Last weekend I had the opportunity to paint a couple of murals in the Alleyway of Dreams near Main/Danforth in Toronto. The project coordinator, Mark Kerwin, said he was hoping to get a couple more murals in before the weather got too cold. There were a few spaces to choose from, including these two garage doors, which came with the stipulation that I work with the existing chameleon that had been started and abandoned by another artist. It seemed like a fun challenge to me, so I drew up a couple of designs around the project’s theme, pollination.
My hand started to cramp up before I even completed the first piece, but I was determined to finish what I started, so I forged ahead, switching hands periodically. It wasn’t until I had the the bee painting started that I realized I had a problem. I’d made a list of what colours I figured I’d need, and picked up enough that I wouldn’t run out. I forgot to grab more caps, and I failed to look closely at the labels on the cans. Two that I took for standard black turned out to be a horrible Anthracite Grey, which is thicker than black. It kept clogging up caps, and it took so much more effort to get any paint out at all, that with both hands quickly growing tired, I ended up having to hold the nozzle down with both hands in some cases. That was the colour I need to use for the outline, and a bunch of fine hairs. I was forced to simplify a little.
So I’m not as happy with the second piece, but live and learn, right? I know I’ll be working on those muscles over the winter. I’ll be needing them next spring – and I’m more excited than ever. I had given up hope in being able to paint a mural this summer. It was pure luck that MuralRoutes had that workshop, allowing me to ask them if they knew any place where I could practice. Now I feel like I can let go of bright and shining months with grace, and hunker down with my airbrush for the cold season. I have had an artful summer, and I’m satisfied with what I’ve learned, experienced and created.
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