A Question about "Aladdin"
and my reply including some biographical notes and a little about perspective

I found your Aladdin stage set page while looking for ideas for same. (She then enthuses about the site)
Vancouver Island, Canada

I replied:-

I wrote to “Google” once suggesting they made a directory of stage set images. For the Internet is the first place one jumps to now-a-days when researching for a design. They never replied. Maybe I should not have addresses it to Mr. Google (Perhaps it’s Mrs Google who decides what goes in their site. - joke) {Update... This site is now my version]

So you are doing Aladdin. That raises an interesting query for me. I thought pantomime was a very European thing and Canada/America did not do them. Obviously I am wrong. Do you do all the traditional stuff? A girl as the principal boy, A man as the dame, “Oh no he’s not- oh yes he is”. The ghost with shouts of “He’s behind you” The big transformation scene. The pantomime horse/goose/cow. Oh how I love all that rubbish. Which is really why I am still keeping going painting for panto.

Scenery painting has always been a hobby of mine. I never made enough money to earn a living from it but it has kept me in a new car and a new computer every couple of years. So what more could you ask of a hobby than it should be a pleasure to do and make enough money to not only pay for itself but make a little profit as well?

Before I retired, I was a TV producer for the BBC. Well actually I did many jobs in the Beeb before becoming a producer and presenter. I still research for them for a web site about towns and villages in Northern Ireland and they have many of my pencil and pen/ink sketches (mainly buildings) on the site.

As part of the arrangement for contributing to the site they asked me for my CV. So if you want to read about me, my work for the BBC and my scenery painting then click HERE
(Remember to close this separate window once finished with.)

I gave my work free for those Aladdin sets. They aren’t aware of the reasoning but I felt it was something I had to do – finish where I started – painting scenery for the love of it. Also there is a great thrill to be painting flats which I had laid against the outside of the school in the playground (too tall be done in the room they had allotted to me) and being surrounded by wide eyed little children asking questions and fingers itching to have a go.

This scenery painting business is more about craft than art, and perhaps the trick that intrigues most audiences is trompe l’oeil. Inevitably the audience is sitting on chairs on a flat (as opposed to raked) floor of the hall which means you can literally measure their eye line (horizon line) and consequently work out the various perspectives and vanishing points. Someone once told me I was the only person they knew who “painted in stereo” – nice complement for my skills although they didn’t understand how it’s done.

Of course I don’t always use this “real” eye-line system as it is usually about a foot above the stage floor, which is a bit restrictive for the artwork, but it makes a great way of apparently giving great depth to a village or school hall stage.

A local secondary school is to produce “Sound of Music” and has asked to see photos of my painting of a previous production of that show which I did for another company. These photos are now on my web site (You may not have seen them as I have only recently published them) you’ll see my eye line in most cases is 9 inches off the stage floor for several of the cloths.

Click here for Sound of Music (Remember to close this separate window)

Did you ever come across the web site of the Italian company that specialises in painting safety curtains for the professional theatre? Amazing paintings of drapes and tapestries. I have forgotten their name unfortunately but you should be able to find them via a search engine.

Best of luck with “your” Aladdin. Do let me know how you get on.

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