Wednesday, December 19, 2012

4~ Mural 2012: Pond and Cattails

My next day to work on the mural was Monday, September 24th. I finished painting the mountains and base-coating the hills, using a darker green for background hills. I painted the pond, just a basecoat. Brenda noticed an error in the sketch, which was great spotting, I think. I'd had to feel out the size of the sketch, and had moved the pond down a little from its original position. I hadn't moved the sketch of the reeds though. They were just pencilled in, but were too far up and looked as if they were back away from the pond. I saw what I'd done, moved down a little, and painted the cattails in very quickly ~ so quickly that it surprised all of us. They were very spontaneous, and I enjoyed that part as much as I enjoy working out one of my canvas paintings. Brenda's mother, particularly, praised the reeds as looking just like real cattails. How did I know how to paint them? she wondered. "Knowing" the cattails comes from a lifetime of looking, and of just playing with brushstrokes when I paint. We talked about how an artist thinks, looks, studies things, analyzes constantly. If I'd ever painted cattails before, it had been many, many years, when I was a kid, or in cartoons. I remember picking cattails in the '70s, studying them, and just enjoying the way they looked. In recent years, in acrylic painting, I had played a lot with broken spaces of background and foreground, though, laying paint over paint. It's an integral part of my painting, and I'd thought it out many times, laid paint on canvas in just that way.

I can't be sure what all we finished on that Monday. We didn't document each step, really, nor did we take photos every day. Brenda base-coated some storefronts for the town walls. For every element of the mural, I had to have "models" (pictures): not for copying, but for jogging of memory and other generalities. The next day's photos show that I had finished laying in the hills on the main wall, detailed the mountains, added the steeple to the church, and painted the base-coat colors of the pond. They also shows a hint of a banner over the pond, which is a story in itself. I had also begun to sketch the two short, side walls, extending the branches of the tree across the left corner onto that left-side wall. On the right side of the room, I had sketched the barn (full details later).

Monday, September 24, 2012. (Day 3 of drawing/painting).

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