Arts in the Family: A Family of Artists Just Trying to Make a Living in the Wilds of Texas


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Taking Chances in Life

Pammy doing a voiceover.

Last summer I took some advantage of some down time to fix and make new props for the Doc Edwards shows I present for the Edwards Aquifer Authority.  Among other things I made a fossil shell prop, a magic prop and freshened up a couple of large limestone rock props. 

The limestone props had originally been one large rock made of styrofoam that I cut and sculpted and painted into two. The reason I made it into two separate pieces is that it was just too big to fit in my teeny car. It was messy work cutting it too. 

I used a bread knife to split it and then a hot knife to re-sculpt the cut sides. I didn't have a large enough hot knife to cut the large holes in the rock so I had to use the bread knife again causing foam to fly and and stick to just about everything. Messy, messy, messy!

Once the sculpting was complete I repainted it using a real limestone rock to match the colors just right.You might think a rock as one color like grey, but it's really made up of a  variety of colors. You start off off with a middle tone and add colors in washes until the desired effect is achieved. Tedious but necessary. It helps to have some tunes playing to keep you motivated.

The ability to do these things came over time; the result of necessity and also opportunities that came along.

  Some of the prop building skills are basic carpentry skills I learned from my father.  Others I learned on my own when I was a company member of the Children's Fairytale Theatre at the San Antonio Fine Arts Center way back in the early nineties. 

Making puppets.
I've been drawing and painting most if my life. I learned a great as a student at RBBBC Clown College and on the road with the circus sculpting and painting soft foam. Thank you Ivan Saxby!  It didn't hurt working for a marionette theater either. Sculpting wood is a whole different experience.

Pammy's amazing pastries.
One should always be learning something new. If for no other reason, do it for survival's sake. In my line of work I've found it best to diversify in order to make a living. I imagine that applies to other careers as well. When one side of the business slows you can shift to the other.

Steve Smith, the director for the RBBBC Clown College (and multi-talented fellow) told us to always have a plan "B" ready to implement. We've taken that advice. Pammy and I have got a plan "B" and "C".

 In 1988, when I graduated from college, I had my painting and drawing skills. I saw myself only as an illustrator and a painter. Twenty four years later I've managed to add a few more skills to my repertoire. Pammy has too.  I now call myself a freelance artist to cover all things I can do to make a living. 


Painting murals
Learning never ends if your lucky! If you happen to have an opportunity to learn something new take it! Take a chance.  You never know where it will lead.

Running away with the circus!

1 comment:

  1. it was very hard to kiss you in such a puffy costume!!
    your loving wife


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