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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Putting the clear gloss coat on the mural

I'm not a real fan of acrylic paint - house paint or otherwise.It can do a good job but I like the way that you mix a colour with oil and place it on your painting and it dries the same darkness and gloss. Acrylic paint dries darker and drab. You have to allow for that by mixing the colour a little lighter and then using varnish at the end to bring the colours back out'
I was a little disappointed in the mural because it had dried drab but I just put the first coat of clear coat gloss on it and it's come up beautifully! The colours are brighter and the blacks lovely and glossy.It was a bit scary as the clear coat was designed to be put on a horizontal surface and was very runny.It also went on milky and dried clear- I was nervous as to how it would go but I'm very happy with it!
I'll leave it 24hrs and do another layer.It doesn't matter how good a quality brush you use they always seem to leave hairs in the mix! I had to have a smaller one to pick them off before it dried.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I will be part of the Art Trail exhibition at Wollombi Fireshed in September.

 There will be a lovely mosaic by Alison Green raffled at the opening.Come along and see the great variety or work . This exhibition is unique in that it has so many different styles of painters and also mosaics , jewellery and blown glass to admire and purchase.
I had better start on some paintings for the  exhibition !
With 18 artisans it was initially decided that all the painters would use the same shape and size canvas so the exhibition would be unified.
It's now been changed to we all have a certain space we can fill with any combination of canvas's.
I bought square ones so that is going to make choosing a subject difficult. I have heaps of landscape scenes I'd love to paint but they won't suit that shape.
I have an idea of doing a few small oils of old buildings. Over the last few years I have been taking photos of anything interesting whenever we've cycled the Hunter Valley.
Mmm the hardest part is deciding what to paint and planning it..Wish I could skip this part but it's the most important!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 13 & 14 on the mural the poppethead , eagle and lighthorse and rider

Day 13 - The Poppethead scene

 I decided to move onto the Poppethead scene. It was quite complicated and kept me on my toes especially as it was blowing a gale and blowing my paint containers off the table and shaking the step ladder..lol's. It was good as the paint dried almost as soon as it hit the wall so I could make corrections quickly.

Day 14 - 
 Now I came back to finish the lighthorse and rider.I ended up going for a bit of a likeness of Charmaine as  the rider although the reference photo was blurry and it's not as accurate as my usual commissioned portraits would be. It's also much simpler as it needs to read well from a distance as well.
 I am pretty happy with the result. What a difference decent reference photos make! The horses at the Co Op were in B & W and taken on an overcast day. This one although not as sharp as I'd like was taken in colour and on a sunny day which made it much easier for me to get a good result. All the mural images look better in the flesh than in photos.

A closer view of the horse & rider. 
Charmaine, a local resident dresses in Lighthorse ( WW 1 ) outfit and goes to  Anzac celebrations and other events. Here she is standing below the monument in the main street near the RSL where the mural will be.

Now to the Eagle - The wedge tail Eagle is the totem image for the  Awabakal aboriginal people who live in the area.
The grasstree in the box to it's left is a significant plant for them and used for many purposes. There are many impressive specimens growing in the areas bush with some big ones around the summit of Mt Sugarloaf. They are very slow growing - about an inch a year and the older ones grow a large trunk. Some can be 600 years old! I feel it's important to preserve them for future generations.

 Here's the central image with the eagle and poppethead.

 I realised I'd forgotten to give the cart driver his whip so I added that.

 I going to  fiddle a little with this man's head ( below) - I feel he needs a bit of a shadow  there from his hat and more hair . He has a widows peak ( balding bit) in the original photo but I think he'd look better without it.. So with the stroke of a brush I'll make him younger..lol's .
If only it was that easy in real life.

 Here's the cart driver.

The main figures at the shop - they must be brothers..I just noticed a drip of paint in their apron. I'll have to fix that..

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The finished Mural

 I hope it fits on your screen - I made it larger so you can see it. Here's a smaller version in case that's too big.

2.44m x 6.7m 
 If you want to see it in the flesh it will be erected permanently as part of West Wallsend 150th year Heritage fete on 22nd September  2013. 
It will be on the front of the West Wallsend Workers Club in the main street.

 I like this even though I have an eagle growing out of my head..It shows the size well.lol's

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Some photos of Zeuss & I July 2013

It's only 2 degrees so I'm whimping and doing indoors studio stuff in airconditioning till it warms up a bit for muraling. Mind you they say don't paint in under 10 degrees..lol's
Here are some photos that were taken of Zeuss and I recently. . It captures something of the connection we have so it will make a great portrait one day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 12 on the mural

Here's the latest.

 I"ve changed the colour of the background around the lighthorse and painted the statue. I'm really happy with the statue.
I'll come back to finish the monument ,horse and rider. I've spent a day to get the poppethead finished with it's box and border.
I had photos but lost them before I could post ( I thought they had uploaded and deleted them off the camera - grr).

I'm not going to post the overall mural anymore until it's finished and approved as I want to keep some surprise! lol's
So I have to paint the eagle , horse and rider and monument then sand back some drips and retouch them and sign it. I'll then cover it with some anti graffiti paint and take the panels down and prime the backs of them and it's ready to deliver!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 11 on the mural

Day 11- 

I've got company muraling today. About 50 roos are lazing about in the sun 30 ' away. I've got a headcold so I must admit I'm tempted to laze with them but I'm still enjoying muraling ( inbetween nose blowing lol's).

