Merchant of Venice Mural for First Folio Theatre (Designer Angie Weber Miller)


This was a mural that I took the first week off in several years other than holidays to complete. I love to paint and a lot of what I do normally is never this detailed or large. We had just opened a show called Making God Laugh and were well into the build for Little Shop of Horrors which was a metal greenhouse, all of the puppets and several other strange items like an inflatable tongue. Those pictures are in a previous post. Angie Weber Miller is one of the first designers I met in Chicago and she worked at Chicago Scenic Studios at the time. Many years have passed. Yet, of all the things I can get lost in..painting is number one. In the week that I took off, Lauren and I broke up the full seven days into 3 days of layout and basing and 4 days of finishing. Lauren was there just to help me layout the image, and then she had to move onto other projects. Angie and I spent a fun afternoon basing out the 16′ by 30′ image with a warm yellow kilz in the basement of the Mansion out at First Folio.

Then came Monday. For three days Lauren and I silently laid out the image between and on the raised panels, transferring all points. I had chosen colors that would be a standard palette from Angie’s digital copy and we had a full array of latex Behr house paint from Home Depot. I love Behr because their binders and carriers are very good and will hold up for a while, and their pigments are always strong. Better yet..they cover well. This was not a job we could afford expensive scenic paint. I come from a different background from theatre and can definantly say there are many ways to skin a cat. It is important to understand materials, binders, carriers, and structural components so that you are able to substitute and be well aware what will hold up. This particular job only had to hold up for a couple of months on the outdoor playhouse, which was also rebuilt for this particular show.

We had to be aware of the historical value of the property we were painting in and how odor from paint and any messiness would be noticed by those that were responsible for the grounds. I have always had a reverence for historical buildings, and that was the second best part of the job other than working on something I love doing in absolute silence.

When you create and care about doing a good job, even when you know your limits, ego disappears. In day-to-day operations, I find it is easy to get caught up in caring too much, and in trying to control too much. In moments like these, when you are in love with what you are engaged in doing, it is difficult to even see if you are doing good work because you become the work. If you are conscientious there is a moment at the end, where you see it has all come together. It does not always work that way immediately, but this is one incidence where the environment and the artistic staff were so peaceful and such great people, the outcome and the process was a blessing to be a part of.


                                                                                   Door panels on ground with SR section



SL Panels

Thanks First Folio,  David Rice and Alison Vesely, Angie Weber Miller for such a nice opportunity. The lighting design on the show was beautifully done by Michael McNamara and was truly transformative in the outdoor space. I prefer vacations like this.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s