Wild Journeys to Good Places

I am now in Michigan, and what a wild ride to get here. I mean, I guess it wasn’t completely wild in the sense that I didn’t suffer any trouble with dragons or wild boars, but by the standards of my own normality I would say there was a slight funk of wildness about the trip. Handsome and I left on Saturday, driving 8 hours to Ohio to stay with my friend The Raven. The Raven is a friend of mine whom I met at WordBridge last year, and he is by far one of the most talented and intricately woven people that I know. His abode happened to be at a halfway point between my parents’ place and the Camp, so he was kind enough to offer us lodging for the night. I could not have imagined a more pleasant evening. The house that he and his wife share is a most beautiful structure that clearly has been loved and rendered to fit the energy of its inhabitants. They had a huge backyard that felt like a tiny woodland and an incredible dog named Scout who suffered my terrible throwing for the sake of chasing various objects into the greenery surrounding. The Raven regaled us with tales of folly, anxiety, beauty, and general wonder as well as taking us to a most excellent restaurant where we ate entirely too much food. The evening was spent in the company of him and his wife on the back porch as we discussed the state of modern theatre as we watched Scout stare down a pair of raccoons (safely up in a tree…the raccoons not the dog) and later a storm that was so heavy a downpour to look almost unreal. The next morning, we were sent off with a most delicious breakfast (a quiche consisting of egg, cheese, spinach, bacon, and mushrooms) and a warm farewell.

I left Handsome at an airport three hours shy of my destination. The goodbye was a little harder than usual for me because I have gotten a little spoiled seeing him so often of late. I know I should not be so wistful considering he and I will soon be living together, but welcome to the immediate desires of the human heart. Driving to the Camp was like nothing I have ever experienced. I have driven through wooded areas, but nothing like this forever place where trees actually have enough presence to remind you how insignificant you are in the midst of this landscape. I drove and drove, deeper into a world where I could feel my shoulders lose their tension while my heart beat itself into my throat. I finally arrived at the Camp, which is something of a cross between a miniature college campus and the old-fashioned-log-cabin camp. I thankfully managed to get my keys and into my room, but I was not long there. The gentleman who hired me, R-Dog, kindly drove me to meet with the rest of my co-workers for dinner. I am not going to list all of them right now, but I am sure they will all crop up sooner or later. Dinner was a raucous and relaxed affair that allowed me to only munch on my foot a few times, while also giving me the opportunity to say intelligent and witty things that made up for afore mentioned foot munching. After dinner, I lent a hand to a couple coworkers for move-in and was returned the help for my own belongings. We then sat up talking into the wee hours…which was not the wisest decision considering the early wake up. Still, I could not have begged for a better welcome and though there is more to tell, I think I will hold off until some of the more interesting paintwork begins. Suffice it to say, I think I made an excellent choice coming here.

More Hooray!!

When last I wrote, it was a post about a new job. Well, I am afraid you are going to suffer a repeat of the same jubilation my fair reader. While the job out in Michigan is a fabulous gig for the summer, this blogger also has the distinct pleasure announcing a more permanent position that will be starting almost the moment she returns from her summer fun. I have accepted a position as the assistant scenic charge artist for an excellent theatre company in upstate New York. Henceforth, I will refer to that place of employment simply as The Stage. In the last post, I spoke of the duties of being a charge artist. As an assistant in a more permanent shop, it is basically my duty to keep the painting on schedule regardless of whether the charge artist can be present or not. My supervisor, the scenic charge artist, has to keep up a constant flow of meetings and scheduling along with overseeing the painting. Thus, it is my job to basically be there as her eyes when she is out of the shop for meetings or whatnot.

I wish I could fully express how unbelievably excited I am about this position. When I interviewed with the fabulous woman who is to be my direct supervisor (a proper pseudonym shall be assigned as soon as I meet her in person), I had a really good vibe about the position as well as my interviewer. Apparently my intuition was good, because she offered me the position on the spot.  I must admit that my heart almost burst out of my ribs with elation. This position is contracted, renewable, and is exactly what I was looking to do at this point in my career. This position means that I can move to a whole new area that looks like it will be an excellent match for myself (and someone who may hypothetically be joining me). Much as I am grateful for my living here, I am more than ready to fly onward. I see this job as an opportunity to park myself for a bit, and explore my craft in a more professional setting. I am beyond grateful to the Lord for giving me the patience and courage to seek out work that will provide me fulfillment and joy. This summer is going to be a whirlwind of awesome, and I am itching to dance in the gale.

Hoorrayyy!!!!

Alright ladies and gentlefigs, this blogger now officially has a most splendid job to occupy her summer. Though it is only eight weeks of work, I cannot begin to express how excited I am to have work that is within my field and at an institution that has an excellent reputation. I am going to be acting as the Scenic Charge Artist for a summer arts camp out in Michigan. Basically, I could not have asked for a better fit. Not only do I get to be in a supervisory/management position that will further my experience within my field, but I also get the chance to work with passionate students who are spending their summer making awesome theatre. What exactly is a charge artist? Well, the title basically encompasses anything that has to do with any/all paintwork within a theatrical production/s.

In a theatrical production, there is usually a scenic designer (*please note that in a great number of situations, the designer can also act as charge artist, but we are going with an ideal template here), and the scenic designer imagines the physical world of the show (i.e. anything not costumes, lighting, or props. Again, people often cross-pollinate in the design world). They take their imaginings and create drawings based on a series of understood specifications so that the people responsible for actually making their ideas a reality (known as the production team) can firmly grasp the ideas of the designer in order to properly execute them onstage. For the charge artist, this means looking at a series of artworks called paint elevations, which are small paintings that are proportionate renderings of what the designer wishes the final paint treatments to look like onstage. From these elevations, along with extensive questioning of the designer, the charge artist must translate that small picture to full scale scenery for the stage. The charge artist must consider everything from ordering supplies, to mixing colors that perfectly match the elevation, to scheduling out when every piece will get painted based on the schedule of the carpenters actually building the scenery, to the actual techniques needed to accomplish the paint treatments. Mainly, a charge artist is an interpreter. An elevation is not just something that one can copy line for line and expect the desired result. One has to really listen to the designer, and determine how best to communicate that designers vision through the paintwork presented on stage.

My previous job was certainly not terrible, but part of the reason I did not return for another season was because my heart truly lies with painting and design for the theatre. Eventually, I want to be a full fledged scenic designer, and starting out working in charge artist positions is certainly an excellent way to begin laying the foundations for that castle. The Park allowed for painting opportunities, but not on a consistent enough basis to truly bring me joy. With this summer job, I get the chance to challenge myself within my work because it will be my first time acting as a titled supervisor within my desired job title. Such a chance is truly a gift, and on top of that the camp sounds like a really excellent atmosphere that encourages actually having fun in the process of making theatre. Not to say that the schedule won’t be rigorous, and the quality expectation is quite high. However, I am ready to meet that schedule and expectation, and I only pray that I can be a valuable asset to this team of wonderful artists. And plus I GET TO GO PLAY IN A GLORIOUSLY PRETTY PART OF MICHIGAN!!!