Friday, November 22, 2013

36 views portraits

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...

Friday, November 01, 2013


See the below photos for a glimpse of the insanity that was our 14th spooktacular (the all clown circus year! (photos stolen from multiple sources...send me some if you want them posted here!)

Cannon photo op with Ring of fire, knife throw skeleton and Queequeg's Coffin

View from the Cannon
Pennants staked in the front yard (with hanging skeleton!)

Clean photo of the 16 foot + plinko

Crowd in the Karaoke Fun House

Gangster clown uses the cannon for a getaway

Bumpin' Backyard

Creepy clowns before they have been won

Space-Ace and Catman

Doctor Rockzo has made a f-f-f-friend

Party organization committee...whatta team!

Artistic Plinko Shot # 1

Artistic Plinko Shot #2

Queequeg died from being crushed by SO MUCH BEER!

Karaoke Fun House

Behind the Music

Favorite triple launch of the party

FOOD! note the cotton candy...


The Joker and Catman are suspicious that you have read all the way to the end of this post...
The Circus Peanut costume was found wandering the streets of Petworth the next day...