Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Painting the stage

A director approaches you and says, "Oi, Andrew, can you draw a mural for my play? I want a city scape, with perspective. One that someone might see if they lived in Brunswick or Fitzroy, looking over the house opposite, over a park and then the city."

And you reply, "No worries, I'll do my best." And then realise that you haven't actually drawn anything since year ten in high school and that was about ten years ago.

You start by working out a horizon, one that the audience can see and start outlining buildings and you paint in a few buildings to see what it looks like.

Lesson 1: When you paint, do all of the painting at the one time. That way you can remember how you mixed up those colours.

Realising that the city looks a bit odd with no suburbs before it, you draw in a few more smaller buildings, however as some of the painting has been done, you don't have much room.

Lesson 2: Do all of the pencil working out first.

Looking at the mural, the park looks dreadfully sparse, so you fill it up, realising that it goes on for far too long. And that it looks like the house is in Craigieburn, looking for miles over farm land to the city.

Lesson 3: Really think hard about perspective and actual distances first.

Then the director says, "How about you make it so that the city windows light up at night."
And we experiment with glow in the dark paint, which doesn't want to be worked so finely, and end up testing white envelope labels, cut down to size with fluoro blue lights.

But does it work?

Yes it does, and the director starts requesting other things, I started thinking of doing it all over again.

Lesson 4: You are the artist and can say no.

And by the end it looked okay. If I did it again I would do it differently. Really really plan everything. Pencil line everything. And paint at the end.


Erin Voth said...

wonderful painting! scenery is hard work and great fun, bravo my dear.

Andrew said...