Part One The Professional Scenic Artist-Books Pdf

Part One The Professional Scenic Artist
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Crabtree N80462 01 qxd 9 7 04 4 17 PM Page 2, Mural detail from the Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee Wisconsin. designed by David Birn painted at Cobalt Studios by David Zinn and Rachel Keebler. Crabtree N80462 01 qxd 9 7 04 4 17 PM Page 3, Training and Working. as a Scenic Artist, Being a scenic artist is an unusual and highly reward Scenic artistry is profoundly rewarding too How. ing career One thing that makes scenic artistry many young artists dream of living off their painting. unusual is the physical scale of the work Stage paint This is what the scenic artist does for it is a career of. ings are often enormous relative to an artist s canvas painting plain and simple That scenic art is also hard. One thousand square foot canvases knocked out in labor becomes apparent all too quickly to the young. one two or three days or even hours are not the and old practitioner And sometimes this reality is. stuff of everyday life except for the scenic artist the thing we find hard to overlook Yet who can deny. Another thing that makes scenic artistry unusual is the rich pleasure of the act of painting When the can. the apparent anonymity of the artist to the public vas is primed and fresh when the cartoon is ready and. The fact that the apparent credit for the canvas the colors mixed it is exciting to lay down the first. goes first to the scenic designer may seem odd color on a drop There is an immediate reward of a. Imagine Michelangelo allowing his staff to paint the brush pulling on canvas and the proper stroke of. ceiling of the Sistine Chapel from his sketches it s paint Does this not reward us in some profound way. unfathomable Yet the value of the artist these days Most fundamentally a scenic artist is a highly. is less emphatically on the skill of the artist than the specialized painter who works on very large scale. creative idea It is the norm in theatre that the scenic and often realistic paintings Yet this sort of painting. designer has the public face as the creator when it is by no means all that scenic artists do In fact it. comes to stage scenery However those of us who is difficult to state exactly what type of painting a. work in theatre know well that scenic artists are scenic artist will be required to do during the course. as much a part of the creative process as designers of any given day All scenic artists are certainly. Just as Broadway producers insist on such gifted expected to be capable of painting large scale back. designers as Tony Walton John Napier and Heidi drops once the principal output of the trade. Landesman to name but a few it is inconceivable Contemporary scenic artists are also expected to. that any of these great designers would venture into adeptly paint two and three dimensional scenery by. a painted design without being assured that only employing a wide array of painting techniques Faux. top scenic artists would be available Great painters finish techniques on three dimensional surfaces are. like Joe Forbes Rachel Keebler Doug Lebrecht as common now as the traditional trompe l oeil. Nancy Orr Jane Snow and Mary Heilman are equally painting that is the foundation of scenic art. in demand for high venture stage productions as are Scenic artists paint on canvas linen wood plas. the better known scenic designers tic foam and metal as a matter of course They paint. Crabtree N80462 01 qxd 9 7 04 4 17 PM Page 4, 4 THE PROFESSIONAL SCENIC ARTIST. interpret visual information received from the, designer not just by surface appearance but also by.
how that information relates to the overall stage pic. ture Thus scenic artists must understand the scenic. designer s artistic intentions This ability to interpret. cannot be understated This is increasingly true as. scenic designers who provide the information from, which scenic artists must work are themselves work. ing less and less by painting and more and more by. digital collage The bottom line is that scenic artists. have to paint scenery with a brush or something, like a brush and make the image happen no matter. what form the information comes in Good scenic, artists must also be able to remain neutral in their. own painting style in order to absorb the style of the. art they are expected to interpret, Thousands of people around the world have. careers as scenic artists and the profession has existed. since the Italian Renaissance In fact scenic painting. existed as early as Classical Greece but it is in the. last 500 years that it has flourished and been refined. and practitioners have prospered The fact that sce. nic art is a career has two profound implications one. is that a person can make a very good living at it the. other is that it is a business as well as an art form. Figure 1 1 19th century painting techniques From It is undeniable that more job opportunities exist. the Lyric Opera of Chicago Northern Illinois University in professional scenic painting now than ever before. Historical Scenic Collection Courtesy of The School of This is certainly true if one includes scenic artists. Theatre and Dance Northern Illinois University who work in television film and decorative arts It. Alexander Aducci Curator, is also true that there are many more paths by which.
