I taught a class

I taught a class last week to a group of students, whose primary area was not Scenic Design. The class was divided up into three sections. First, I talked and shared images from a photoshop process that I utilize to explore ideas of story and environments. Many of my previous blog posts such as “beginnings” and “Musings” highlight these examples. Second, we discussed the plot of a short script and the images that that came to mind when reading it. I decided to use one of Thorton Wilder’s playlets called Leviathan as the base material.  Wilder has a knack for writing profound images with his words and so he was an obvious choice…. 

A quick plot summery of Leviathan 

“A mermaid is surprised to find a shipwrecked prince adrift on soggy pillows on the sea. The Prince is no less surprised! Is she an illusion born of dreams or songs or fevers? He offers to trade some of his great treasure for his safety. She will only be satisfied to if he pays with something she has heard about– a soul. He claims to have one but he cannot show it to her. Does she save him, or does she relegate him to the clutches of the Leviathan, the great sea serpent who now swims into the scene?”

The class response to Leviathan was amazing. They really connected to the story and images that Wilder’s  play evoked. We talked about what words would one use to search when looking for research images: Flowing fabric, the color of spices, Mediterranean Sea, cargo debris, mermaids with green hair, floating man, underwater,  and a Leviathan of course… These are just a few of the many ideas that the students mentioned.

In order to expedite the process, I had already downloaded a number of different images for us to start with in order to get to a final photoshop image. Had we had another 20-30 minutes for the class, I would have searched for images with them, but 50 minutes goes by so quickly. 

The final steps we selected our leviathan, water, mermaid, man and flowing fabric from the examples. 

 I was so fascinated by the thought they all gave to creating the image. everyone was responsive, collaborative and engaged in creating the final image below. 

and so here it is…..

Don Giovanni

Alright….. It has been a semester and more things are in the works, but I wanted to share some more Photoshop Paint Elevations to the blog. I’m finding a groove, with my process, but still learning so much.. In late November I was asked to start working on a production of Don Giovanni for the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. What I did not realize at the time… This would be the very first full length opera that would have a public audience in this brand new building. I actually was not aware of this fact until about two weeks prior to opening. The building is stunning inside and out. Read more here https://www.thresholdacoustics.com/rice-university

The process was quick, about 6 weeks from first design conversation to when they wanted a design presentation. The initial weeks of creating the design were difficult for me. Ask my wife and design colleagues.  I really struggled with this one, but it was worth the struggle. 

Below are the Paint Elevations. While I love the watercolor paper background for the paint elevations on the computer screen, when they printed I do not like the texture. It could be I need to mess with it in the final print or find a different texture to give me the look I want.



Colonnade and Donna Anna wall

Dining Wall -  this unit was stunning when the walls spilts to reveal the Commandatore! 

These gates moved around the space to contain the characters. The metal source for these units is and always will be Kings Architectural Metal https://www.kingmetals.com/Catalog/Catalog.aspx?CatalogId=c39

The Grave 

whose does not love a moon box?

Another tree canopy similar to the previous show.

Lions and flowers

Star series

Some fun projects using images of constellations with Clipping Masks and Magic Wand tool. 

Starting with a metal frame of a lion.. (you can buy here if you want a metal frame version for your home: https://www.amazon.com/Hoagard-Lion-Geometric-Metal-Decoration/dp/B07H1GZM84

and adding in a image from the Cygnus constellation for the mane which I located on the NASA website. This link takes you to a NASA website that has a plethora of free images to use. https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/index.html

and adding in this image for the lion face

finished image

Here are a few more fun projects using a a framing device with the space image as a background. This next few were created using Photoshop on the IPad.

Project 1 

Project 2 -  using a grill pattern of a register

Project 2 -  using a pressed tin ceiling tile 

Project 3 -  using a grill pattern in a stone wall creates an amazing view..

Project 3 -  another interesing grill pattern

Project 4, is a quirky one that features a beautiful fireplace from the Crescent hotel, which is supposed to be haunted, and the infamous Ghost Nebula. A fitting use of the constellation. I still want to work on a few aspects of this before it is finished. 

Using Format