USITT Show Report

We had a great time at the USITT Conference last week.  If you missed it this year, make a point of going in 2019!

We were so thrilled by the plethora of folks who stopped by our booth. This is some of what we hope you took away (besides cute little paint brushes!!)

We hope people realize the big picture of Cobalt; that we not only paint for the industry but educate about painting to anyone who walks in the door.

There is “Added Bonus” to coming here!!  If you only consider the reasonable tuition, applying to any of the programs is well worth it, but there are added bonuses in the beauty of the location and the networking that happens in any of the programs. You make valuable connections and, depending on the program, walk away with knowledge and portfolio pieces that are your own individual efforts.

Signing up for the intensive training of the 2 year “Scenic Artist Training Program” is not the only way to further your knowledge of Scenic Art.

There are many options for expanding your knowledge of Scenic Art at Cobalt Studios. For instance, the “Month at Cobalt” is an affordable experience, which helps anyone be able to attend. Because you are able to set an amount of time, at a time of your choosing (with suggestions based on the topics being studied by the two year students and what type of training you might be looking for) it makes attending the program more flexible for students or new scenics responsible for paying their own way. There are specific lessons being taught throughout the entirety of the two year program – also, your visit can include one of the Specialty Pro Seminars. Being in the studio, in and of itself, provides information on tools one might create and projects one may replicate to hone your hand and eye. All questions are answered and there should never be any hesitation in looking inexperienced—it is a school. We know that you might not know. With our love of teaching and your open mind, chances are you will leave with answers to questions you didn’t know you had. Being here has an intensive “on the job” training component without the fear of being fired or judged. You might be introduced to new products and techniques that may be useful to you in other areas of the industry as well as meeting people who may prove to be important connections.

I want to emphasize that the two year program and Summer Scene Painting are not the only ways to get paint on your hands and expand your knowledge and understanding of Scenic Art here at Cobalt Studios.

Rachel with Sarah Abernathy, Blorp and Shannon Komlofske


Tools We Use — Netting Stretchers

We were pleased to win a 2017 Technical Invention Prize from OISTAT for our Netting Stretcher.

In the entry, Rachel wrote “Often enough, scenic artists need to paint a backdrop which will have a substantial cut-out. No matter what shape, the lower part of the backdrop below the hole needs to be supported.  The standard way to do that most invisibly is to fill the cut-out with scenic netting (also known as opera netting). The netting looks a bit like fishnet but is made of cotton strings.  The kind we use is black and has 1″ square holes.  The strings must be oriented vertically and horizontally and must be tight.  The netting is essentially replacing the muslin which has been cut out.
Before I invented these netting stretchers, we struggled with different methods of getting the netting even and square.  In order to stretch it across the back of a drop that’s on the floor we needed to attach it securely to the floor as well. Taping was not secure enough and was troublesome when moving things to adjust square-ness. Stapling the net down also made for difficulty adjusting the tension and square-ness. Up-side down carpet tack strips were used, too, but the tacks sticking up were both irregularly spaced and so sharp such that many injuries occurred.
The idea for my design came when I was thinking about the problem and talking with a friend.  I recall saying what we really needed is something with slots in it every 1″ which we can slip the netting into, but which we can attach to the floor with a minimal number of staples.Grabbing a pencil, I started thinking and came up with this netting stretcher.  Luckily, we had someone to make them, and she made a lot of them, which is good because sometimes you need many.”

We’re off to USITT next week!

We hope to meet you in St. Louis at the USITT Conference next week!

Visit us at our booth # 1233

Click here for more!

We can’t wait to meet up with the Guild of Scenic Artists’  (GOSA)representatives who are spearheading the Scenic Artists’ Party!  Visit them at their booth # 1603.


New Book by Sean o’Skea

Painting for Performance, A Beginner’s Guide to Great Painted Scenery
by our dear friend (and Teachers Training Teacher)
Sean O’Skea
is a must read!

It is beautiful, clear, and thorough.