For the Rosco Spectrum Blog we worked with Laura Scheving, a rising fourth-year student at North Carolina School of Arts, on her project that she described simply as her “Magic Translucent Drop”. It’s an excellent example of how to create vivid sunrise or sunset scenery that arrives only when the drop is backlit. I am proud to share it with you here on The Scenic Route as well.  ENJOY!



Translucent drops like this are double painted. The front holds a partly opaque image, while vibrant translucent colors on the back ‘illuminate’ when lit from behind.

The opaque landscape on the front (L) Translucent sky on the back (R)


When painting on both sides of a drop, it is key to keep the paint from the back from bleeding through to the front. To accomplish this, Laura sized the muslin on both the front and back with starch, as well as added 3 sprays of a clear flat acrylic on the back before she started painting.

Laura used Rosco Off Broadway paint on the front side of the drop to create the cliff and lighthouse. She challenged herself with the landscape parts by using some brush-less techniques to create the textures and foliage, such as rag rolling, combs, rollers and dropping a piece cloth cut like “Swiss Cheese”

Because that part of the painting needed to be opaque for the final effect to work, she didn’t need to be concerned about the layers of paint build up and thus could concentrate on the details.

What did need to be painted carefully, with being mindful of the thickness of the paint, was the light house. The goal was to create a reflective light moment where areas of the house would change to match the pastel sunset colors from the sky.



To create the soft clouds and color shifts, an HVLP GUN was used with white casein and Rosco Super Sats in vibrant sunset colors of orange, red, and a bit of purple. A surprise sail boat was also painted on the back in an opaque grey- it only shows through when lit.

Of course, the final scene will vary with the colors the lighting crew will cast over  it. But to be sure, it is as Laura says, magical!

To see more of Laura Scheving’s work please go here.





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