This March and every March it is still winter up here in northern New England. To drive away the cabin fever our church players present a winter interlude. This year we chose to "re-load" some of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales.
I was asked to paint sets that could double as a cottage or a castle and create a tower for the Rapunzel story. In all, five tales were told with story and song.
My favorite of all was the Three Spinning Fairies, and more about that later, but here are some shots of the sets.
The total measurement was 38 feet across by nine feet high. The tree/tower for Rapunzel was a total of 12 feet wide wrapped around a structure that included doors to go in and out of and an unseen ladder in the back. The doors were invisible until opened as we cut them out after the scenery had been applied to the wooden structure.
I put a little figure of Rapunzel up there to show the scale.
And here is a close up of the corner of the cottage.
I would love to have had more time to work on the paintings, but we are usually limited to a few weeks before the sets have to be up and ready for rehearsals. Perhaps because I illustrate children's books, I am more demanding of myself and although I wasn't totally pleased with the final results, the audiences seemed to like the sets very much.
The paper comes on 9 foot by 36 foot rolls and is ordered from a stage set supply house. I use my own acrylic paints but when the sets require huge amounts of paint or more than one set of scenery I mix those with regular acrylic house paint to stretch the medium. The result is that the set paper gains a quality sort of like oil cloth and we can roll up the paintings and save them for the next production. Then we either reuse what was painted before or paint right over the old paintings.
Want to know what the hardest part of all this is????? Finding a place with enough space to paint these huge scenes before they are attached to the flats.