Today in The New York Times, there is a photo spread of new businesses in the Third Ward of Milwaukee. And lo and behold, there’s my painting, right there in the paper. A link to the photo essay is here. Thanks, universe.
Sorry I didn’t post the last few days; I finished my work in Milwaukee much like a fireworks finale. I worked over 135 hours in my two weeks I was there, and it was amazing. And I finished everything I told them I would finish! Not that I would slack on my duties, but I did have a back-up plan in the event I couldn’t get it all done. Pictured is the last mural I made, a fairly simple 6′ x 4′ sign painting that had to look a bit aged. Again, it’s a shitty photo, but oh well.
The last few days of my trip, I made 20 or so drawings for various projects. Some will go on t-shirts, some are for the bathroom signage (step-through Dutch bike for women; flat-bar Dutch bike for men), and some are for a bicycle map of the city. For the map, I drew Milwaukee landmarks and those images will be integrated into the map. Then there are other drawings I made for the labels of some yet-to-be-imported beers. Those will be revealed later this summer. So there was a lot of drawing! I signed the rights away to these drawings so I can’t share the specifics of each work, but here are some vague group photos of the drawings:
Firstly, Happy Mother’s Day. I had a delightful morning Polish breakfast with Misia’s mom, and an equally delightful time with my mom and grandma at the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Jesus, could that guy draw. What I really loved the most was how thorough he was, as well as not being afraid to change or edit his work. I think he had an artist’s understanding that things are never finished; we simply choose to stop working on things after a time.
Here is the drawing I made on which I am basing mural number two:
It took me a long time to compose this image, but it was fun to be given specific directions for the composition: dudes on bikes, front of a market, old timey streets, eating and drinking, etc. But I like a fun task. There’s a lot of information in this mural and therefore might take me a little bit longer than the last one, but that’s just fine by me. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
The problem with the room I’m painting in is that I cannot get a decent photograph of my work. I spent 12 hours painting this mural today, and I don’t know that it looks much different from yesterday’s post. There’s terrible lighting for a camera, but terrific natural light for painting. Please trust me when I say this will be done tomorrow, when I will also begin work on mural number two. Progress!
Well, she’s all finished. I made the final edits today, signed my name, and packed up my things. I’m happy with how the paintings on this trip worked out. I didn’t have to rush things or cut any corners. I just kept my head down and kept working.
Tomorrow I’m off to DC to meet up with Misia and Meg. I forgot to pack anything but painting clothes. Oh well.
Thanks to all of you who watched the progress of these murals! Go Bucks!
I’m closing in on the home stretch of this mural. I had a lot of fun painting today. Since I spent yesterday placing the size of the image in grey paint, today was just an easy breezy, fun timey painting day. To have fun with the drawing of the image like this is why I like to do murals. And I really like it in this greyscale. It feels like I’m making an eight foot tall comic book.
The muscles in my fingers are sore. And my arms and back too. I stretch throughout the day, but I think I hold my body really rigid while I’m working, the way you do sometimes when you’re concentrating hard. But it’s a good sore. An honest sore. The soreness of farmers and field workers. And I’m part of that honest work, me with the naked bicyclist painting.
So today I started with the lady on the bike, affectionately named Wanda Chrome. The first thing I did was to clamp the boards onto two ladders. I began to sketch out the image with a pencil, but the lines were so hard to see on the red paint. Instead, I used tape to establish the angles and proportions of Wanda, and then I sketched the lines in paint. Sign painter’s paint is really unforgiving, so I had to be pretty sure of my lines. I used my Jedi mind force and forged ahead.
The second picture shows how I left things today. I’ll be doing this painting in greyscale, a fancy way of saying black and white. I don’t normally do something like this, but I thought it will only help me tomorrow when I continue. Plus, the grey paint acts as a first layer for the Wanda portion of the mural.
So in the next two days, I have to finish Wanda and add three words of text to the mural. And then it will be completo! I just hope all goes as planned, because screwing up sucks.
Today was all about the lettering, which takes a long time. I spent last night doing all the math to scale the letters to the size of the sign. I never thought I’d have to use algebraic principles past the tenth grade, but here I am, finding proportions as an aspect of my chosen career.
The first picture shows my prep for the letters. I rarely do this sort of thing, but this was a font I haven’t really ever painted. I needed to map out the proper width of each letter respective to the width of the wood. I used a draftsman tape as a guide. Then I drew out the letters, painted two coats of white lettering paint and then piped it in black.
Fun fact: I painted the letters upside down. Coming from the fine art spectrum of painting, it’s easier for me to see letters as shapes, rather than as letters. It helps me to look at them objectively, as symbols in relation to other symbols.
Tomorrow: naked chicks on bikes.