Challenging Indoor Mural #9

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Murals | 4 Comments

Two days of painting left. Yippee Skippee! I’ll have this finished when Mr. Art Patron returns from his vacation, and he will be happy. I hope he’s happy – that’s the point of all this work.


Lake Kaweah, between Three Rivers and Lemon Cove, California

After a nice drive down the hill, I arrived at Visalia Granite with hope in my heart and a high degree of enthusiasm and optimism. After looking it over, I wondered if I could complete it in one day. . . think, think, think.

Enough thinking. Start painting! Focus, focus, paint, paint, paint.




As seen from Mr. Art Patron’s office. Isn’t that flooring perfect with the mural colors?

Let’s get closer.


That pesky pillar looks best when viewed straight on, in particular when viewed from Mr. Art Patron’s chair. ūüėé

Here is the completed right 6 feet.


That pesky pillar as seen from the side. Not only does it stick out, it slants.


Here is the completed left eleven feet. Nice without that blue masking tape, eh?



If you visit Visalia Granite and Marble Works, this is the view of the mural that you will have from the conference room. Pretty neat, eh? That Art Patron has good taste – I’d recommend his business to anyone needing a headstone or monument.

Welcome home, Ron! I LOVED painting this for you.

Challenging Indoor Mural #8

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Murals | No Comments

This was Pillar Day. Just do it. Figure it out and paint the thing.

Hmmmm, what is wrong with this road and these rocks? Why do they look like a pile of rocks rather than cobblestones?



Let’s figure this out. . . procrastinating? Me? Why do you ask? This HAS to be figured out sooner or later. Sooner is better than later, isn’t it?


This doesn’t appear to be any better. Guess I’ll ignore this for awhile and just paint.

Why is it that every single time I do a mural that I have to learn all over again? It must be because there is too much time between murals and then I forget.

The big lesson is to block things in. Fill the giant spaces with color, get the shapes and the color approximate, and then do the detail later.


This isn’t too much to do. I can do this. Not sure about that pillar. Finally I decided to just paint the sides a solid color and deal with the face of it later. (We’ll worry about that later, Scarlett.)


There. blocked in. Sides painted. Ready for the next day’s painting session when perhaps I’ll have a stroke of brilliance about the pillar and the pile of rocks.


Yep, this is going to work. (Keep talking positively to yourself and pretty soon it will be true.)



This is how it looks when facing the pillar straight on. Maybe I can blend it into the wall beyond on the left.

Challenging Indoor Mural Update

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Murals, Three Rivers | No Comments

Not exactly a mural update, but an invitation. Come back on Thursday, January 29 to see what happens to the mural!

Meanwhile, contemplate Lake Kaweah as it looked on one of my morning commutes.


Lake Kaweah, between Three Rivers and Lemon Cove, California

See you on Thursday!

Challenging Indoor Mural, #7

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Murals | No Comments

This is entry #7, but documents Day #5 of painting.

I had 2 days away Рone to teach drawing lessons, a weekly occurrence, and the other to follow an AT&T technician around while he sorted out numerous internet problems. (Terrible company, fantastic service technicians.) This meant I need a little thinking time to plan my next steps after getting reacquainted with the project.

Step One: document how it looks at the beginning of the day:

Hmm, I wonder if I can finish everything south of the pillar today. Feels ambitious, but if one¬†sets a high goal, one¬†might reach¬†it. ¬†(“One” would be me.)



Alrighty, then, let’s hit the wall.


First stop to observe. Getting that fiddly background stuff in isn’t too bad. It is fun. I love architectural details, whether in oil paint, mural paint, and most especially in pencil (HEY! SPEAKING OF PENCIL,¬†THE CABINS OF WILSONIA¬†IS NOW ON AMAZON!)

I can do better. As I study the mural from a little ways back, I decide the pillar that will be painted on the metal beam (beam? pillar? post?) will look too wide from Mr. Art Patron’s¬†chair. So, I taped off where it should go, and stretched the buildings and sky to fill the added inch or two. Since I premixed a jar of sky color, this wasn’t difficult to pull¬†together.

Then, I blocked in the rest of this lower right corner with large patches of color so I would know where to paint which textures.



Whoa. Getting too dark to see. I moved all the jars of paint and other stuff out of the way (but left the tarp – wait until we see it with the floor, which is an excellent color with the mural.)

Nice. Now I want to see it through the conference room window.


What a cool view!

I have 3 painting days before Mr. Art Patron returns from his vacation. This challenging indoor mural most likely will not be finished, but it will be close! Nothing like a deadline to keep¬†pushing me ahead. Mr. Art Patron didn’t really expect it to be finished – just expressed the desire. Who can blame him? He has a beautiful office and a great business, and a paint spattered middle-aged woman on a ladder listening to Dave Ramsey or Michael Hyatt on her paint spattered laptop probably isn’t a real draw for business.

Challenging Mural, #6

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Murals | 6 Comments

Two days off, couldn’t remember where I finished. Good thing I had a list. Gave me peace of mind as I commuted down the hill.

I ignored the list and looked at the wall. Time to paint those all-important pillars. First, tape off the sky to protect it from pillar paint, which is about to take place.


Nah, let’s procrastinate while we allow our courage to build for such a monumentally important part of this challenging indoor mural.


I love detail – it is so satisfying to go from mediocre to good, and from good to great, and from great to “whoa! who did that?” (nope, not telling where I think this work falls into that hierarchy)

I painted about 15 minutes and then realized I couldn’t see any more and it was quitting time. Isn’t it interesting how when work is a struggle, a day can seem like 1000 years versus how 1000 years can feel like a mere day when the work is flowing?


