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.
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
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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