one enters the profession now then there were in the. past even the recent past This is most true in North. vertically in front of them and horizontally below them America where a sprawling private and public uni. using hundreds of colors a variety of mediums and versity system provides good exposure and in some. various finishing products and they are expected to be cases excellent training in theatre practice The tra. experts in the use of these materials They paint with ditional training format was an apprentice system. brooms sprayers rollers pumps sponges rags and of one in which women were rarely admitted This has. course brushes Sculpture and carving are skills changed significantly in the last 100 years in part as. expected of many scenic artists especially in regional a result of the universities mentioned earlier and the. theatres though at the top levels of the craft there are appearance of very specialized private schools and stu. sculptors who do exclusively that Thus knowledge dio training The American union for theatrical artists. of assembling and carving wood foam fabric metal United Scenic Artists USA also has recently insti. and other materials is also essential knowledge for the tuted an apprenticeship program for scenic artists. scenic artist although not the focus of this text No matter how one begins to develop scenic. Scenic artists must be able to not just reproduce painting skills it takes time often a lot of time to. what is given them but to transform it Usually become an accomplished independent artist Even. scenic artists are interpreting the work of a scenic after advanced training at a university it may take. designer from a very small scale into a large size years of experience to attain the skills required to. appropriate for the theatre The key to the craft is the proficiently paint one challenging and diverse project. ability to interpret Most anyone can learn to trace or after another Almost every successful scenic artist. mechanically reproduce an image Scenic artists must can point to one or two people in their career who. Crabtree N80462 01 qxd 9 7 04 4 17 PM Page 5, Training and Working as a Scenic Artist 5. Figure 1 2, The scenic shop at Cobalt, took them under their wing and trained them Though artists must draw and paint very well Scenic artists. apprenticeship is no longer the only way in to the also must know their tools paint and brushes as. profession it is almost always a critical part of a sce well as the surfaces they are called on to paint and. nic artist s development There are always extremely the hundreds of products used in painting staining. gifted painters who seem to understand exactly how dying sealing texturing thinning extending or chem. scenic painting works even after minimal exposure to ically drying paint Scenic artists also must possess. the art form However the rest of us must keep in knowledge in the areas of scenic design drafting cal. mind that being a good scenic artist takes time There ligraphy and sign painting In this profession where. is much to learn artistically managerially and prac visual images are reproduced on a large scale such. tically Another important aphorism to keep in mind expertise is the foundational skill set. is that scenic artists never stop learning Every In addition to these skills exceptional scenic. encounter with the physical world is another oppor artists will have acquired a wide base of knowledge. tunity for the scenic artist to better understand the to support the visual images and effects that they are. practice techniques and art of the profession asked to create Knowledge in the areas of art and art. history architecture architectural and theatrical his. tory photography printing mechanical image, TRAINING TO BE A SCENIC ARTIST reproduction and geometry and the natural sciences. are all part of the body of knowledge that contributes. It takes an enormous amount of experience to to the day to day work of the scenic artist A keen. become proficient at theatrical painting This chapter curiosity and good powers of observation will help. is meant to help beginning scenic artists understand put this acquired knowledge to work Travel and. how and where to get this experience as well as why experience certainly contribute to the ability to syn. it is so important thesize one s knowledge of the physical world. Drawing and drafting are the tools scenic artists, use when beginning a scenic image All convincing. What a Scenic Artist Should Know, images particularly trompe l oeil begin with a sound.
Successful scenic artists like many artists of the the drawing The drawing of architecture relies on. atre need a wide array of skills and knowledge to the rules of geometry and perspective to guide it. serve them in their profession Of course good scenic Geometry is essential because it provides a rational. Crabtree N80462 01 qxd 9 7 04 4 17 PM Page 6, 6 THE PROFESSIONAL SCENIC ARTIST. mathematical basis for the visual arts Most artists must be based in the fundamentals of painting and. need comprehensive drawing and drafting skills as color theory and a variety of painting techniques. well as a sound understanding of perspective to Sound understanding of color is critical for scenic. reproduce a complex image like a perspective street artists as they will mix paint colors based on their. scene This is especially true when laying out a full understanding of how colors interact to achieve their. stage drop Scenic artists painting a drop must be in target color Manipulating the application of color. command of the overall perspective while drawing it on a painted surface so it appears to be one hue at a. out in small manageable pieces But beyond draw distance even though close up it might be a combi. ing even the simplest wet blend of one color to nation of hues is a skill based on understanding color. another must have correct proportion to look and human optical perception. balanced Classical Greek ideals of proportion and Scenic artists also must be well versed in how. form are based on geometric rationality These aes painting techniques have evolved Scenic artistry is a. thetics of proper proportion and ideal form are the profession in which artists might be called on to recap. core of many of the visual images we see today ture the soul and substance of art from all eras in his. More specialized forms of drawing include tory In one production a scenic artist may be called on. calligraphy lettering and sign painting which shape to recreate in a very large scale Rembrandt s The Night. letters and words perhaps the most precise set of Watch whereas in the next production the challenge. graphic images in the world These images are familiar might be to create wallpaper in the style of Andy. to all viewers who instinctively recognize good or poor Warhol Scenic artists must understand the methods. lettering Scenic artists should thus have a working whereby these works were originally created to recre. knowledge of the construction of common serif and ate them on stage Furthermore they must be able to. sans serif style lettering as well as an understanding recreate these images very quickly Scenic artists cannot. of calligraphy and sign painting Calligraphy and reproduce The Night Watch with the thickly applied. sign painting rely on brush techniques as well as the oil based pigment that Rembrandt used or turn to silk. form of the letters themselves and are specialized screening as Warhol did Instead they must rely on. skills that scenic artists must at least comprehend their knowledge of modern mediums and alternative. As noted earlier scenic artists are dependent first techniques to recreate the same effects quickly while. and foremost on their skills as painters These skills fulfilling the vision of the scenic designer. Figure 1 3 A scenic artist must know art history and style Chaucer Scenic Art Studios. Crabtree N80462 01 qxd 9 7 04 4 17 PM Page 7, Training and Working as a Scenic Artist 7. Knowledge and understanding of the histories of expression often are drawn from history Many sce. art architecture and theatre also are essential to nic designers describe their work in terms of other. after advanced training at a university it may take years of experience to attain the skills required to proficiently paint one challenging and diverse project after another Almost every successful scenic artist can point to one or two people in their career who 4 THE PROFESSIONAL SCENIC ARTIST Figure 1 1 19th century painting techniques From

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