Course: THEA 272 Stagecraft
Scenic Painting
      and technique assignment
Arthur Dirks
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Red rule

Paint staff:


Plan of Attack:

Work space:

Floor (horizontal) Frame (vertical)
Hard to see whole
Easy to reach
Long handle brushes needed
Marking long lines is easy
Wet wash techniques possible
Easily avoid drips, spatters
Must protect underside
Best for spattering
Requires dedicated floor space
Sawdust and trash problems
Easy to see whole
Need ladders, etc. for reach
Regular handle brushes
Long line marking is difficult
Wet washes are impossible
Drip and spatter problems
Paint-thru is no problem
Poor for spattering
Requires least space
Little problem with trash




A. Surface Preparation

Special processes for:
  1. Size: Shrinks fabric

  2. Prime: Fills fabric

  3. Base: Underpainting

B. Layout:

Transfer methods:

  1. Direct drawing
  2. Grid transfer
  3. Projection
  4. Pouncing
  5. Stencilling

Tools and supplies:

C. Painting:

  1. Highlight
  2. [Base – previously applied]
  3. Shade
  4. Shadow

Brush Do’s and Don’ts

Application Problems:

A. The designer gives you the job of painting a pictorial drop for a production. The job will be all yours and you have adequate time to complete it properly. What do you do?

  1. Obtain a painters’ elevation – What is it?
  2. Prepare the drop. – What do you use and how do you do it?
  3. Size the drop. – With what, how?
  4. Lay out the design. – With what, how?
  5. Lay in the base.
  6. Lay in the large detail and texturing. Work background to foreground.
  7. Line in shade tones.
  8. Line in shadow tones.
  9. Line in highlights.
  10. Fine detail and overall treatment.

B. The designer gives you the job of painting the walls of the interior set of an old Victorian mansion. The design calls for distressed wallpaper and woodgrain. You have adequate time for proper execution.

  1. Study woodgrain and old wallpaper for colors and treatment.
  2. Practice achieving the effects on small unused flats.
  3. Lay in the background for the wallpaper (after surface preparation)
  4. Stencil the design (how, with what?)
  5. Apply distressing (how, with what?)
  6. Lay in base tone for wood.
  7. Apply dominant shades.
  8. Apply dominant grain.
  9. Apply fine grain
  10. Apply lines of boards
  11. Apply aging technique
  12. Glaze wood area if desired.

Paint Technique Project

  1. Locate an acceptable flat in the scene dock. It should be at least 3' x 6' in size. If muslin covering is available, please use it. Repair as necessary.
  2. Base coat in a light color.
  3. Create the following effects. Each person in the pair should do some of each technique.

Assignment layout

All original content protected by copyright © Arthur L. Dirks, Taunton, MA., 2005.