Now that is peculiar. The work from the left side of the mural is reflecting on the right hand door so much that we cannot see what is through the glass.

Challenging Mural #5

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 in Murals | No Comments


I knew this was rough but felt very unsure about how to handle it. Lying awake at night didn’t solve anything.

The problem is that if I can’t see if, I can’t paint it. It has to be made up. It is easier to make up stuff when it is familiar stuff.

Having never visited Rome, this is not familiar stuff.

So, I opened some new jars of paint to contemplate the colors.


WOW! These look beautiful and fun to try. After years of nothing but the primary colors, getting jars of premixed colors looks like a party to me.

Okay, I can do this thing. I know it is a mess in the photo. I know it will be hard. Do it anyway.


Looking better.

I painted another 97 hours and then it was afternoon break time. It is good to get some distance, and this is what I saw looking through the conference room window.


And this is how it looked when I left for the day.


I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. . .

Challenging Mural, #4

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Murals | No Comments

How about that for a title? Installment #4 is actually part 2 of day 2.

Whatevs. I want to show you how the paint goes on, in terms of what order things get painted. Yeah, yeah, I’m stretching it out in a concession to people’s short attention spans. Don’t want to fall into the TLDR* category.

After the pediment was finished, at least as finished as it can be until it is time to evaluate the entire mural, then I began the lower part of the background. (The upper part is the sky. Duh.)


I started blocking things in and it was a relief to paint standing on the floor. In spite of not having much room to step back and see, it is easier than climbing up and down off a ladder. (Not complaining, just explaining.)

Got so happy to be able to reach that I started too low. See that little piece of tape off to the far left edge? I added that after I couldn’t figure out why things weren’t fitting. Counted wrong again!


Okay, now the growies are up where they belong and the other parts are getting blocked in. “Blocked in” is Artspeak for loose rough blobs that approximate what they will become when more care is taken.

*Too Long Didn’t Read

Challenging Mural, Day Two

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in General, Murals | No Comments

Perhaps I should refer to each installation of this indoor mural story as “chapters”. However, I might lose count doing it this way. (If you read the first installment, you can see that I don’t count all that accurately.)

Wow, the internet is so fast at Visalia Granite that I am able to actually listen to some podcasts while I paint. What fun! (I called the phone company from home to ask what speed I am paying for. It was 3 units of measurement. I tested the speed and learned that we are receiving about 1.1 units of measurement. I tested the speed at Visalia Granite and it is ELEVEN units of who-knows-what-measurement!! ELEVEN!!)


On Day 2 I began by taping the columns so I could paint around them. I thought I’d work on the uppermost thing (a pediment, perhaps?) for an hour or so, and then start on the background.


FOUR HOURS later, I was finally¬†off the 2 ladders, temporarily finished with¬†the pediment. “Temporarily”, because as other parts get painted in, I’ll find ways to improve what was first painted.


In anticipation of painting an indoor mural, I ordered some appropriate premixed colors without regard to their lightfastness. When I paint outdoor murals, I only work from the most lightfast primary colors available and then mix my own colors as I paint.

I’ve only¬†opened one of those jars of new paint yet because all I’m able to achieve the colors I want using ones I mixed from previous jobs.

It turns out that Roman ruins in the late afternoon sunshine are quite similar to Sequoia trees. How convenient.

In case you are wondering, I opened yellow ochre out of curiosity. Turns out to be a perfect match for one of my painting rags. (What a thrill to my little color junkie heart.)

Challenging Mural, Day One, Part 2

Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in Murals | 4 Comments

What a dumb title. . . but you do get the idea that I am continuing to show and tell you about the progress of the indoor mural I am painting at Visalia Granite, yes?

Well, oops. Measure twice, cut once. . . count twice, tape once. So obvious an error!

I retaped and began redrawing, just enough visual boundaries so that I wouldn’t waste time painting more sky than necessary.


Kind of a messy process to draw with blue chalk. I finally got the bright idea to drop a plumb line for the center of the columns and then just build around them with sky, closer than necessary so the columns can be painted over the top.


What am I going to do with that troublesome beam? Ignore it for now.


I got pretty excited about the sky and had to go get a few people who work at Visalia Granite to come admire the first few clouds.

You can see the upper photo taped to the wall is the thing I am painting. The lower one is the reference for the clouds that the Art Patron (well, what else shall I call him? “The Customer” doesn’t have enough dignity for this job.) requested. OF COURSE the light is coming from the wrong direction in the cloud photo. Always something to challenge my abilities, to put a little edge onto what should be a simple task.

Isn’t this cool?



Challenging Mural, Day One

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Murals | 4 Comments

It was hard to sleep the night before I began because of excitement. I thought through all the beginning steps so that I wouldn’t stand in front of the blank wall and spin in circles.

  1. haul in my equipment and supplies
  2. lay out the tarps
  3. tape the edges
  4. draw the mural
  5. paint the sky


This is how the wall looked when I arrived.


It is 17′ wide, and I am painting to 10′ high.

Every job has its challenges, both big and small.

The small challenges:

  1. The masking tape wouldn’t tear cleanly.
  2. The ladder was too short.
  3. The tarp was too small.

Every job has its benefits:

  1. a controlled environment – wow, central heat!
  2. a ladder (a little short but okay-ish) and a tarp (a little small but I can bring another one)
  3. really nice people
  4.  Fast internet access!
  5. excellent consistent light


Got it taped. Now, let’s start drawing.

Ahem. I taped it one line of blocks too high. It is supposed to be 15 blocks high and I taped at 16. No wonder the ladder was too short. Is my brain a large obstacle to accuracy or is it excitement that is the obstacle? Or perhaps working alone with Inspector Gadget, AKA Trail Guy?


See you tomorrow.