This one is lucky the electric fence wasn't on! lol's

Back to the mural- 

  I finished off the grasstree and then  started on the lighthorse and monument with new reference photos .The photos will be used for the general proportions . I won't be trying to get a likeness. Thanks Charmaine for the photos!

Above - the earlier grasstree

 Here's the finished one above. I think I might go and add some more darks to this one. Although I like the colour it needs to be a bit darker.
Below - starting to roughly block in the horse rider and monument. The blotchiness is dappled shade on the mural. The last one is in good light.

At the end of today's work. Getting there! I have to change the colour of the box surrounding the horse and rider. You can see the colour rough below the mural . It has to be more like that. Looking at the photo below I think I also need to make the darks in the riders clothes more obvious from a distance.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mural Day 10

 I wasn't happy with the overall impact of the mural so today was spent redoing the main image to get more zap.

 I finally worked out why it wasn't working.
When I paint in Oil I can mix any colour I want. Housepaints are limited with what colours you can get , especially dark colours - I suppose not many people want to paint their houses dark..lol's.
I needed a really dark gutsy purple for the Co op to shine. I had been using a brown colour which just wasn't working. I mixed a more purple mix ( not as good as what I can get with my Oils but better than what I had) and used it for the shadows on the building.It worked!
I've gone around and changed all the brown shades to mauve /purple and it looks much more interesting. I also put some pure yellow and red on the bay horse and it stands out better now. Maybe too much! I may have to bring out some of the rest of the mural to match it..
I just have to get a good colour for the shadowed side of the building and then I'll move onto something else.



 I think the main scene is finished. I finally found a colour that works for the shadow side of the building. It looks a bit odd at the moment but I plan to incorporate some of the oranges through it and when I use the colour in the rest of the mural it will all hang together.Here I am experimenting..(above).

 I'm happy with the general colour scheme and I finally started on the rest of the mural! Yay! The grasstree is roughly done- it needs to go on a diet .lol's
I'll slim it down a bit next session.
The lighthorse is all out of proportion but I'll fix that. I just had some leftover dark paint I didn't want to waste so I used that on the horse.

 The revamped main scene at the end of the day.- below.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 9 on the mural

 Today's work . I finished all the faces changed the horse colours a bit and did some detailing on the building - all of which probably won't be noticeable in a small photo..
The start-  

I've spent most of the morning finishing of the Co op .I straightened the verandah posts and tidied things up + added some finishing touches.
Now I just need to do 2 more figure faces , adjust the men's aprons a bit, put some finishing touches on the horse and then move on to the rest of the mural. I can come back at the end and see what needs doing.

  I've done all the faces and put some more detail into the ridden horse.

Getting there but I think the shadowed side of the building is too drab so I'll redo it a more orangey colour tomorrow.The ridden horse is also annoying me I'd like to give him a bit more colour if I can figure out how.

Almost ready to move onto the rest..phew..

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 8 painting the mural

 Actually this is another session on Day 7.

I had fun last night roughly painting the horses in the mural.I also lightened the ground under the verandah which made a big difference! I like things that make a big difference..lol's

These give you an idea of the size of the figures.. The hard bit is to get them to look good closeup but still have enough zap to look ok at a distance. 
If they don't have enough contrast they may look good closeup but they are just a blob from a distance . But if you have them bold enough to look good at a distance they may look over the top closeup.So it's a constant paint , go back and see how they look , adjust , have another look etc.
Another thing to keep in mind is they have to read correctly in the context of the whole mural. If they are too obvious it will look weird. If you are that far away looking at someone in the real world you can't see their features much.
Lucky most of the blokes have moustaches as that makes it easier as they stand out!I'm still fine tuning the faces. I'll do that at the very end.


 The first version of the horses. I like them as individuals but when I come back in the morning they are positioned wrong. One is further to the front than the other. Grr.
 They are like that in the small version but you don't notice.. Any slight discrepancies are magnified in the larger version once it's projected.. This is why the colour rough is so important.It usually prevents problems like this.

 Day 8

 A bit scary but it has to be done.. Painting over much of the horses to restart.

Notice the lines to help me position them . I measured everything carefully this time. I decided to enlarged the reference photos for each horse scene. Wow what a difference ! I could now see the building has brickwork at the side that shows the groundline better.That will make the building sit more convincingly into the scene .
 While enlarging part of the 1890 photo I noticed that in the background are 2 kids. One teenager lounging on the fence with his cap pulled down and hands in his pockets (he looks a bit of a lout) and the young 10 year old boy who is picking his nose..lol's.. Things haven't changed much in 120 years!

Oh well I spent 1.30hr getting them in a better position .
Ah much better.They are ready for me to come back and detail and add the harness etc.Now to start the man and horse to the left of the building.

 You can see the lout lounging on the fence in the background. I haven't included the nose picker who was near him..

 A pretty rough face . I'll fix him later.

 That's it for this session.

 It's progressing more slowly than I like but it is a big detailed mural! I'll be glad when I have the Co op to the stage where I can start work on the rest of the mural.. It should be a lot faster when I do as each image is only small.
 I did some more later in the afternoon.Here are some photos..I did a bit more of the LHS horse- I'm not happy with it so I'll come back later. I've also done the harness and wagon on the RHS. They looked good until they dried darker so they will need another lot of ligher colours to give them a lift.