Friday, May 29, 2009

A Mural in 7 Days...


It was only a few weeks ago that I told you about my newest project: a 30 x 50 foot mural, at 4337 Park Heights Avenue, here in Baltimore. At this point, the mural has 7 days worth of work on it. i figured this would be as good a time as any to take you through the progress and let you see how a mural is done (well, how MY murals are done). If you've never embarked on something this big, I think it could seem like a pretty daunting task... but like anything else, it's just one step at a time! Here are those steps: this is what the wall looked like to start with... then the scaffold company comes along and puts up a scaffold for me to maneuver around on. on the first day of work, i'll need to prime the whole wall; this is a coat of essentially the same kind of gesso you'd cover a canvas with before you paint--- it fills in all the little holes and pits and puts a flat coat over the surface, which, in theory, allows the paint to stay on the surface and not get soaked in to the brick... on the 2nd day, i sketch out the basic shapes of the image-- no details yet, but just enough information to be able to lay in flat color. i've premixed most of the colors i'll need, so i can just roll those into the spaces i've drawn out; it's like a giant color by number! a lot of people have asked how i figure out where to start the drawing or how to plot it out on the wall. well, there's probably an easier way, but basically, i take the sketch and lay it over the photograph of the building in photoshop; i re-scale the image until it lines up. Then with the help of a little basic math, i make a scale, and figure out how many inches on my scaled down drawing equal how many feet on the actual building. I can use the scaffolding itself to figure out how many feet tall or how many bricks tall the spaces between levels of scaffolding are and fold my drawing into rows that correspond to each level of scaffold. After that, i just climb up and use a light colored paint; i don't hesitate much or worry too much--- i just pick a curve or a line and put it on the wall... the rest just falls into place, one level at a time. If there are any unclean lines or things that dont connect, i can clean them up as i paint... 3rd day: more flat color... 4th day: yet more flat color (and starting to correct some of my drawing)... 5th day: more flat color, more drawing correction and getting ready to put the main background color in (its a very pale blue)... 6th day: this is what it looks like now. There are selected bricks that i've painted over with a slightly different color blue, so the surface will have a little more depth and "shimmer" from a distance... ...next week (barring bad weather) i'll start the details; with all the flat colors laid in and the background color having corrected all of the shapes, i'm ready to give my figures faces and to paint in the scenery & landscapes that will fill the lower halves of their bodies. After that, it's just a matter of adding a few details, outlining the figures and correcting any drips or color oddities. And then, i seal it. So, keep your fingers crossed for good weather and good muscle health (these murals aren't easy on the back and bones!). xo, danamarie

4 comments:

lcbrown said...

OMG - Wow, I always wondered how the large building murals were done. Incredible work!

Karen said...

Dana, that is AMAZING! I think it's cool that the figures remind me of Knitimals!

Nancy said...

It's looking great! I love to see the progress mapped out like that:)

Carly said...

This is so cool to see. I'm a big fan of progress photos, yet I hardly ever do them myself. Thanks, Dana!