Back in October, I created a prop for Constellation Theatre Company's 36 Views
. It is a fairly central item in the show, so I have been waiting until the last week to show it on my blog (it wont spoil much, but I am trying to balance being polite, and helping advertise the show)
The show closes this Sunday. I saw it last week, and I must say that I was impressed. As you may know, I am a Shin Hanga
nerd (Japanese woodblock printing from around 1900-1950 that was a break from the Ukiyo-e "floating world" prints, valued a more naturalistic style, while still maintaining the separation of labor in the production of the prints.) so, although they may not have known it, I was a very good person to call on to produce this prop.
They knew what they wanted, but needed me to articulate it in a sketch first (I hesitate to call this part of the project "design"...that is, I don't know if I can say I "designed" the image, because they were so specific on what they wanted) Anyhow, after about 5 back-and-forth sketches and consultations, this is sketch I came up with:
|Sketch for 36 Views Portrait. Pencil and Photoshop|
They wanted two identical portraits of this Japanese woman, and it supposed to look very old. The old part I could deal with. The "identical" part is what made it difficult. So I did my best to paint two portraits side by side. When I would make a stroke on one, I would make an identical stroke on the other. When I would make a mistake on one, I would try to make the same mistake on the other. Below is the final product (not actually the final product...they were painted on the same piece of muslin because they were going to be cut out and mounted to scrolls in the traditional Japanese silk painting style)
|36 Views Portraits final state. each is 20" x 24" acrylic on muslin|
Its a bit hard to see here, but the biggest concession I had to make in producing this was in line quality. That is, when you are painting with a brush the stroke has a character. It's thicker here, thinner there, more expressive in some spots. That is very hard to reproduce twice in the same way. So, I opted to make all of the black outlines be approximately the same width throughout the paintings. This creates a more mechanical, or modern look, which is not desirable if you are making a very old looking painting. But that was one of the trade-off that had to be made in order to fulfill the demands of the script.
36 Views closes on Sunday. Check it out...I'll be interested to hear if you could tell the difference between the two...