Scenic Artist, Donna Wymore specializes in the popular “Growing Christmas Trees” that are necessary for any production of The Nutcracker. While her company, Tuxedo Junction Fine Art, rents and sells painted Christmas tree drops, she also offers a PIY (Paint It Yourself) option for those wanting to save a little money.
When talking with clients who order her Paint Your Own Nutcracker Tree Backdrops, many of whom are not trained scenic artists, Donna will go through a full checklist of how to properly prepare a scenic drop for painting, including how to staple down and size the tree-shaped muslin. She also explains why Rosco Scenic Paint is a better choice than house paint for their scenery because of how well the paint performs as the growing tree folds and unfolds on stage. It is the painting part, however, that is the hardest and scariest part to achieve for novices.
Her biggest piece of advice is to paint it the way you would decorate a tree in the real world – start with the tree, then add the garland, and finally the ornaments. “Working from a research photo of a tree that you like, and using it as if it is a recipe, takes out a lot of the anxiety of where to start where to go with it.”
Starting with an Off Broadway Pthalo Green base (let down one-part water : one-part paint), gives you a great medium tone to paint most of the tree. From there, you can add Imperial Green and/or Ultramarine Blue to the Pthalo to add darker shadow areas to the tree, and a lighter mix of the Pthalo with Emerald Green can be used for the highlight parts of the tree. In the end, having 4-6 monochromatic tones of green to create all of the branch work is pretty standard.
When it comes to painting the ornaments, green and red are often the first choice, and that’s when Donna switches over to Rosco’s Supersaturated Pthalo Green. Because the Supersat version of the color is darker and bluer than the Off Broadway version used to paint the tree, the contrast makes the ornaments appear as a “greener green” that will make the ornaments pop under stage lighting.
No matter if you want to buy or rent one of her finished trees, or if you want to try her PIY option, the next time you’re preparing a production of The Nutcracker, make sure you contact Donna Wymore at Tuxedo Junction Fine Art for your magical, growing Christmas Tree.
The Rosco Off Broadway Scenic Paint that Donna uses to paint her Nutcracker Christmas Tree drops is available in Gallons and Quarts, and is also available in an Off Broadway Test Kit that contains one oz. jars of every color. Rosco Supersaturated is a scenic paint concentrate that needs to be let down with water (four-parts water : one-part paint for vibrant, opaque colors). Supersaturated Scenic Paint is available in quarts and a one oz. Supersaturated Test Kit. A quart of the Off Broadway Pthalo Green plus a Supersaturated Test Kit would provide you with enough paint to complete one of Donna’s PIY trees. To learn more about all of Rosco’s paint products for scenery, visit their Scenic Paint web page.
Nutcracker Tree Images and Design © Tuxedo Junction Fine Art