… thoughts on theatre, life, and stuff

Archive for June, 2010

Makeup Demo – old age

For Rush hour, we do an old age makeup every Sunday to age Grandpa Henry.  I thought it might be helpful to you to see a demo of an old age makeup.  I’m frustrated with the quality of the video but I checked on my daughter’s laptop and it seems to be OK, so we’ll go with it as is.   

Thanks tons to my daughter who is only 19 and has beautiful, smooth skin.  Can’t BELIEVE she let me do this, she is SUCH a good sport!! 

Starting with a blank slate, a smooth face, you will want to apply wrinkles and stippling in these areas: 

For supplies… my favorite stage makeup is Ben Nye.    http://www.bennye.com/   This tends to be pricey, but will yield the best results.  All you really need is

  1. A medium foundation
  2. A white (or very, very light) cream     (in a pinch, “clown white” that you buy at the Halloween store will work)
  3. A VERY dark brown or black cream  (ditto the note about Halloween makeup)

I like to apply a basic moisturizer first.  This will protect the skin, and make the makeup easier to remove later.  It will also make the skin smoother and facilitate blending.  Men and teenagers usually protest the moisturizer the most, so I believe in the idea of natural consequences.  Just let em TRY to get heavy makeup off without that nice layer of moisturizer first.  Plus, with rough, dry man-skin, the application will take longer and be more uncomfortable for them.   Mwahahahahaha! 

As with any “art project”  applying old age wrinkles uses the concept of highlights and shadow (aka lowlights).  I explain this in the video. 

One note I wanted to explain about aging and symmetry is something I was kind of  incoherent about during the video.    Here’s what I was TRYING to say….   I’ve read some scientific articles about how skin cells are constantly regenerating, replacing themselves.  As we age, skin overexposed to the cigarette smoke, the sun, or tanning booths, or a bad diet, will cause DNA inside the skin cells to become damaged.  When that cell tries to read the DNA instructions to reproduce itself,  it will read the flaws in the damaged DNA and reproduce imperfectly.  Magnify these imperfections over a lifetime, and you get skin that is damaged by more than just lack of collagen.  What that means to applying an old age makeup is… perfect symmetry is not only un-necessary… it’s incorrect.

You don’t have to be this elaborate with your makeup.  Simplification of these basic ideas will give you a nice look from a distance, but practice is the best way to speed the process up. 

hugs, V-


Makeup Idea

Makeup idea.  This humpty dumpty idea was re-DONK-u-lous!  Reminds me of some of the makeup stuff we did in college.   

I highlighted the actor's actual features on the right. (click to enlarge)


at the link below is the animated version I found via Stumble Upon.  http://memeparty.com/i/5a46bc78cc4c02d40a4105c0424e65d9.gif  

hugs,   v-

Backdrop Ideas

I am a fan of “StumbleUpon” and I ran across this art installation by Viennese/Croatian design collective For Use/Numen.  Here’s the web address:  http://www.fastcompany.com/1656197/designers-create-spiderman-worthy-cave-from-packing-tape


This design is entirely made from packing tape.  It is so strong people can crawl inside it!  I think a scaled down version would make an INCREDIBLE theatrical backdrop with the right lighting!

Another idea for a VERY inexpensive backdrop “Scrim” is to staple together soda six-pack plastic holders into a large curtain.  Light it blue and voila! … instant abstract ocean.  Light it green… forest!  Red lights? … fires of Hell, you get the idea.




Like my new header?

Whad’dya think about the new header?  Since Rush Hour is based on the ORANGE philosophy,  I went with the literal.  I created it in MS Paint.  Old school, I know.  But I like the way it turned out.  I draw all my illustrations using MS Paint because, duh!  It’s FREE!  I keep experimenting with new blog look-and-feel themes.  I like this one.  For now. 


Rush Hour is on break for the summer,  so there will be fewer posts until the fall when things ramp up again.  But I am helping out a little with VBS this summer, so if something interesting comes up, I’ll keep you blog-u-lated. 

My goals for the summer are

  1. Enjoy this incredible Colorado summer weather! 
  2. Practice my new hobby… stained glass.
  3. Become adept with my new French Press coffee dew-hick-ee. 
  4. Spend more time trying to understand the nature of my great big God. 

