Southeast Missouri State University

River Campus Mural

June 21, 2005 - July 21, 2005

     The canvas is on the easel; and, at last, time for the painting to begin. Before that can happen, I have a couple of mechanical tasks to finish. I must be able to raise and lower the canvas; thus, I have invented a winch and pulley system to accomplish that task. The above ropes extend up the wall, across the room and attach to the easel. Here, I am adjusting a set of four turn buckles. Each turn buckle controls the length of the rope. In this way, I can level the canvas on the other side of the room. Each rope, four in all, is a different length. The ability to adjust their length is very important.

        This winch is used to raise and lower the canvas.

     You can see how the ropes are used to raise and lower the canvas. In the photo above, I am installing the lighting. This is a very touchy job. When I did my first mural in the late 70's, I built a studio with a ceiling height of 16'. I could get the light high enough to reduce glare. My ceilings in the studio are only 11'. To light the working area for the mural I am experimenting with spacing the lights to each side of the area to be painted. It has proven to be more difficult than I thought it would be.

This is my favorite moment with a new canvas. This is new, stretched, hand primed, Belgium linen. Just letting the canvas know that I love her. We will be together for at least two years.

The moment I hate. I have been known to postpone painting on a new canvas for weeks because

I didn't want to mess it up.

Just for a little help to get started, I asked Sandy to make her mark. Maybe a new future for her?

The center piece for the work is the great steamboat race of 1870. I wanted to rough in the placement of the

Robt. E. Lee. It seems like the best place to start.

The first day. It was a long day; but, I wanted to walk away with something positive being accomplished.

The mess begins. Under painting is just a process of establishing some values and removing the white.

Yes, still under painting. The finished sky will be very difficult. I'm not looking forward to it. The night sky is difficult to paint. When you get away from city lights, a river sand bar at full moon is a good place, you will notice that a night sky takes on a dark rich blue value. Producing this range of color value is a challenge. There has to be the right amount of grading across the sky to reflect the light to dark effect produced by the moon. When addressing the color issue of the nocturnal sky I like to produce a bluish-green combination. The combination of a large area to paint, the need for the complete sky to be painted in one day, the blending must appear seamless, large amounts of paint must be mixed, and the rest of the painting will be painted over it makes the sky pattern the foundation for the finished painting.

Here I am starting to plan the colors to be used. And, I am trying to get an idea of the amount of paint to use. I have never painted a continuous graded sky pattern this large before. Wish me luck. I can't put the task off any longer.

All the best to you,

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