Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barracks Row, and Ocktoberfests!

This week I am looking forward to finishing the "tent" season for art. I know, I only will have done two this year...but its really taxing, physically and mentally, being outside with your artwork all day, hoping that someone comes along and "gets it"...So, I will have one more this year, tomorrow, at the Barracks Row Oktoberfest. (8th St SE)

The Barracks Row Oktoberfest did inspire me to create at least one more velvet painting. I have been thinking of cool still life subjects that would translate well onto velvet, and I stumbled upon two pieces of hawaiiana that any tikiphile will recognize from their own collections...the ubiquitous Giant Tiki Fork and Spoon...

Velvet Fork and Spoon
12"x24" Acrylic on Black Velvet

Last Friday I talked to Lil' Dutch at the Yard Dogs concert at the Birchmere; and we discussed a project for her upcoming Oktoberfest show at the Palace of Wonders. She suggested that I create some scenery for the show, preferably something I could also rent out to OomPa bands during October when her show was over (slight tangent here...Remember Blobs Park closing? well check this out!) So, I spent the past few nights creating this:

Dutch Oven Oktoberfest Drop
8' X 8' (with 4' X 8' changeable "barrel lid" drop behind) Acrylic on Black Velour

Using the same velour I have been using since Diamond Dead, I have tried to paint a cute Oktoberfest scene. The problems that started to arise as I painted were that the skin tones kinda read as perhaps they are not Germans, but Black folk...This is mostly due to the nature of the "velvet painting" technique. But it is also compounded by the fact that I cannot build up heavy layers of paint onto a drop that needs to be folded and stored for a year at a time. So, unfortunately, the best I can do is try to make the whole thing look kinda dark, in the hopes that the skin tone will read as brightly as possible. The other factor was the Fraulein. She needed to be kinda sexy for the burlesque show, but also kinda innocent looking for potential OomPa bands in the future...I think I did okay trying to strike a balance...but at the same time, I think that I should have had a more solid model in mind, instead of trying to rely on my instincts to achieve this result. In any event, you should come out to see the show next week, The Dutch Oven, Friday October 3rd at the Palace of Wonders.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Comedy Tomorrow!

That's Right, Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opens tomorrow! Above you can see that the cast has really gotten into the spirit of the show...

The Set seen from House Left...

The Set seen from House Right
You can click here, and the flyer above for information and tickets...

In other, non theater related news, I will be exhibiting some of my new velvet paintings at the Washington DC International Arts Expo at the Washington Convention Center, this weekend! Click here or the flyer below for details...And Lastly, I have a first draft sketch for President Harding is a Rock Star, to show you:

Keep in mind that it is a rough sketch...and that the designs for any show with the restrictions of the DCAC (must strike every night, setup in 15 minutes by two women, backstage storage cannot exceed 8' square feet...) so half of the "fun" is finding ways to get more with less...but adding a band onstage has really compressed the for a first draft it isn't bad...hopefully I will be able to work with the director to make it a bit more "glam rock" and less "1920's DNC"...

Friday, September 12, 2008


I am rushing this post because I am late. I need to be over to the TJ theatre at 6pm to help put the paint touch ups on the Forum set that was loaded in last night...I don't have pictures yet, you'll have to wait for next week's dress rehearsal photos for that.

I completed two more paintings for the Adams Morgan Day, Arts on Belmont (This Sunday the 14th 9am-7pm)
Acrylic on Canvas, 16"x20

Velvet Tiki II
Acrylic on Black Velvet, 8"x10"

Both of these pieces have a sculptural quality to the paint. Benihana was painted entirely with a palette knife, so its clumsiness on the computer monitor looks better in the flesh (this was a purposeful departure for me, its slapdash-ness was an antidote for the tightly controlled methods that I need to use with velvet) I also thickened the paint greatly for Velvet Tiki II's abstract shapes on the left. In the flesh they ride on the velvet like pieces of candy displayed at a jewelery store...I hope to explore these themes more when I don't have so much going on...perhaps December?

The other events this week, aside from the completion and load-in of Forum, was the first production meeting for the (tentatively titled) Creepy Puppet Show...and I might be displayed at the Washington DC International Arts Expo this year (uh, next weekend)... and finally, the first production meeting for this years Spooktacular...where we settled on a theme for the year (also tentatively titled) Spooktacular IX: The heart of Darkness...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Planet Arlington 2008 is in the history books now...And new Still Lives

This year's planet Arlington was not as well attended as last years (and the first year we had to deal with hurricane Ernesto...) but all in all it was a good show. As you can see, the World Playground Drops complement the Iwo Jima Memorial quite nicely (in this photo you can see the memorial just to the right of the center banner)

The crowd was pretty into the music...(viewed from the SR Monitor Mix Tent)

Once it got dark, the last band (of 4 total), Solas, hit the stage and got everyone excited for some good ole Irish music...

Despite the pressure of having to Stage Manage a 10,000+ concert I found time to get some painting in. I stretched some larger canvases with velvet (16x20) and set up two still lives:

Head Hunter Still Life
Acrylic on Black Velvet, 16" x 20"

Studio Still Life
Acrylic on Black Velvet, 16" x 20"

(Here is the usual disclaimer that the photos don't do the velvet justice)

These canvases are yet another example of the discoveries I am making with the new medium of velvet. I am finding that I am being very careful (someone at TikiCentral said that it was like artistic tightrope walking) and that is affecting the quality of the outcome. I must say that I enjoy reproducing objects directly from life, however, I have started to stray from my original thesis of making the paint sculptural in places...I only have one more good painting session scheduled for between now and Adams Morgan Day, so I still have one more shot at making some work that fulfills my original intentions...(I only have one more session because I am closing in on the last days for painting Forum's set...after load in on the 11th, I will only have three days to get all of the "non painting" stuff together for the tent...BTW does anyone have a Wi-Fi Internet card for a laptop that I can use on Sunday the 14th? I'd really like to offer credit cards as a payment option, but I don't have a good way to get Wi-Fi to my laptop out on the street...)