In any scenic painting project, the philosophy that I have learned is to lay down a large number of thin layers to add depth and realism within the project. I decided that a wood floor would be best for God of Carnage, and this project is no exception.
There are a few different common methods to make a faux wooden floor. Wood often has a very vibrant undertone; this can be deceptive. While working with masonite strips (which was the method that we used) it is important to realize that there should also be differences in this undertone so that the strips of this “wood” seem unique. In this case, we used masonite strips that Theatre B already had in stock, but they already had coats of paint on them. They ranged from off-white to orange, and a reddish wood grain. I decided that these pre-existing coats would work fine as a base coat.
Strips of masonite drying in the Theatre B shop after the first coat of paint
From there, I used stock paint at Theatre B to create a light tan and a darker brownish tan for the two colors of the wood grain. I was skeptical as to whether the paint in stock would mix well (and look good under lights, too). I initially had some challenge in the creation of these colors, but I managed to not only come up with colors that were acceptable to me, but that also “played-well” with each other when I used them to do wet blending methods necessary to create realistic wood.
Trish Floyd, who is co-properties designer for this show, and I laid a first coat of the lighter color. I would say that this coat was about seventy percent opaque, and while it let some of the base color show through to show difference, it also brought all of the strips to a relatively equal tone.
On top of this, I laid a layer of the dark and light colors combined in a somewhat less opaque wash. We payed close attention to using brush strokes that went in the same direction of the grain that we were creating, and this was even more important in this step. The graining of this wet blend could not appear to abruptly end in the center of a section, but had to appear natural.
The final layer of color came in a either a light or dark (depending on the strip’s tone), but very watery wash. I used various graining tools to create different grains in the wash. The final touch is adding a satin polycrylic sealant that both protects the floor an adds to the look.
For more resources for scenic painting processes look toward Scenic Art for the Theatre by Susan Crabtree.
by Jack Golden
Scenic Charge, God of Carnage