Monday, September 15, 2014

More Fun Ballet Company Commissions....!

The Nutcracker Ballet's "Mother Ginger", as painted upon an 8+ tall plywood cut-out

So I'm finally getting around to posting about another project I was recently commissioned to create for our local ballet company (as mentioned in my previous post)....
 Our local ballet puts on a lavish production of The Nutcracker Ballet every year, which has become quite the December tradition in these parts.   A highlight of this family favorite, is the 'Mother Ginger' (AKA 'Marie Antoinette') vignette... whereby a person, shoe-horned into an impossibly enormous, hooped dress, comes out onstage  (so big she must be discretely wheeled out of the wings via a special platform), with an entire passel of wee child clowns escaping from underneath her skirts to cavort and dance, much to the delight of the audience.   Often the person portraying Mother Ginger is a man in drag, which can be quite hilarious, and on other occasions things go even a step further and a local personality of some sort agrees to portray her for a performance or two.    It's fun stuff! (You can see a pic of the real Mother Ginger here)....

At any rate, our ballet company recently hosted their big annual fundraising soiree/gala event, and I was requested to paint the Mother Ginger character as a prop for use as part of the festivity's decoration and entertainment.  The company provided me with the plywood cut-out (over 8 feet tall).  I asked if I was supposed to portray her as a guy in drag, like our Mother Ginger often is.  'No, not necessarily', I was told.  Instead they said they were looking for a 'sexy' Mother Ginger (all while remaining strictly PG of course!).
Well all righty then!

The following is what I came up with:

A 'sexy' painted 8+ foot tall Mother Ginger (AKA 'Mare Antoinette')

Is that 'sexy' enough for you, lol....?

Additionally, I was also asked to paint two other characters that are always featured in the show -- a young Maid and Footman...:

A painted Maid and Footman (a little over 5 feet-ish tall)

At over 8 feet tall, the Mother Ginger cut-out was especially far too large to get into my house, but thankfully I have a wide, old-fashioned veranda front porch, with a roof.  That's where she lived for a goodly chunk of my summer...:

Mother Ginger in progress on my porch (see the ladder for size reference)....

I did get lots of strange looks from the neighbors and passerby, for weeks....:

Nutcracker Maid and Footman in progress on my front porch

But in the end the projects were completed in time (thank goodness), and then I myself was able to attend the fancy shindig that all three figures were requested for (I managed to discretely snap pictures of them in use during the party)....:

Mother Ginger at the party

Maid and Footman, part of a fundraising game involving champagne glasses and fancy jewelry prizes!

I got a big chuckle at the event too, because they'd dug out my old papier mache Boar's Head (which I blogged about way back when), to use as party decoration.  That thing really only sees the light of day at Nutcracker time (used as a stage prop), so I was quite surprised to be "reunited", lol....!

My paper mache Boar's Head, used as party decoration

Doesn't he look grand up there on the pedestal....?  (Seems to be pimping some wine here)....

As for Mother Ginger, she even made the local newspaper afterwards
(note the striking young woman posing with her here is NOT me, but the ever lovely dancer, Erica J.  ...).

Mother Ginger makes the local society pages....

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