glaze coats to try to capture the feel of the original ink illustration.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Big Fat Liar

This is what my garden looks like if I am too busy making art to garden. That's what I tell myself. As if there are two choices: art or garden. The truth is I have no time for art or garden because I have been too busy rearranging the furniture and watching foreign films.

Those Dr. Seuss-ish pods are leeks going to seed, by the way. And then there is the tower of lettuce.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Beach* is Back

When I became a teacher, I decided to change my name so that if Laura Strand the artist chose to do something foolish, it wouldn't hurt the reputation of Mrs. Whitmore, first grade teacher. It was a safeguard to avoid the need to censor myself artistically. Oh we had fun, Eve White and Eve Black.

Fast forward 15 years, and Laura Strand is drawing and painting animals. Sure, the animals are nude, and they do drink and swear, but they are otherwise pretty tame. Which means I no longer need an alias for my day job (though I should probably get one for Karaoke).  

My ham-fisted artist signature hasn't changed much since 9th grade. Fact is, in art school we were taught to not sign our work. For one thing, work in school is not to be taken that seriously. Also, signing art can be antiquated if not irrelevant in a world of digital and conceptual art. Oh, how cute, she signed her name!

*In my case, strand is a Norwegian word meaning beach. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

What a difference a zoom lens makes

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Here are photos of Blue Heron Dance Company's production of Romeo and Juliet, taken by house photographer extraordinaire Mike Urban.

It is hard for me not to critique the set. We were going for simplicity(especially given the time constraints), so I created a color fade that would appear to seamlessly go from floor to sky, which meant some serious color matching to blend it in with the dance flooring. The atmospheric color ended up being my favorite part of it. I debated adding architectural elements, which ended up being my less favorite part. The hope was that they would help define when the setting was indoor (windows) and when it was outdoor (columns). In the end, I think our less is more concept was the way to go. We reused the side flat curtain paintings which were once again the highlight of the set. I love the above photo of dancers Sam and Katherine in acrobatic embrace.

These beautiful pics and more can be viewed and purchased from Mike Urban's website.





Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Spilled paint means I'm doing my job, okay?

I was chatting with a motorcycle dude I commute with about the end of the school year. I mentioned the fact that my classroom looks like it has exploded paint and paper. He nodded and smiled and said, "that means you are doing your job." I do try to heed the teaching advice of motorcycle dudes, in general, especially when they have a phd in education.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Kid Art

Here are some of the art displays I put up for multicultural night.


You like me, you really like me!

I was invited to a Vashon Opera gala. It is a way to introduce Opera Foundation supporters to upcoming operas. Sort of a sneak peak viewed in a posh living room.  Could not complain. The singing was beautiful and sometimes downright comedic.  I love how facial expression is used to communicate the story, too. Jennifer Krikawa gave out awards to some of the opera's faithful volunteers, including a set painting award for yours truly. The question is, should I mount the award on my mantle, or paint with it?

Friday, June 7, 2013

I have run out of Italian puns

Here are few pics John Sage of finchhaven.com took at dress rehearsal for Vashon Opera's production of Il Tabarro and Gianni Schichi. It did look pretty cool in person.  And I love to see the set with all the characters in it, after having it as a picture in my brain for the last couple months. Jennifer Krikawa rocks the wig, as usual.

Tomorrow night, Vashon Opera Gala...!








Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Too busy making art to blog about it.

And by "art", I mean "pet portrait" (hey, it counts). Here is a commission I just finished.

I said Babbino, not Bambino

O Mio Babbino Caro is the highly recognizable aria from Gianni Schichi, imprinted into the brains of anyone who saw the movie A Room With a View.  Can't wait to hear it sung live at the Vashon Opera.
Here are some of the flats installed in the set barn (ignore the big post in the middle which is not part of the set).
I saved the trompe l'oeil bookcase until the last minute when I had a chance to learn how to do it from watching YouTube videos. Someone said I should write mischievous titles on the books, for fun.
Thanks to the crew of Vashon Opera volunteers who worked on it with me.

Backwards and in high heels

 I heard it said that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astair did, only backwards, and in high heels. I was left with a similar feeling painting sets for Romeo and Juliet. remember the nutcracker where we had many hours in the auditorium to paint and rock out to Cee Lo Green's Christmas CD?  Not so with Romeo and Juliet where we could only paint during actual rehearsals.  Paint a set in a few days? No sweat. So I found myself doing everything a painter does only on a ladder, above dancing children, with periodic blackouts, which makes it so much more exciting. Better still is that I am now over my fear of heights (thanks to Jan who taught me to hang off that ladder like it was no big deal).


Friday, April 19, 2013

Bravissima!



For the past month I have been painting two Puccini sets for Vashon Opera.  Il Tabarro takes place on the banks of the Seine river in Paris (think stone walls). I am working with a host of enthusiastic volunteers, which is one of the highlights of this work. The other highlight is getting to be in this big barn, painting on enormous canvases, ultimately creating a new environment. At right is a detail of one panel.  Below you can see us working in the early phases of the process.


Monday, March 25, 2013

C.A.T.

It is cool to meet artists who share your esthetic. Elaine Summers, case in point. We share an appreciation for outsider/folk art. I had so much fun drawing her cats and coming up with the kooky designs. Elaine had nice, high resolution photos to work from and was great about collaborating on the ideas. And for sure, she knows her cats, which I think comes out in the individual pieces. Meow. (photo credit Elaine)
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Court painter

Ever since I showed my cat art at the Heron's Nest, I have been getting requests for customized cat portraits. Gotta love that.  Sort of takes the anxiety out of deciding what to draw or paint.  I actually got a little backlogged, so here Is a drawing I ended up working on while sitting at an airport food court, waiting for my flight.  Not the most romantic art studio, but it was a fun way to pass the time.  This very unusual looking cat is an oriental short hair named Esher.


A different kind of figure drawing

It is funny to me that the human form has such a huge place in art history, even during some pretty conservative times, and yet modern Americans seem to be pretty uncomfortable with the subject. Granted, it can be awkward to have a figure painting above your couch. But the truth is, I am ready for a different kind of naked animal.

Exhibit A: Dexter, world's cutest dog, named after a Cary Grant character.

Rumor has it he began to bark at this portrait when he saw it, thinking it another dog.  That's dog brain for ya.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Creepy Cat Lady (me)

My month of being a featured artist at the Heron's Nest is over. I did end up painting a bunch of cats, mine plus cats of friends. I sold most of the pieces and now have a backlog of pet commissions. And yes, I also make dog portraits. But only cute and loyal dogs.