Introducing Supersats to South Africa

Heidi Hoffer is a scenographer, scenic designer and lighting designer for theatre, opera & musicals,  and a professor of design at Oklahoma State University’s Department of Theatre. She was a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa for 13 months to research, design shows, review curricula, conduct professional workshops, and teach theatre classes. Below Heidi shares her experience of teaching a scene painting workshop (using Rosco Off Broadway and Supersaturated paints) to several South African design professionals, and students/faculty from Wits School of the Arts – Theatre & Performance.

It was important to me that everyone in the workshop got to experience paints from Rosco, the international leader in scenic paint for the entertainment industry. They deserved to experience the best. I worked with Oliver Hauser from Congo Blue in Johannesburg, Ron Knell from Rosco UK, Jenny Knott from Rosco USA, Nic Mayer from the Wits Theatre and Jenni-Lee Crewe from the Wits Drama Department to produce a professional Scene Painting workshop featuring Rosco Off Broadway and Rosco Supersaturated paints.

15 South African scenic artists got to experience the pleasure of Rosco brand paints as I shared with them my knowledge of using those same Rosco paints in my work at Oklahoma State University as well as in my professional work. Each participant was tasked to paint stage draperies onto a flat:


Step-by-step process of painting stage draperies.


The participants first laid in water creating the shape of their shadow area. They made sure the water’s edge was sharp where the shadow needed to be sharp, and abundant where the shadow needed to be soft. Then they brushed in washes of shadow using Rosco Off Broadway Payne’s Grey paint.


Adriano kneels to get a bit of fine detail accomplished.
Here I showcase the use of Payne's Grey and Van Dyke Brown as effective shadow colors. While Barati experiences the success of darker shadows.

We ate lunch while the shadow layer dried, and when we returned, we layered on the blue or red and proceeded with the paper pounce of the rope and tassels next. The bottom fringe was an exercise in dots for highlights.


Courtney is ready to apply color.


Rosco Supersaturated paints are water-based acrylic paints. The participants were amazed that the paints diluted so nicely (great color! Even at 10 parts water to 1 part paint!). They were pleased when they realized that this represents a significant cost-savings, too.


Abie begins to add the blue color


Rosco Supersats are meant to be greatly diluted. This was the main learning curve for everyone involved (that, and learning to paint with your brush tied to the end of an extension stick!).

In the end – each participant got the opportunity to use a wide variety of Rosco paints as they created their own, painted stage drapery flat. Everyone's painting was fantastic!

Visit the Rosco website to learn more about Rosco Off Broadway and Supersaturated paints. To learn more about Heidi and her work, you can visit her web page and keep up-to-date with her most recent projects.

Images and text © Heidi Hoffer

Jenny Knott September 29, 2015 Questions?

About Jenny Knott

Scenic Paint & Coating Product Manager: A graduate from the University of Missouri, Kansas City with an MFA in Design and Technology, Jenny has been a freelance scenic artist for over 30 years – working for regional theatres including Missouri Rep (now KC Rep), Arena Stage, the Guthrie and Goodspeed Opera House as well as union scene shops. Jenny is a member of United Scenic Artists 829 as well as a past member of USITT’s Board of Directors. Jenny continues to paint, which keeps her current with emerging scenic artists and helps her discover new ways of approaching paint challenges. “Bring on the goop and let’s get creative.”