Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I'm as excited as the jerk in the photo above that tonight is Scenery Appreciation Night for REEFER MADNESS! So, if you know what's good for ya, you'll come on down to tonight's closing weekend shows! You can get tickets at the door or from the Dominion Stage Website.

This weekend I will be gearing up to finalize the last two paintings I am creating for It's Electric. What's It's Electric, you ask? Here's the flyer:

Chris Griffin curates a Robo-Art Show featuring the works of local artists Michael Auger, Jared Davis, Todd Gardner and Steve Strawn. The opening reception is Saturday, February 6th from 7:00 - 11:00 PM. There will be 'botting poppers Gwo and Frequency and DJ Anne Dreud (yep, rhymes with Freud) will be spinning! Please come and boost your "arti"ificial intelligence!
The deets:
It's Electric! Opening Reception
Saturday, Feb. 6th 7:00 - 11:00 PM
The Electric Maid
268 Carroll St., N.W. (a short block from Takoma Metro)

I will give you loyal BTT readers a sneak preview of one of the three pieces in the show:

The Devil and the Broken Man
Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x20"

I don't know why blogger seems to make this image much darker than any other program does...so, you will just have to come see it with your naked eyes in order to get the full impact!

The build for High Fidelity has just started, and I have progress on a major piece of the scenery to share...Its a counter for the record store "Championship Vinyl" that figures prominently in the show.One of the good things about High Fidelity is that it is getting a lot of good buzz. We already have been getting previews from the likes of DCBroadwayWorld.com DC Broadway World previews High Fidelity

Monday, January 18, 2010


Its been a busy week, which has been made even more frantic due to the illness. I speak of the illness that gripped the cast and crew of Reefer Madness...which eventually caught up with yours truly (and currently running its course through KT!) and knocked him out for the better part of the three day weekend. But I'm all better now, and I have good reviews of Reefer to share with you. First you might check out this favorable review in the Gazette from Monday. But really, you should read the one in the Washington Post because it specifically mentions the scenery:

Jared Davis's scenic design makes economical use of the Lee Center (sic) stage with vertical flats festooned with comic book graphics and inventive, movable set pieces allowing rapid scene changes.

While it's not gushing, its an honor to be mentioned...even if they did get some of the facts wrong (its the Gunston Theater 1, not Lee Center...and I don't usually make my last name plural by adding a second "S" after the apostrophe...)

Anyhoo, you should start making your plans for next week's SCENERY APPRECIATION NIGHT for Reefer Madness on Friday January 29th. Get your tickets Here

We are leaps and bounds closer to announcing a venue for Yuri's Night...Fingers crossed!!! I will announce it as soon as we have confirmation (perhaps as early as Monday!)

The illness this week was not just me, KT and the cast of Reefer...it was also the Isuzu. I spent precious time getting the darn thing fixed (the headlights were not coming on at night and it was badly in need of new rotors) And the worst part about the whole thing is that they never really did anything to fix the lights...they started poking around and they magically started working!

I whipped up a logo for the upcoming Landless Show HIGH FIDELITY:

Yeah, its a bit cheesy and old school...but hey, so is the show! You can see the graphic in action on the Landless Website. I also made major headway on the set design for High Fidelity:It may not look like much right now, but trust me, this is going to be one rockin' show! I'll start building sometime next week, so you can expect more pictures soon.

The other leap forward this week was for Arlington Players production of Producers (which opens the week before Yuri's Night!) I started trying to unscramble the crazy set changes in that are called for in the script, and I began to make initial sketches...Here's a sketch of the office of Max Bialystok:

As you can see, this sketch represents only about a eighth of the show...in any other production this would be THE set...Anyway, expect way more of this show to pop up on BTT between now and April!

I almost forgot...this week the WATCH award nominations were announced and I was nominated TWICE! Overall The Arlington Players Follies was nominated for twelve WATCH awards:

Outstanding Set Design in a Musical: Jared Davis

Outstanding Set Painting in a Musical: Jared Davis

Outstanding Set Construction in a Musical: Bill Wisniewski

Outstanding Set Decoration and Set Dressing in a Musical:

Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical: Grant Kevin Lane

Outstanding Makeup Design in a Musical: Avery Burns

Outstanding Hair Design in a Musical: Bette Williams

Outstanding cameo in a musical: Kathleen McCormick as "Buddy's Blues Margie"

Outstanding Choreography: Christopher Dykton

Outstanding Music Direction: John-Michael d'Haviland

Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Christopher Dykton

Outstanding Musical: Follies - Arlington Players

Monday, January 11, 2010

REEFER MADNESS OPENS FRIDAY & More Epic Science Fiction Watercolors

In honor of Reefer Madness opening on Friday, I am going to announce Scenery Appreciation Night, three weeks ahead of Schedule. Friday the 29th of January will be Scenery Appreciation Night for Reefer Madness! I haven't completely ironed out the details on the SAN discount yet, but if you are interested in coming (and getting the discount) just drop me an email. If you are willing to pay full freight (which you tightwads should anyway!) You can go to the Dominion Stage Website for tickets.

