Las Vegas is known for it’s nightlife, gambling, city full of neon lights, and of course, the shows. As someone who doesn’t enjoy losing money to a slot machine I was most looking forward to seeing our selected show: The Lion King.
The Lion King is one of those movies that really defined my childhood, at least from 2nd-3rd grade. My best friend at the time, Megan, and I endlessly played with our Simba and Nala dolls, with their magnetic noses that would pull them into a kiss. Every now and then I still catch myself humming along to “Hakuna Matata” or “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, the premier middle school slow dance song of that year.
With all of my fond Lion King memories, combined with the rave reviews of the theater version, I couldn’t wait to get to my seat and see the show. Because we purchased our tickets a little late our seats were towards the back, but still provided a great view of the stage. As the usher guided us back to our seats my very outgoing Aunt struck up a conversation with him, talking about how excited she was about the show, how much fun we were having on our family girls trip, and how much we loved our seats but wish we were just a little bit closer to the front. As we sat down he quietly whispered to my Aunt “I’ll see what I can do…”
The lights dimmed, the nostalgic “The Circle of Life” music struck it’s first chord, and I was practically jumping out of my skin with anticipation. Out of nowhere huge puppet animals appeared with elaborately decorated puppeteers controlling their very animalistic movements. Actors/acrobats stalked out on all fours, with their hands and feet attached to long stilts, and a long, elegant giraffe neck and head attached to their foreheads. The legs of the rhinoceros and elephants were created by the puppeteers legs, with the massive bodies resting on their shoulders, placing their heads just out of view. Dancers twirling across the stage with gazelles attached to their arms and head, human bodies transformed into animals in the most unbelievable and creative ways.
I was mesmerized by the artistic way the movie had been interpreted and the complexity of the puppets. I didn’t even realize we had already made our way to intermission until the lights suddenly flashed on. As we began our mid-performance stretch and wiggle, to get the blood flowing back to our feet, we saw our sweet usher hustling over, gesturing for us to follow him.
Aunt Lydia immediately hopped up, walked over, and began her sweet talking as he took us to our upgraded seats, on the right side of the stage, just a few rows back. I couldn’t believe our good luck and our now even more amazing view. We ooohed and awwwed the rest of show from our up close and personal view. It just goes to show you what a few kind words to a stranger can do and why this is one of my favorite moments from our Las Vegas trip.
- Visual journal
- Rubber cement
- India ink
- Magazine cut outs
- White paper
This was a very complicated, time consuming page to make, but I loved the outcome so it was worth it! I decided to combine different techniques together to create a patchwork look to the page. I also wanted to have a very bright background with the my favorite puppet characters in silhouette. Once I had my main concept together, I got to work.
The sun was a huge part of the background, and I decided it would be a good place to start. I found a magazine page made primarily of yellow, cut out a large circle, and sliced it into strips. I then used rubber cement to glue the strips down, slightly spaced, to recreate the circular sun. While on the hunt for yellow I also kept my eyes peeled for anything brown, textured, and Earthy looking. I ripped pages out that I liked and set them aside. Once I completed that I got to work on the watercolor elements.
I painted quick strokes of green on a separate piece of paper to create grass. I stayed very loose and didn’t worry about overlapped areas or uneven sections. I set it aside to dry. Next, I painted a heavily watered strip of orange watercolor on a separate sheet of paper, and at an angle blew it hard. This caused it to get long spindly splatters. I repeated this, and set them aside to dry. Once everything was 100% dry I began cutting them out. For the grass I turned any rounded edges into pointy grass shapes. I then began cutting out the splatters, which wasn’t a quick task. I cut around the main shape with scissors, then when in with an Xacto knife and cut between all of the splatters.
After everything was cut out I moved onto creating the stage. I took the brown, textured magazine pages I ripped out and began cutting them into rectangular shapes. I then glued the rectangles at the bottom of the page, right next to each other to create the stage. Next, I added my orange splatters to the background, carefully gluing down every splatter, followed by the grass on top of my magazine stage base.
Once the background was complete I started on the characters. I dipped a paintbrush in India ink and as loosely as possible painted the shapes. Because India ink is so thin you have to consider your brush strokes as you paint. Any areas that overlap will be much darker than the single stroke sections. I made very intentional strokes, and tried not to go back over anything twice. Once dry I cut out my characters and glued them on top of the stage.
Create a visual journal page for your absolute, favorite performance. It can be a theater production, musical, concert, or movie. Try to combine at least more than one method into your page!
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