Gabriel Barrera has been an artist ever since he could remember, and now he’s the Charge Scenic Artist at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Wanting to share his artistic passion with others, Gabriel began ScenicG – a company that provides scenic art instruction for underserved/underrepresented communities, schools and organizations. Gabriel recently offered a 3-Day ScenicG Workshop, and below he describes the techniques he taught and shares some of his students’ results.
Three Workshops, Three Days And Gut Intuition
I’ve been developing the ScenicG Workshops over the last year to help any and all find their creative abilities. My hope is that, by providing proper instruction on scenic painting technique, the ScenicG Workshops will build future scenic artists. With the help of Rosco, I’ve been able to enhance the ScenicG Workshop experience by providing thorough use of their products as I share my scenic art methods and techniques
The first day was an exercise in producing basic wood, stone and brick effects in 2D. Students used wood graining tools and floggers to achieve wood paneling effects and practice spatter techniques. We used Rosco Off Broadway Scenic Paints for much of the base painting as I introduced the students to scumbling. From there, we moved onto spattering, which was the first step in creating our brick project. Again, we used the Off Broadway paints, this time thinned out 1:1 with water. Once the spatter step was finished, students then used a stencil for the formation of the brick. After the brick colors were applied, the stencil was removed. The brick pattern remained and the spattered base coat was revealed as the brick grout. Once the bricks were dry, the final step was to apply shadow and highlight to the appropriate edges of the bricks.
For the wood grain, we used Rosco Supersaturated Paints that were let down approx. 1-part Supersat to 2-parts Rosco Clear Gloss Acrylic Glaze. From there, the students were instructed on how to use various wood graining tools to apply the treatment.
The next day we went from 2D to 3D as I introduced materials like Rosco CrystalGel to create elevated wood grain textures. This was achieved by applying a thin, even layer of CrystalGel and then rocking and dragging a wood graining tool through the layer before it dried (making sure to clean the wood grain tool between passes).
We also created stone relief using Jaxsan (a roofing product that is excellent for creating multiple textures) with Rosco paints and glazes. As scenic artists, we utilize products from all sources and vendors to execute the desired outcome. I find that Rosco scenic products complement well with products like Jaxsan, joint compound, and other common building materials. We applied the Jaxsan with chip brushes and trowels to create physical, 3D stones, and then we used the Rosco scenic paints and coating to add texture and enhance the shadows.
The final day allowed participants to produce tromp l’oeil (Fool the Eye) realistic painting. Students first pounced their image onto muslin using a pinwheel and pounce bags of charcoal. After tracing the pounce they then proceeded to outline charcoal layout using a sharpie maintaining the image of the layout as it gets painted over. They then proceeded to spatter, model, shadow, and highlight the architectural image of a column in the order described.
With my guidance, students learned how to utilize the brush on a bamboo pole and how to manipulate washes and glazes to achieve the desired result of realism. The outcome of the students' work was impressive and inspiring.
ScenicG Workshops are all hands-on using the tools, paints and materials found in scene shops around the world. They're less academic and encourage students to explore, make mistakes, practice and be comfortable with the process. I’d personally like to thank Alice Ly who helps me with marketing and promotion and Cassandra Del Nero for her assistance during the workshops – and I look forward to providing more ScenicG Workshops in the future!
This blog was made possible thanks to Rosco’s partnership with the Guild of Scenic Artists. If you’d like to participate in one of Gabriel Barrera’s hands-on ScenicG Workshops – visit www.ScenicG.com or follow his ScenicG Group on Facebook. To learn more about the Rosco products Gabriel uses in his workshops – explore our Scenic Paints webpage as well as our Coatings and Glazes webpage.