Thursday, November 4, 2010

Grant Wood's American Gothic and Music Man Sets

Here's a funny picture.  I did it on the wall of the piano teacher's house for our CYT show, Music Man.  It took me an hour to paint it, and I had a few handicaps as I worked.  I painted in the dark during a dress rehearsal with a small light we rigged on the side of backstage.  As I worked, I received all kinds of helpful advice from the backstage crew (thanks, guys, I love ya.)  Actors ran on and off stage all around me, and at one point the house-movers moved the house with me IN IT!

 Okay, I know, it's kind of goofy, but what can you expect with all that going on?  Didn't finish before it was 10:00, the witching hour - the point that we must all clear the theater or turn into pumpkins.

By the way, when Grant Wood painted this, it was because he noticed a home in Iowa with this Gothic architecture (it's still there somewhere, I forget where.)  By the way, all you young 'uns, I didn't really FORGET this useful fact, it's just that my brain is so, SO full of wonderful things, that to let any new information in, I sometimes have to let a little bit out!  Besides, you need something to look up on your own!

For American Gothic, he recruited his sister and his dentist to portray a father and his unmarried daughter. Funny things is, the father looks like MY doctor!  They both look a little unhappy about their state, don't they?  Looks like dad wants to marry her off as much as she wants to go!

I was planning on coming back in the next day to paint the pitchfork and a few other unfinished details, but it got nixed because it wasn't feminine enough for a lady's house.  So, it's now buried under a coat of white paint and a mountain landscape that took me all of ten minutes.  For seven shows now the director and I have been almost of one mind; usually I'm much harder on my work and wanting to change things when she's pleased!  So... I don't mind an hour of fun painting work unused - that's show biz!
This picture shows me holding my own 'pitchfork,' my tool of choice, a paintbrush.  It's a rare pic you'll find of me without a smile; I was trying to match the sobriety of my two characters.  Nice shirt, huh?  I have about six more just like it!  ...and a robe, and some jeans, and a couple of  unfortunate dresses...

By the way, I did paint the frame straight on the wall; it just seems we can't take a straight photograph! You may also note the wall below American Gothic is a little drippy.  Yep.  Had to paint over my mess.  When I start painting, the stuff flies all over.  I get into concentration mode and don't think about things like that.  Minor details!  Had to paint the floor beneath it, too.  What?  I could have used a drop cloth?  That would have been too easy!  Besides, it would have tripped up the actors running in and out as I painted!

Tomorrow night is opening night.  I finished even the touchups tonight - the normal wear and tear on sets that the backstage hands inflict when they're moving them around.  I have only two things left that I can think of.  We have a pianola that plays itself and I need to glue some sheet music onto the roller inside it (gonna slap some paint on the back of the music and slap 'er down.)  I've decided to use some extra flute music I've got arranged by my good friend and great Christian music arranger, Camp Kirkland!  He won't mind.  Do you mind, Camp?  It's an honor... really! :) Then the last thing I have to do is paint paneling on the front door of a house.  That will likely take a half hour simply because I'll have to do a lot of measuring again to get the panels all the same size and straight.  I'll post some pics of our show very soon.

Give me a comment on your thoughts on my Grant Wood.  Thanks!

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