Wednesday, March 24, 2010


In 4 days, rich and I will have been married for 36 years.

We met in high school-sophomore year. He remembers me in Mr. Thornburg's history class. I don't remember him until we did a project together for our Driver's Ed. class. He was kind of a know-it-all that I wish would be absent so I wouldn't have to talk to him. We had friends in common-he dated one of my best friends until we were seniors. But I really didn't know him.

After high school, I went off to BYU-he went off to DeAnza in protest of being bumped from Annapolis. 2 years went by. Then we met again on a group date to the county fair. For some reason I found him attractive in a "geeky" kind of way. He had recently decided to enlist in the Navy and find some way to recapture his dream.

I remember our first kiss at Vasona Lake Park in Los Gatos. He showed me the stars, carved our initials i n a tree, and I thought he was so sweet.
We went to the beach with friends and I rode on his motorcycle. We went to the Renaissance Faire (on his motorcycle). I wish I could find the drawing I did of him while he was asleep. He put a new clutch cable in my VW.
I dated a lot of guys and Rich really was the most polite, courteous, and nicest of them all. Ya know what? He still is - a lot of the time- in that open the car door for you; "you look pretty today, dear" kind of way.

When he found out he was about to be stationed on a ship in Guam, we ran away and got married. We ate at McDonald's for our wedding dinner.

So...36 years later...4 kids...several moves and job we are. We love spending time together, even if it's doing different things in the same room. He buys me Tulips in the spring. I try to put up with his snoring. We argue and laugh. Our kids think we're cute.

I wonder what the future will bring.

P.S. Yeah, I know, it sounds all "rosey", but it's our anniversary- I didn't want to ruin it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Being a Scenic Artist

I posted this photo of the stairs I painted for Harry's high school production of Dracula on Facebook yesterday and got quite a few comments. So I thought I'd write my own little autobiography on scenic artistry.

I got involved with the Modesto Jr. College theater back in the late 80's. I fixed a backdrop that someone else had painted but had done a horrible job. After that, a director asked me to design costumes for a children's play she was directing. I spent about 5 years in the costume department- designing, building, crafting. But I really wanted to paint scenery. Unfortunately, the scenic designer did not want to pay for a scenic artist, but the costume designer would pay me to design and sew. So I waited. I read books on Scenic design and artistry (well, mostly I looked at the pictures). I volunteered my time occasionally to get experience. I almost got hired to paint backdrops for "The Wizard of Oz" but the director hired a friend (I would have done a better job.) Then in 1993, they needed a huge backdrop painted for "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Harry was an infant and my time was valuable. I think they paid me (but I really can't remember). Harry came with me and the director would walk the stage with him as I painted. Then it was "Brigadoon". A big show and they really needed to pay someone to paint. So I finally got hired.

To tell you the truth, I really wasn't very good. I learned as I painted. I began paying close attention to scenery in plays I went to, and murals on buildings, and I read more books. I took a class. I painted a lot of walls- stenciling, stamping, cross-hatching, feather dusting. I got better at painting trees and I learned quick ways to create wood grain and marble. I finally got to paint something other than walls and floors and trees when MJC did "A Flea in Her Ear".

I painted this mural on a hotel wall that I painted and stenciled.

FINALLY! They could see that I could do other things. And that's when it really got fun.

Into the Woods

Honk! was a production by Yes Company, a children's theater group. I painted several sets for them.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

In 2005 MJC started a huge theater renovation. They tore everything out in order to start over. The Scenery Dept moved to a little storage unit. No water, no space. It was really hard to work. I tried. I painted stuff in weird places but in the end I decided to retire. Jam & Jive was the last show I painted. Then I walked away (after more than 10 years).

Jam & Jive 05

In 2008 the new theater opened and they asked if I would paint the flats for that year's Jam & Jive - it being the first performance in the new theater. So I did.

Jam & Jive 08

Now, I paint the scenery for Harry's high school productions (one a year).

Romeo, You Idiot

The House at Pooh Corner

This year, it's Dracula- mostly walls, but...what can I say...
not everything can be a 20x40 ft mural.

I enjoy scenic artistry. It's big. But it's fleeting. I spend, sometimes days or weeks on realistic backdrops or huge flats and then when the play closes, they're taken down, folded up and stored away or taken apart and painted over. Sometimes I forget to take pictures.