Today my plan was to paint on the scaffolding without moving it until it was time to photograph the day’s work. The plan worked! I just kept going down to a lower shelf until I ended the day on the ladder. Can’t wait until tomorrow because I get to start on the Honeymoon Cabin! This is what Timber Gap looks like when you are standing above it on the non-Empire side.
In January I wrote a short posting about bridges. In it I stated that whoever was the first to name the 3 beautiful bridges in Tulare County would receive a reproduction print from me of one of those bridges. The winner is Stan from Woodlake and he correctly named Pumpkin Hollow (the bridge at the Gateway Restaurant in Three Rivers), Oak Grove (the bridge 7 miles up the Mineral King Road) and the Clover Creek Bridge in Sequoia. Congratulations, Stan! I have prints of the first two, and here is Pumpkin Hollow for you to see. I will bring it and the Oak Grove Bridge on Sunday and you can choose!
On one of the rainy days, Inspector Gadget went to the mural and let me know that the old store and post office needed work. Today it received work, and here are the results. Because it was sprinkling and threatening rain all day, I worked from the ladder instead of the scaffolding. It is easier to grab my gear and run for cover when I am closer to the ground. Also, if I am working in small patches and it sprinkles on the wet paint, less is ruined or perhaps the ruination is more easily repaired.
No pictures today just yet – this is about posting to the blog. I don’t know what the deal is with this WordPress thing, but quite a few of you tell me you have trouble with it. Sometimes you try to post for the first time and it kicks you off. Funny thing is, some of those posts actually show up waiting for me to approve or delete them! Sometimes you think your post got rejected so you post again, and those show up too! I’m looking into it, trying to get those with trouble to describe the trouble to me so I can pass it to my web designer, Maren. She is wonderful, by the way! www.mvwebdesign.com
. . . DON’T “always get me down”, although I loved loved loved the Carpenters. It was too risky to paint today in the rain, so I worked on these at home. The second one is a commissioned piece, and the “commissioner” enjoys seeing the progress so I thought you might be interested too. It looks a little rough, but that is the way I paint – improving the piece with each layer. By “improving”, I mean adding detail. Others might not agree with that as an improvement, but remember I began my career as a pencil artist and in pencil, detail is the point! (pun intended)
When I paint at home, it is usually in silence and solitude. Sometimes I listen to the radio or to music. Sometimes I talk on the phone, but only if it rings or there are calls that need to be made. Some days the only person I talk to is the UPS driver. Sometimes there are no cars passing by for an hour or two at a stretch. When I paint in Exeter, there are people stopping by regularly. I may talk to as many as 20 people in one day! The noise is very interesting – diesel pickups, many different delivery drivers, the forklift from the Exeter Sun-Gazette, the train whistle, back-up beepers, the noon siren, the fire station’s outdoor telephone ring, one of the restaurants trundling their garbage to the dumpsters on a cart, and during the week before Valentine’s Day, a refrigerated truck’s compressor. It is a very different experience than quietly painting in oils at home. I hope I am able to return to silence and solitude with contentment!Today White Chief got repaired, and many of the snowless spots had to be snowed on (erased)!I worked my way toward the sidewalk end of the mural, and got a little bored with gray so there is a patch of dark green just because. (it will be trees later)Then, I couldn’t stand it another minute, so I finished the old Mineral King Store & Post Office! Maybe. It was so fun to do detail that I began another “snapshot” (what should I call these things??) at the other end. Both sets of rechargeable camera batteries died, so you don’t get to see this unless you go to the mural in person. Rain is forecast for next week, so it may be a little while before I get back to “the city”!
(Such creative titles lately) Today I painted mostly without incident (never mind the forehead smash against the scaffolding board tail when I leaned over to lock the wheels). There were lots of nice visitors – some folks from Scotland, Marge and Lou from Three Rivers, and my dental hygienist were some of the guests today. Jay refilled my paint jars for me because I was too wimpy to get the lids off the paint buckets (my wrists hurt from all that sky yesterday!) and Betsy helped me hang my banner. Each day is full of generous kind helpful acts of encouragement and friendship! (Shall we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya??) The banner looks a little schlocky, but it is (mostly) readable.White Chief is all messed up. This is the area where Keith noticed the projection was beginning to slope downward. We had to do a jump-up and now I am trying to patch the 2 parts together. I couldn’t see the problem until I had lugged IT out of the way and back to its parking place. Suddenly, there was White Chief all distorted. Hmmm, guess I know what I will start with tomorrow.As a small consolation prize for the trouble with White Chief, I fiddled with the detail on the Old Mineral King Store. Detail is so very rewarding to this pencil artist! I could spend a week just perfecting this “little” picture, but have far too much anxiety about the size foresight to get caught up in that sort of derailment.
Has it really only been seven days of painting??? Today was a very very very clear day, and the mountains were showing off (the real ones, not the ones in the mural). Check out my view from the top of the forklift. Sawtooth is the last one visible on the right.With the loan of this forklift and the most able and willing driver, today the second coat of sky was completed. This is Jeffrey. The machine belongs to his generous dad, and there was a song written for Jeffrey back before he was born called Smooth Operator! He waited patiently in between lift repositioning, offered honest opinions when asked, asked intelligent questions, and we even had conversations about other topics besides the mural.Check out the machine. It was completely perfect for the job with the minor exception that I had to ask to be lowered. Kept me focused on the job! And when I needed more paint, Jay stopped by just in time to airmail it up to me. LJ (remember LJ? She is my mural consultant) came by to be my ground crew for a bit – what an encourager she is! Tomorrow: more mountain tops, or perhaps I will detail the old Mineral King Store and Post Office to make up for the complete lack of detail in today’s sky. Notice how the visible corner of sky (upper right) matches the wall!
What an incredibly clear and beautiful day! Truly fantastic – February is my favorite month. Too bad it doesn’t have 31 days, and August only 28. It was not a day of tremendous progress. Betsy helped me figure out that I am slowing myself down by using the photographs to do the first layer of mountain tops. I should be using the photos of the maquettes (model paintings) because they are much simpler than the photos of the mountains. All the decisions about how many patches of snow have already been made. Duh. I’m the one who made those decisions and already figured out how difficult it is to paint directly from the photos. (Is this fuzzy thinking a result of bashing my head on one of the tail ends of the scaffolding boards on Saturday??)You may not be able to tell, but I removed the halo from Banjo Guy.Because of camera distortion, it appears as if I am over halfway down the wall on the mountain tops. I can assure you that I am not halfway yet – you can see a bit of a seam just beyond where I stopped today – that is half! (see? cameras DO lie!!)