September 30, 2009

Quartermaine's in Bethesda

The forecast is too iffy to work on the mural this afternoon. Here's Quartermaine's in Bethesda, painted this morning.

September 23, 2009

More Bethesda and Mural

The mural is progressing, in spite of the rain forecast, as it's sunny day today. I've been looking at a book "In the Garden with Jane Austen" and have added a lot of hollyhocks to my planned garden mural. Chawton Cottage isn't the most picturesque and the estate that inspired Pemberly is quite grand -- I'm not sure what's going to work as a center of the mural.

I don't have red paint in the system that I'm using, so the mural is going to be painted in the muted -- lightfast -- colors I've got and then I'll be touching up at the end with pinks, purples, reds and oranges using acrylic paint. You can see the hollyhocks are really a beige/pink.

As for the Bethesda painting, I was across the street from Barnes & Noble this morning.

September 21, 2009

Bethesda & Mural

I painted in downtown Bethesda (that's Gifford's and the Landmark movie theaters) in the morning.

In the afternoon, it was a first effort at using the colors and laying out the mural. The forecast for the rest of the week is rain, on and off, so I don't know when I'll get back into it. I like the paint, but mixing is more complicated than I expected and I need to bring more jars and brushes. The dilution is hard to measure in small quantities.... but still -- so far, here it is.

September 20, 2009

Mural Preparations

With a little help, I finished the 2nd prep coat on the mural today and need to get serious about the image. I plan to start painting it tomorrow.

I've been taking photos of flowers I want to have as reference, but the direction of sun and shadow is different on each one and I may be creating more problems than I'm solving by having something to look at. The wall owners are Jane Austen fans and I've been researching Chawton Cottage and her writings about gardens to get some inspiration for the scene. Here too, though, I've got to deal with seasons -- Jane Austen loved lilacs, but the early spring bloom is not what I'm envisioning in what I think will be scene of a cottage garden in summer.

Interestingly, the wall itself (it faces east) and the owner's north-facing yard are both very shady -- so I do think the wall will provide the chance to imagine a sun garden in a spot where one couldn't exist.

September 16, 2009


So months ago, when I painted that lock house in silhouette (see June 2 post) and a yellow piece of light behind it, let's just say people weren't exactly excited about it. I sign up for a fall painting class, and sure enough, here's our first day's warm up paintings. Silhouettes... and then today's New Yorker came in the mail. I guess we're onto something.

As for the mural, it rained yesterday and threatened rain today, so I have to wait for clearer weather before I get back to it.

September 15, 2009

First "Grob" Coat

I began preparing to paint the garage wall mural today, mixing white grob paint with a dilution of 15%. The wall of the garage had some cracks and odd rough and smoother spots -- all of which seem to have disappeared under the layer of grob paint. At the edges, though, along the ground and up against the fence, there was lumpy concrete and I have to figure out what to do about them.

Given the choice of a roller or brush, I decided to use a brush to start getting a feel for the wall.

So, 2 1/2 hours later, having listened to the sounds of the park and playground as I painted, I can report at least this -- there's as much laughter as their is crying among the little kids in the park and to everyone but the little kids I was invisible.

September 11, 2009

Mural in Bethesda

Coming soon -- my work this fall includes two commissions.

One is a mural, about 14 x 20 feet, to be painted on a garage wall in Bethesda. It's in a very visible public spot and although I suppose that's an opportunity to take great risks, I am sticking with sunflowers and garden landscapes. Still working out the actual image, but I've ordered the paint. Keim mineral paints are what's used by mural painters for works that last a hundred years. There's a whole system with pigments and grob coat and the end result is a non-peeling bond with concrete.

I also have to work on a commission painting that will be done from photos -- a planned Christmas gift.

Neither work is within my comfort zone of going outside, setting up some paint and spending a few hours in a frenzy of plein air painting. Both, though, will challenge me to bring more thought to my work and I'm looking forward to putting my thoughts in order!