Saturday, August 11, 2012

Orange is the Color, Mural-Painting is the Game


Slowly inching my way across the eighty-foot span of the wall with the preliminary orange glaze. This glaze basically serves to separate what is dark from what is light on the wall.

Even the first glaze has to be applied with a lot of care and attention to detail. Though each glaze gets continuously more detailed and specific, it is important to nail down the main elements right away. So, you better be a proficient drafts(wo)man from day one in this process. You need to have extremely good drawing skills to work in this technique, as the base glaze has to get it right. That means you have to know how to get the most out of every brush stroke.

A grouping of prominent figures begins to emerge in an interplay with the letters 'Y' and 'O' of the word YOUNG.

Slowly the forms are emerging from their prolonged imprisonment on the drafting table onto the gloriously huge space of the mural. It feels good to see them taking on a life of their own...even if at this point they are only orange (against a golden-flesh colored background).

Even at this early stage you can see the perspective of the design taking shape. The inclusion of the street-scape with the 'Jubilee Parade' for example leads the eye into the design and relates nicely to the gigantic letters of the word "YOUNG".

Now you can see one of my little visual playful bits where the three steers loom large up and behind the buildings of Main Street, Young; creating the effect of udderly HUGE cows. In scale to the buildings, they soar perhaps eighty feet into the air, though in reality they are only about four or five feet high. It's really all a question of relationships to scale that create this illusion.

Even at this early stage in the painting process, it is critical to define the main elements with strong, authoritative brushwork. All of the subsequent glazes...detail that is... must rely on the strength and fidelity of the preliminary 'sketch' to be finally realized.

You can see now that the orange glaze nearly reaches to the end of the eighty-foot expanse and eight foot height of the final chunk of mural.

Some of the elements from the previous 4' x 80' section were deliberately left unfinished awaiting the bottom eight feet, such as the two soldiers representing the WWII vets. The reason for this is to make registration easier in mid-element, rather than reverse-engineering the complete glazing process halfway through a figure.

Getting down to the last few square yards of preliminary glazing/layout.

That was a productive two or three orange-y days. I think after one more good day I will be onto the next glaze, which as you may recall is read. More definition, richer shadows and stronger contrast to come!

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