Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ready to Rock the Red

With each successive glaze, the contrast grows stronger but just as important so does the resolution. And the red glaze is no fact it is one of the most powerful defining moments in the evolution of the mural.

The images are no longer merely amorphous...rather, at this stage the strength and character of the brushstrokes becomes abundantly obvious. It's a 'do or die' situation when it comes to the red.

The previous glaze (orange) needed to be applied super carefully, because the only guide was the 'plot point' sketch created with pencils. It was time-consuming to the utmost, due to the fact that it felt like a high wire act without a net, as the very sketchy guide lines do not help a whole lot in shoring up confidence. At that point I was heavily reliant on the dossier of source photos for reference. But now that the base glaze of orange is successfully applied, I am more free to fly with my brushes dipped in the powerful cadmium red medium.

As was the case with the orange glaze (as I pointed out in my previous post) it is paramount to make every brush stroke count, as these early glazes set the mood and template for all of the future glazes that will ultimately land us at the finished product. If you look carefully you will see that there is a lot of character and personality in the brushwork that defines the details and textures of the railway station. Even at this early stage.

I like the way that the railway station nicely anchors the lower left-hand side of the composition while forming a solid gravity that stitches it to the other buildings that sit at about 2:00 directly above and to the right. As I am just seeing it for the first time in the mural, I appreciate now that my design instincts were right on the mark with the scale and composition in this case.

You can see that the massive steam engine is rapidly coming into resolution with the addition of the red glaze. Although it will be a few days yet, I can already imagine how imposing it will appear with the following glazes: violet, pthalo blue, etc. Can you spot the two figures just beginning to emerge? They are there to establish the scale of the steam engine, incidentally the very first to pull into the rail-yards at Young back in the mid 19-teens.

What you are seeing is the result of almost a full day's patient glazing as I work methodically from left to right in two passes of about 4-5 feet swaths. If all goes well, I oughta be able to finish this stage in two or three more long days and then it's on to what is maybe my favorite glaze...violet. So stay tuned!

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