by Karen Phillips Curran

Shoot for the stars , I always do, guess I’m an idealist. Here I am at Cobalt Studios, learning all I can about scenic painting. The best tool a scenic artist has is ingenuity- how can I get this done, the fastest, most efficient, physically easiest method? (You begin the think this way after spending 8 hours hunched over, on your knees on the floor drawing with a magic marker…). Process is as important as inventiveness. What to do first, then what, these are the important questions, think ahead. To have to go backwards is a nightmare, a waste of time and resources, not to mention spirit. I beautifully finished foreground usually precedes a fast and easy application of background. The question of tools comes into play, what tool is best for the job, most efficient. Often scenics use tools in unique ways, as well as a raft of unique tools of their own. Bow lines, scenic foot, snap lines, long handles brushes…
But, I was talking about motivation. What is artistic motivation? In this instance it is a project, a challenge. I am beginning work on a small canvas, (by scenic standards) only 9×12 feet. I am planning it to include as many challenges as possible within its borders. It is a piece of hung drapery, crumpled folded, trusted, above an arched doorway that is also curtained with sheers with lace, and a heavy curtain with tassels. All this is encased in marble, with a stone wall and a wooden floor. Surely this will be a gleeful test of my capabilities hopefully with lovely results!