Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Learning Curve

Most people who paint for theatre have their strengths and specialties, and I am no exception. I have become quite proficient at wood grain, simulated rock and brick- those kinds of faux paint treatments. Tromp l'oeil is not one of my strengths. I will go so far as to say that tromp l"oeil is something I can barely spell, much less actually do. Our set designer for this play, however, is (as far as I can tell) proficient in all methods, especially tromp l'oeil, and therefore has designed a beautiful set that includes it. And this has me shaking in my Crocs. So it is, at age nearly 60, that I learn a new (and rather difficult) technique. Actually many new techniques, since Jason is a kind and patient teacher. Right now I am doing wildly colorful underpainting for a "white" wall, and I cannot wait to see this under stage light. I am having to force myself to be loose and free on flats that measure 8 feet square. This may sound easy until you remember that my personal artwork is small, controlled, and often involves tiny tiny beads sewn in orderly grids. I have found that each discipline does add to the understanding of the other: things I know from my personal work help me with stage painting, and things I learn on stage often give me a new understanding of techniques I thought I "knew" and therefore did not have to think about much. I guess the moral to all this is that it is good to break out of methods of working that are comfortable and safe. Activities we consider to have a steep learning curve don't just give you a new skill, they often lead to "ah-ha" moments in other skills as well. And that is a good thing.


  1. I'm not even sure I can say tromp l'oeil. Is it tromp loy? Or tromp lo-ay?
    Is this for "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels?" Ben really wants to see that one (because the ad for it was in the "Iggy" program) I told him I don't think it's a kids show.

  2. Crossover moments are the BEST! Goooo Kim!