And maybe I’ll dig out that Children’s musical I was working on last year.  Hmmm, now where did I file that thing…

hugs,  V-

Camel Jumpsuits (for the legs of the camel)

For Scott and John to wear under the camel suit, I made a couple of jumpers.  They are basically overalls with elastic at the knees and ankles.  My intention was to give them shoulder straps, but time didn’t permit, so I just pinned the front and back of the “bib” part to their own t-shirts to hold them up. 

how I cut out the camel jumpsuits (click to enlarge)

The pattern I developed was basically a pair of SUPER HIGH WAISTED PANTS!  HAaahahahaha! 

I added elastic to the ankles and the knees and bloused the fabric out around to cover the elastic.  I tied the elastic around the outside. I know, I know, but  I TOLD you I ran out of TIME!  😀 

The proportion worked best for us to put John in the front and Scott in the back. Experiment with your actors in the suit to find the best fit for you.

Camel – The body frame

Here’s one of the more complicated steps to constructing the 2-man camel suit.  This entry describes the construction and assembly of the frame.   

The frame was constructed of PVC, padded, and covered with felt.


 I made the frame of the camel from PVC (that white plumbing-tubing available at hardware or home-improvement stores).  I used long lengths of 1″ pvc.   Heating this stuff in your kitchen is very do-able.  When it reaches the right temp, you can easily bend it with your hands.  A hack-saw made the necessary cuts, or you can heat a kitchen knife (this will ruin the knife!) and “melt” the cuts.  


                        Do not inhale these fumes!    

                        Melted plastic will give you nasty burns if you are not careful!   

                        This stuff will catch on fire, can leave icky melted plastic on your stove, etc.    

The original design.


                        You need to heat all sides of the tube for it to bend correctly.  Just heat the bottom, for instance, and the tube will “warp” as you apply pressure to bend it.  Then, instead of being a nice “flat” curve, it will dip down, or rise up, and the bottom of our camel will be uneven.   

                        PVC pipe comes with “joints” and “curves” you can buy.  I went the cheap way and bent it using heat, but alternatively, you could cut the PVC into the correct lengths and glue on elbow joints for the curves.  This would mean more time and expense, but you would have a much neater end product than my camel.   

I used duct tape to connect the various pieces to each other.   

Cover all this with padding, and then fabric. Padding the frame (I used an old blanket) will soften the shape some.  I hot-glued the fabric over the frame. WHEN GLUING ON THE FABRIC, LEAVE GAPS IN THE GLUE FOR ACTOR HANDS TO GRIP THE INSIDE OF THE FRAME.  My frame was actually sized so that the actors fit comfortably, but snugly inside the frame and the rear frame fit over the actor in the back, making the entire frame supportable by just his shoulders.   

NOTE:  I added straps of fabric to the inside of the frame for the front actor, like suspenders to make it easier to keep the “cage” of the body level.  It’s one thing to hold it all in place standing still, but when you are dancing with a partner and nearly blind inside it, the level of complexity rises and the actors’ concentration will shift from cosmetics to survival!  

 For the final outer layer of fabric,  I used 60″-wide lengths of camel-colored felt that I got on sale. (Most fabric comes on bolts that are either 45″ or 60″ wide. )   

NOTE:  this frame and the “skin” of the camel are the parts of the project that I would re-design.  I never did like the way the front “Chest and neck” just floated around loosely like a skirt.  With more money and time, I would have designed the frame this way…  

A new approach.


The new design would have allowed me to have an elastic or draw-string neck opening that could be slipped right over the hard-hat and under the loose edge of the faux fur that covers the neck… resulting in a smoother neck and chest that looked more camel-like.   

Well, the NEXT time we use the camel… he’s in for an overhaul.

Camel (or elf) shoes

Here’s how I made the shoes for the camel.  Our camel’s name was Aladdin, (what ELSE, right?)  so I made his shoes stereotypical harem guard shoes, with curved toes.  I did resist the urge to put tassels on the points!  

This same design would work well for elf shoes at Christmas.  Or do them in Blue for a Genie, for instance. And I think a Smurf clog has this same shape.  

hugs,  v- 

click to enlarge

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