Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm in Dee Skies

In the last light of the day Paul and I were able to manhandle one of the three sky backdrops roughly into place. It did not assemble as well as I had hoped, the cardboard panels all wobbly and uncooperative. I never could have muscled it this far without Paul being home on a staycation. I wanted to get one of the three up in an approximation of place to get an idea of how to install the other two. I next need to attach the panels to the 2x2 uprights behind the above, smooth out the curve from the vertical to the ceiling, maneuver the curled pieces into a position where they appear seamless, re-fasten the panels on the ceiling, and do something with them to hide the seams up there as well. Then repeat all that twice more. The cardboard panel on the left, covering a support column, will be shaped and painted like a stand of trees, flat paper trees. The other two backdrop skies will stand to the right and wrap around the set more than half(HA!)way.

The great news is that all three "far" backdrops are painted. These will be the layer behind the mid-ground distant hills. There will be a scrim layer hung in front of the far backdrop that will have clouds and a pale blue tint painted onto it. That's the plan. I'm hoping to soften the distance, obscure the seams. I still want it to look obviously hand-painted however. Halfland should be an almost realistic/hand-painted world.

I splurged on the ocean for inspiration/courage and went to my tiny favorite place for art supplies in LA, The Nova Color Factory Store. (They ship to entire US and Canada, treat yourself when you next need paint!) The best quality, the best colors/pigments, the best price in the history of art. Much more useful to see their actual swatch sheet (seen below in upper left box under ocean swatches) My booty, Ocean perfect rich and lush, 115 Phthalo Blue, ocean perfect turquoise, 142 Blue Green, and ocean perfect 199 Fluorescent Blue. I mixed them all with matte medium after I rolled on free sky blue house paint onto the rest of the backdrops. I kept building up the layers with transparent washes across a total of nine boards. Note the natural curl in the cardboard in the upper center, I'm still hoping to exploit that into a curved backdrop result.

Yesterday I devised and constructed six upright supports for the sky (seen lower right box). I had plywood cut down to 22" squares for the bases. I cut down a length of 2x2 to act as risers for the struts, hand-cut and formed connecting cuffs for each out of strong aluminum roof edging. 8' lengths of 2x2 get attached to the seams of the backdrops and then slide into and secured in the cuffs. This raises their support past the 8' break in the double decker backdrop. The cardboard was pre-scored in order to make it easier to gently curve it at the top. I'm hoping that when I get it installed properly that the join will all but disappear.


  1. WOW!!

    SOOOOoooo coool!


  2. Ooh, I love that blue color!

  3. Thanks, Jessica and Justin! You're cheers really egg me on to go for greater-sky-backdrop-glory! Thanks for the rooting!

  4. Anonymous12:03 AM

    I wish I had half your energy!


  5. Wow, 1/2 Island is turning into world! Looks great!

  6. Yay, thanks, Yuji and Mike!

    Yuji! Just live without normal income and have your ballet teacher go on vacation! I'm in a window of no ballet and minimal graphic projects and am taking as much time advantage as possible to make my most progress, that's all. It's still going at a snail pace for me, but--next thing, next thing, next thing...

    Thanks, Mikee, oh dear God, Whole World PLEASE! Whole Land, Whole Island! Whole thing YES YES YES!

    And thank you for knowing Halfland is an island! You rock.

  7. Ever, ever so impressive!

  8. Thanks, Rich! I live for impressing you. Serious.

  9. Seriously, I live to impress the characters that inhabit the worlds I can't ignore. I can assure you, Urhu would be most impressed with your effeorts to give him a home.

  10. Anonymous1:00 AM

    "Keep watching the skies!"

    I'm watching, anyway.
    Yummy, Phthalo, my favourite blue.

    - Ur Hu's cousin Wu Hu.

  11. Hi, Cousin Wu! "There's always room for kin at the table" (The funniest line in a TV show I've ever heard, from an epi of Carnivale, on HBO, several years ago. I'm literally rotflmao over it still to this day)

    Always great to hear from you, cousin!

  12. Anonymous12:28 PM

    Hey, thanks for the heads-up on the NOVA COLOR paint, how did I not know about this? How did I not know about this blog for that matter, have I been living under a rock? Truth be told I have been living under a rock, but it's an aesthetic choice, not me being antisocial...anyway I got some and I'm very impressed with it's high quality for such great prices... Thanks again!

  13. Nice to meet you, Melvyn! Welcome!

    I'm telling you! That Nova Color with be your favorite addiction! If you live in Los Angeles be sure to go to the little tiny shoe box-sized store itself, hang out with the most creative people in LA who have rolled out of bed at 1 pm, hair all bestraggled, to pick up some more metallic pearl opalescent and yellow to repair the canvas they slashed last night! Ah, heaven. Forget Mortons steak house, this is the Best Networking in LA.

    I love seeing all the colors on neat small jars and quarts and gallons and lined up and to drink in the hand-painted mixing chart hung on the wall. Be sure to pet the shop cat snoozing under the counter.

  14. That's the our company mission, Tuvid, Visitor fascination. Thank you! w00t!

  15. Anonymous8:01 PM

    In fact I did go to the shoe-box-garage-factory place, and what you say is true: bohemians, real live bohemians! The cat must have been on a break I saw him not...


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