Monday, September 19, 2011

Painting the Set

I stopped into the Orlando Shakespeare Theater's scenic shop to see the progress on the set for "The Importance of Being Earnest." Things move fast in the scenic shop the entire set facade was build and ready to be painted in three pieces. Jeff Ferree and Adam were painting when I arrived. Robbin Watts was in the theater itself painting the floors. She created an impressive speckled marble effect with the paint. Another woman slapped the floor with a long rag. This was a painting technique that was new to me.

I got to see the completed set a few nights later at the Shakespeare Fundraising Gala. The impressive Victorian architecture helped set the mood for the scene that was previewed. Gwendolyn and Cecily met in an outdoor garden. They were instant, affable, eternal friends. As Gwendolyn said, "Something tells me that we are going to be great friends. I like you already more than I can say. My first impressions of people are never wrong." Cecily responded, "How nice of you to like me so much after we have known each other such a comparatively short time." I see this sort of flippant instant friendships all the time in this age of social networks. What makes the scene so endearing and funny is how these two women politely turn against each other when they discover they might be engaged to the same man. Gwendolyn had a turn of heart, "From the moment I saw you I distrusted you. I felt that you were false and deceitful. I am never deceived in such matters. My first impressions of people are invariably right." I rely on my first impressions, usually gained over the course of a sketch to guide me on my daily travels.

I had painted the Mennello Museum mural all day. Libby Rosenthal let me know there was a shower in the museums basement so I spruced up only moments before the gala and then drove right across the street. The shower was divine after working in the hot parking lot all day. Then, I couldn't turn off the hot water in the shower. The knob was stuck. I dressed quickly and ran to my truck for a screwdriver. My glasses fogged up as I struggled with the knob and my dress shirt got soaked. Thankfully, I finally managed to fix the knob. Even taking a simple refreshing shower is a drama in my struggle of a life.

At the Gala, I got to rub shoulders with Orlando's rarefied socialites. Terry declared the evening an official date night, and I wasn't on assignment, so for the sake of marital bliss, I kept my sketchbook tucked away. My fingers itched but I resisted temptation. My bag of art supplies rested heavily on my shoulder just in case. Though physically exhausted, I followed as Terry flitted about the room, a social butterfly. Art isn't easy.

The Importance of Being Earnest runs through October 9th.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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