When I wasn't engaged in the final push to get Reefer Madness on stage this week, I was plugging along on my Epic Science Fiction watercolor sketches. I completed three more this week, and I think I am nearing the end of the "watercolor sketch" phase of the process. So, perhaps one or two more, and then I will pick the best 4 to turn into full fledged paintings that will be exhibited in It's Electric on February 6th!

Genius and the Dandy
Watercolor on paper 10"x8"

When I made the Genius and the Dandy I stepped back and realized that I had unintentionally made something eerily similar to the "Androids" of Andrew Wodzianski...But, I must confess, it is my favorite so far...Its not going to be very much fun to paint, because it will require me to have lots of precision in order to keep the clean, late 60's British talk show look...(I also chuckle when I see the punch cards!)

Prophet of Doom and the Visitors
Watercolor on paper 10"x8"

This is perhaps the most heavy handed...or, really I should say its going a long way for a joke. But when I was presented with the Prophet of Doom and the Visitors, it was hard to find someone or something that was as "prophet of doomy" than Al Gore...I also get a kick out of robot dolphins (there is some spooky stuff out there if you google "robot dolphin", trust me)

Minotaur and the Old Man
Watercolor on paper 8"x10"

I was kinda stuck on this one for a while, and while I think that the resolution isn't perfect, its pretty close. I didn't want the "old man" to be a steampunk robot, because that seems too obvious...so, I started thinking about what would be "old" to a robot. Well, it wasn't too long before I started thinking of video games, and what game would fit a minotaur really well? Perhaps one with a maze? So, a 3-d Pacman world was a good fit. I have been trying to make these paintings about the environment that they are in just as much as the characters. So, a "Tron"-like setting was a good fit...The technical problem with this watercolor (remember these are just sketches!) is that there are a lot of straight lines in the electronic world. So, if I am to render this as a painting, I will probably need to find some mechanical way of reproducing the background.

The thought has crossed my mind to take these sketches out of the sketchbook and frame them individually for the show (instead of choosing 3-4 to make into paintings) What do you think? Should I choose 3-4 and paint them larger? Or should I spend the rest of the time I have making a bunch more watercolors?I have about 30 pairings of epic archetypes total, so far, so I could add quite a few more...but realistically, I could churn out about 3 more per week...getting about 8 or nine more...I'd be interested to hear your opinions on the matter in the comments or email...

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Chris Griffin, (no, not the Family Guy character, you cretins) who is ever the busy bee, has seen fit to include me in a small group show at the Electric Maid in Takoma Park. Its going to be a robot-themed show called "It's Electric". I will have some paintings there hanging next to the work of Todd Gardner, and Steve Strawn. The opening will be on Saturday February 6th, 8-11pm.

Unfortunately, I don't have any robot paintings on hand (they sell like hotcakes, and the last ones I made went for stocking stuffers) but I have decided to take up the challenge to make more Robots! Its actually kinda fortunate, because I was already gearing up to make some Science Fiction paintings for Yuri's Night. You see, I came to the realization that Science Fiction is best when it is telling an epic story. Star Wars is a prime example. It is well known that George Lucas was highly influenced by Joseph Campbell's "Power of Myth" Books. The epic story, with its archetypal characters and universal themes is what made the backbone of Star Wars so strong. Not long ago, I decided that I wanted to incorporate this idea into my Science Fiction paintings. So, with this Robot show coming up, I began to implement the plan. First I decided on some of the archetypal characters (e.g. the hero, wise man, sea monster, etc) and then I started pairing them off in order to see what sort of pictures were inspired by the combinations...I did some quick sketches, and then started a watercolor sketch in my sketchbook as a study for what might become a final painting. The first of these pairings was The Birdman and the Magic Cow:

The Birdman and the Magic Cow Watercolor sketch
Watercolor on Paper, 10"x8"

Since I am working towards making paintings for the Robot show, I have been doing my best to make all of the roles robot-oriented. I don't know why this was the image I saw when I put these two characters together, but somehow a winged cereal eating robot on a craggy planet, getting his milk from a giant flying robot cow just seem right...

The Devil and the Broken Man Watercolor Sketch
Watercolor on Paper, 10"x8"

This paring seemed to me like an obvious one, because you can always link the Devil to temptation, and temptation is how most people become "broken". In epic terms the "broken man" is the private detective who is too drunk to take the case, but sobers up just in time to solve the crime...perhaps someone like Han Solo, who has lost (perhaps never had) his idealism...but in this interpretation, the robot in the sidecar is more like CP-3O in Empire Strikes Back, being toted around, literally in pieces, by Chewbacca. I allude to the sin/drunkenness by having the robot arm in the basket holding a liquor bottle, but that might be too heavy handed. The Devil as "trash picker" is appealing for the obvious reasons, but I particularly like the glee (and style) with which he is willing to facilitate the removal of the broken man...

We have been doing a full court press on the space search for Yuri's Night...we might wind up with a very swanky event this year...stay tuned...

This week has been crunch week for Reefer Madness. You can get all sorts of cool insights on the show from Dominion Stage's Reefer Madness blog. Be sure to check out the videos of work in the shop...there are some really cool time lapse videos of the scenery being painted. I'll announce when Scenery Appreciation Night will be next week!