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A Day in the Life of a New Scenic Artist

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I’ve been working at Grosh Backdrops and Drapery as a scenic artist for a little over year now. Every day working here is a little bit different. But here’s a brief view of a day in my shoes.

A Day in the Shoes of Scenic Artist

I start my day pretty early, the cool morning air is a refreshing and calming start and I love watching the sky brighten as I drive to the shop. Once at the shop I go to my station, Frame 6, and pick up where I left off from the day before. The day before, the drop was tacked up to the frame and primed with a rich vibrant cobalt blue.

Wren grids off the drop
Wren grids off the drop

I have already gridded the 22’ x 50’ drop into 4’x4’ squares and drawn the skeleton of the scene. The scene that is being depicted is a very painterly rendition of a snowy landscape with distant hills and a forest in the background, large snow laden pines and low hills in the foreground, and a great full moon in the starry sky.

Drawing the design

I have already painted in the background, mountains and distant trees laid in shades of blue and green. I now start on the foreground. I have already mixed the colors, I love mixing paint, watching the colors blend and swirl into almost galactic-looking patterns in the bucket. And I love the challenge of mixing a color from the paint reference to match exactly.

Today’s colors are periwinkle, deep blue, light sky blue, deep ultramarine blue, blue-black, white, and (my favorite) a pastel green-blue. I start painting the trees.

Painting the snow-covered trees

The day goes by quickly when I paint. I use mostly paint rollers to depict the snow-laden branches of the painterly pines. I layer the colors to build up the soft and sloping branches. I work from the darkest color to the lightest, working from shadows to mid-tones to highlights. I then paint the giant 3-½ foot diameter moon with sponges to create the cratered texture and then spray a halo to express its glow.


The finishing touches on the trees and hills are a crisp white highlight to represent the moonlight pouring over the scene. After I finish painting, I spray the flameproof solution the drop, and its then un-tacked, folded and shipped off to its destination. Before I un-tack it though, I step back to look at the finished drop and snap some photos for my portfolio.

I am satisfied with the finished product; it appropriately matches the rendering or paint reference and more than that, captures the whimsical painterly tone of the scene.

I clean my station and head back home, satisfied with another day at the job I truly love   – WREN

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