For years I painted the scenery for the Penkhull Mystery plays. This one was about the river Trent starting near Stoke on Trent and travelling towards Hull. Each year I would do one or two large sections of painting. The show would start rehearsals in March? And be on in July for one day only on the village green. I miss those days. The excitement as we prepared and made things. Brilliantly directed by Greg Stevens. And organised by him and Kate Barfield. It had everything. Music, acting, tragedy, comedy. Plus morris and molly dancing, a bower of song, a Maypole dance, eukelali players and choirs. I don’t suppose we will do it again?
Penkhull Pantomime this year is Robin Hood. It will be on in Stoke on Trent again next week, the Penkhull group is performing at our local village hall. I was not able to take part in it this year because of my ill health, but I am pleased that they will be using some small paintings of scenes I originally did three years ago. I’m trying to source some fibreboard so I can do a final painting, it will be based on a celtic design that I found and as it’s about Scotland there will be thistles and a stags head. I haven’t painted it yet but no doubt I will post about it when I’ve completed it. The photo here is me waring a mob cap in a performance I was in back in December.
Landscape painted a couple of months ago. I may paint more in this style. I just need to get organised. Life has been hard over the last few weeks, but it must carry on (hopefully). I need to move this from one gallery to another so more people see it. X
Some of my scenery painting from a couple of years ago. I had to paint the backgrounds but also one of the stars of the show climbs into a mangle (that squashes clothes to get the water out) and he comes out flattened, a bit like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. I also painted the back of him on the other side so if it came out wrong way round it would also work. Behind me and the actors portrait is a bit of my scenery. It shows an old market or bazaar where Widow Twankey has a stall. If I can I’d like to try and do the same again if my arm and shoulder improves.
In February we were in the local pantomime. It was Aladdin. I also painted the scenery including this cutout of a cast member who had gone through a mangle and had to come out flattened. You would think it was easy. But have you tried painting feet from the back as well as the front? I took photos of the front and back of the person but the feet looked odd? I should have placed them like Charlie Chaplin perhaps? I hope life starts to return to normal and we get to do another panto soon! Oh yes I do! Oh no you don’t!
I just chose a random photo from my gallery. It’s a scenery flat for the mystery plays a few years ago. When you are painting on a board eight foot by four foot you don’t need a lot of detail. But I love these iconic bottle ovens, so of course I decided to paint every brick. Plus it means I can give a bit of perspective rather than leaving it flat looking. I also hate when I see scenery and the perspective is wrong. I have seen some that are really weird. It’s distracting (for me anyway). I can spend more time on looking at scenery than at a performance.
A lot of scenery I’ve done for the Mystery plays was painted very quickly. When we have prepared and rehearsed for them the time we can have to use the hall we work in is limited so that we don’t have to spend too much money.
I don’t know what will happen next year? Will there be another one? I don’t know. For me by next summer it could be a real boost to have it on again.
In February I was painting scenery and props for our local pantomime, Aladdin.
We were acting in front of about 140 people for four performances. One on Thursday and Friday, and a double performance including a matinee on Saturday. To think just a couple of weeks later we were in lockdown. I saw hundreds of people over those few days, and then no one for three months except on the way to and back from the shops.
I wish I could go back in time? Go back to a time where there was laughter. Fun, silly jokes, time to be with friends. Life was much less worrying then, despite global warming and pollution! I wonder what will happen when things return to normal if they do?
The year is passing, the last time I went for a proper walk was back in February. We’d started doing weekly walks, just a mile or so. But it made me feel fitter. Then March came and the sudden lockdown. Oh I’ve been shopping, and done a few visits in the car. But I’m bothered about going to where we used to walk as it’s very popular. My health isn’t good and I really, really can’t afford to get ill. I know this will have a detrimental effect on my strength, but what else can I do? Luckily I have the garden, I can cut things back and tidy things up. I can do housework…… But I miss my walks..
Now the panto is over I can share the scenery paintings I did. The market scene was painted with the help of John who started it, (he’s one of the stage cew) and he helped me with the sky on the desert scene. The flat figure came back out of the “mangle” after the character playing a policeman crawled through it in search of Aladdin. I also added clothes to the front of the “washing machine”, the man playing a second policeman crawled into it, and after a few seconds a child climbed out, as if shrunken, but with a full sized uniform!
I had a lot of fun doing these, and I may be painting a mural in Wales now I’ve finished doing this.