Scenery: A Manual of Scene Design

By Harold Helvenston | Go to book overview

SCENE PAINTING

PAINT, as an element in the coloration of stage scenery, is a variable factor; it may or may not occupy a position of importance. It may be subordinated in the neutral color of plastic settings, it may become flagrant in its detailed execution of the older type of painted, pictorial setting, or it may be delightfully suggestive in a fine stylized setting. The importance of paint in a stage setting usually depends upon the type of play, the style of production, the technique of the artist, and the use of light. However, as a means of assisting to create visual color, paint should always add a dynamic quality to stage scenery. Color on the stage should possess a vibrant quality; it should change in tone to correspond with the progression of the dramatic moods of the play, and for this reason scene painting should be studied carefully, not as a haphazard smearing of pigment upon a canvassed flat, but more as the highly developed art of painting unobtrusively for an ensemble effect of costumed actors moving against color in light. Thus, painting becomes a rather important part of scenic representation if carefully executed, or an imposed distraction from the play if carelessly done. For this reason, the representation of monochromatic color or flattone effects seemingly simple as visualized from the audience often requires very complicated processes in its execution.

In the aesthetic sense, scene painting may be defined as the art of using paint on stage scenery to create color in combination with stage light; and, in the technical sense, it is the process of using paint to approximate the effect suggested in the designer's sketch.

A sketch by Harold Helvenston for the Stanford University production of Evreinov The Chief Thing. A good example of the use of paint and amusing design to establish the atmosphere for fantasy.

-51-

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Scenery: A Manual of Scene Design
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Illustrations xv
  • Scenery and the Designer 3
  • A Process for Scene Design 11
  • A Process for Scene Design Working Drawings 17
  • A Process for Scene Design - The Scene Model 32
  • Light in the Scene 38
  • Scene Painting 51
  • The Exterior Scene - The Natural Exterior 61
  • The Exterior Scene the Architectural Exterior 68
  • Economy in Cost of Construction and Materials 72
  • The Strange Case of Scenery 79
  • The Scene Webster 83
  • Index 91
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