"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Step by step story of bookstore mural--III--unfinished?

From this on Friday morning: That's a big daunting wall. After taping off the wall, the sky is first.

To this on Saturday evening--a long two days--that may be a little "unfinished" yet.
What you see are photos of my West Texas mural for Burrowing Owl Bookstore's "Back 40" children's reading area in the second store, in Amarillo, which opened this past week.
I learned a lot doing this two-day painting, especially on mixing colors and processes. Someday when I get back, I'd like to improve a few items. First, the bison are too small, and needed to be bigger. And perhaps the vultures too. There might be a burrowing owl added, but that's up to my Daughter Dallas' approval. I also think the yuccas, and shadows could be bettered.  The Texas flag needs to have a little blue and red added at the bottom. Picky, picky.
As you get through these photos, you'll notice some details that changed as I went along.
Since my grid was originally for an 8-foot tall wall, not 10, we just painted the bottom two more green because there would be chairs or tables or something in front.
You can barely see the grid at first, so I went over it with brown paint which shows near the bottom of the wall later.
Even though this was opaque paint, I couldn't have done it without my experience in the process of watercolor painting, and that influence shows.
At the end of both days, about 9 to 6, I was pooped. And sore, from stooping to mix and climbing up and down that ladder.
  • There is a lot of green. Dallas wanted it more colorful. Color always win, and West Texas needs the rain!
  • The road was a mistake, so I painted it over. I thought it was too light, but Todd said it looks just like caliche. Yep.
  •  I was going to paint the cloud first, but ran into real trouble getting a good gray. It was one of last things painted, other than the white outline. Dallas' advice helped a lot on color mixing. The gray in the finished cloud, and lots of other shadow work were among the last subjects painted.
  •  Notice all the mixing trays, and colors. What an experiment.
  • Notice all the post it notes. Those were my notes to myself the second day, of things to do to finish up.
  • Lots of those were the details, like barb wire, windows flowers and the  windmill, the "calligraphy," as I've heard artists talk about the last steps.
  • I spent most of a morning on the iconic  Lighthouse in Palo Duro canyon. It still tilts a bit, but not as much as earlier. Maybe there was an earthquake?

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