The last day of this week was spent combining all the elements we had created over the week into an over all piece. We mounted each persons brick section onto a massive frame to create a brick wall, and then we flew the canvases either side. We invited people around the university to come and view the piece, giving us an excuse to play with lighting and music.
The first task that we were set within the scenic art week was to create a section of brick wall. The task seemed daunting at first due to the materials we were presented, however turned out to be relatively simple.
We were given a rectangular piece of MDF and a load of smaller brick sized pieces of soft board. Soft board was a good material to use when creating a brick surface, as when it was split in half it had a rough surface similar to that of a brick. We split each section of soft board in half using a scraper to slice it.
Reference images were given to us so that we could decide on a layout for the wall. It was important to know where to put full bricks and where to put half bricks. From this reference imagery I placed the bricks and then glued them to the board with PVA.
bricks stuck with PVA
After sticking the bricks to the MDF I covered the hole board in idenden, which is a paint that has a plastic content. This process creates a more durable, hard surface. This material created interesting effects, and allowed us to create more uneven mortar lines.
painting on idenden
The next step was to cover the whole board in a coat of black paint. This would be the base for our brick wall, It worked well to create an old style wall that had dark mortar lines.
On top of the black coat we simply rolled a selection of browns and reds using a small roller. This layering process is what provides the brick texture. The dollar, when pushed lightly, allowed the paint to not cover the whole surface. Black bits still seeped through, creating the illusion of weathering and dirt.
The last step was then to add a lighter colour into the mortar lines. This lighter colour was used to represent when the wall had previously been repointed and fixed.
The second element of the scenic arts week was creating 2 large graffitied canvases. These were split into small sections, giving each course member their own small piece to paint. The aim of the exercise was to look at painting to scale, and ultimately joining separate pieces of work together to form a whole.
I think the most difficult part of this exercise was making sure that each section matched up. We had to match painting styles with the people around us, meaning that we had to control our individual styles. This is not something I have ever had to consider before, however it is obviously something that will be very important in the world of theatre design. I think that we all learnt a lot by participating in this, and that it worked really well as a whole.
We were given a 1:25 scale photograph of a graffitied wall to begin with. We then had to translate a section of this to 1:1 scale onto canvas. This was surprisingly difficult as we had to use both our judgment and accurate measurement in order to make it look right and fit in with other peoples sections.
Each colour that we used had to be mixed and watered down until it matched what was in the photograph. Again, with this element we had to be able to work well in a team so that everything matched up. This led us to sharing the mixing process and to sharing colours across the whole canvas.
I really enjoyed the scenic arts week, and I think that the final piece was very striking. However I do not think that this will be the career path for me, as I ended up getting really bored of painting the same thing. It required a lot of patience.
This week we had a professional scenic artist visit us. She came to conduct a week dedicated to teaching us the basics of her profession. She talked us through what she did and showed us previous projects that she had completed. It was interesting to be told the exact tasks that fall underneath the job title ‘scenic artist’.
We were presented with a small model box that consisted of a large brick wall and two large painted canvases on a similar scale. This was to be what we would have to construct over the course of the week. Each person on the course would finish the week with a small section of the brick wall and a section of one of the canvases painted accurately.
Model box of the weeks tasks