Original Paintwork

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Original Paintwork

Postby Richard Coombs » 24 Aug 2014, 06:34

Original Paintwork
"To Paint or Not to Paint ? That is the Question"

Ok , so it is a slightly contentious issue , as there will be advocates on both sides ( and I post not to rattle a Bears cage but out of interest )

I have sometimes heard folk say "Oh I cannot repaint that puppet , it the original Clarke / Felix / Miraiker paintwork"

But could or should you do so when the puppet gets to the stage where it needs it ?
When ( for other performers) IS that stage reached ?
Do you try and send it back to Clarke / Felix / Miraiker ( etc) for them to touch up their own work ?
Or do you set to with a paintbrush yourself ?

For me it is an easy answer as I make my own stuff.
And I was spurred on to thinking about this topic when one of the oldest figures in my working set needed a freshen up.
Despite plenty of bashing on the proscenium and play board , my "long neck man" had lasted many years while still looking good , But packing away the other day I had a look at him and realised he was past his prime and needed an overhaul.

Other puppets get a regular lick of paint when needed....he never had.
So I was faced with what , for me , was quite a 'vintage' bit of painting to cover up.

I got a momentary twinge of guilt as I got the paints out.
Was I somehow covering over an 'original Coombs creation'?
But such nonesence was only a momentary thought.

A few daubs of acrylic colours later I knew I had made the right choice.
He looked fresh again , I changed his eye-colour to something that stood out better , and got a slightly different looking expression on his face.
I like the result.

Puppets are working tools , and as such should be kept 'sharp' and fit for use.



But where do you draw the line ?
Would you say paint over a Tickner if it needed it ?

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Re: Original Paintwork

Postby Chris » 24 Aug 2014, 11:34

If they are working puppets I think the answer is obvious Richard. You repaint when needed. If you are using the puppets then the most important consideration is their impact on the audience. Of course if you like the way the puppet was originally painted then it is a good idea to try and copy the original colours and lines.

On the other hand, if the puppet is very old and part of your collection rather than part of your performing set, perhaps being an example of a famous maker, then it would be folly to repaint since the paintwork is an important part of the puppet's integrity. But there is no reason why you can't clean the paintwork and thus restore the colour, just as you might restore an oil painting with very careful, expert cleaning.
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Re: Original Paintwork

Postby lesclarke » 25 Aug 2014, 21:50

Agree to what has already been said, and amazing to think that especially wooden puppet heads may well have an incredibly long life ahead of them, involving many repaints, costume changes and indeed complete character changes.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
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