Dr. Who Dance Backdrop

Somehow the dancing mistress of the house had managed to convince the painting fool living with her to paint backdrops for her. I know the idea came out my mouth but it was placed there via telepathy. No, really. The first backdrop is for a Dr. Who themed dance number and so a painting of the Tardis on an alien planet was in order. Deadline 3 weeks.

I got hold of a roll of single unprimed duck, 100 yards long and 6 foot wide for a reasonable price and that should be enough for roughly 50 back drops.  What will drop first,  the backdrops or myself is a subject for debate. My money is on me going first.

The first hurdle was how to stretch a 7 x 6 foot canvas.  Canvas stretchers of that size are prohibitive, so I opted for 2 decently knot free pieces of pine, dimensions  8’x6″x”1.  I ripped them in half  lengthwise on the saw, sanded them and then after a flurry of measuring and squaring lines on the wall, screwed them directly into the horsehair plaster walls with long drywall screws. The only space in the entire house where this beast could have went was 6 foot 2 inches wide area between two windows in the living room. What a break! When I stepped back to look, I nearly tripped over my jaw. God Almighty, that is huge area. When the dancing mistress came home and saw the frame on the wall, her response was similar with a bit of sailor slang tossed in.

Stretching was much easier than anticipated. I used the basic canvas to stretcher rotational attachment method and everything went along nicely. Priming with gesso took about 1.5 hours with a six inch brush in one hand and a spray bottle of water in the other while balanced on the ladder. I then had to wait till night time to transfer the drawing via projector.

The palette, as you can see below, was several colors of whatever I found in the cellar from old house painting projects. Some of that stuff is near 20 years old but still working. Lots of wet paper towels,  a couple of plastic drop clothes, a few cheapo aluminum pans and we were off!  Some large cheap brushes were used to put the paint on and the painting went fast. I did three sessions for a total of about 17 hours. I am pretty impressed by the amount of pigment in house paint. I used a lot less paint than I thought I would or should have.

So now the piece is done. What is left now is to figure a way to get it off the wall and then trim the sides to be parallel and square respectively. After that,  I have to bind the edges and figure out a way for it to hang on and straight down from the rack we bought just for that purpose.  More on that later.