Monday, March 10, 2014

Mural Progress - Second Week of Painting

Only the second week into it and I am wondering what I've gotten myself into. I like how things are coming but am starting to realize how long it is going to take to fully realize this project. I guess it gives me something to post about; which is more than I could say for the past six months.  
The setup and paint mixing is the most daunting part for me. I am color-blind so I have to be careful and I have my daughter help me match colors from week to week. It also means I need to be more rigorous with cleaning and switching out brushes so that the paints don't start to meld together.
I finished the first coat on the east wall and have started to add a little more detail. I don't want to get to far along before starting the other waslls because I don't want the walls to look too different from one another.
My portable scaffolding is coming in handy again but I think I may need to do something about the lighting and figure out a better way to hold the photos I am painting from. It is a little aggravating at the moment.
All in all, I am happy with the progress and wish I could do more than just paint on the weekends but the set up and clean up take so long that it precludes me from painting during the week. I guess I'll just have to be patient.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Starting the Mural

Back in 2008, I had an idea that I would paint a mural in the dining room, above the high dado, like a frieze. I even did a little Photoshop image of what it might look like. In 2011, we finished the plaster work, repainting and refinishing the woodwork in the rooms. Last year, we added in beam lighting. Since 2011, that area below the ceiling has remained white and has been the subject of conversation for anyone visiting. 

A couple weeks ago, I figured it was about time that I started on that mural. I laid out a photograph I took of the DesPlaines River, in River Forest, Illinois. It is a beautiful spot nearby and seemed appropriate for the location. I scaled it to fit the area and then drew a grid over the image to act as a guide for my painting. 

I drew another grid on the wall to correspond to the one on the image. The image is half the size of the actual painting. The wall was prepped with two coats of primer prior to laying out the grid.  
Yesterday, I finally started painting. I began with a turpentine wash of yellow and brown to outline the lightest and darkest parts of the painting on the east wall of the dining room. It is all being done free-hand by looking at the image so that it has as natural an appearance as possible. Though I went to art school, I've never attempted anything quite like this so I am a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.  

After completing the initial outline on the wall, I began a second layer of roughly filling in broad color areas within the painting. There are roughly six colors that I am using for this. It is all in oils and being painted directly to the wall. Once I complete these two layers on all four walls, I will go back into the painting with additional colors and add more detail adn depth to the painting.  
In a weekend, I laid out one wall and painted a section that is roughly four feet long. Given the time it takes to mix paints and clean up, I won't be doing any painting during the week but I think I will use the next two weeks to lay out the grids and arrange the images on the other three walls.  
 So far I am pretty happy with things and the anxiousness about doing this project is beginning to dissipate. It is going to take a pretty long time to complete but I think it will be worth it. I have also started looking at how these types of paintings would have been treated in the past and am wondering if I should use some sort of varnish to add depth and protect the work. I haven't made my mind up either way on this yet.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

One of our recent purchases was a digital projector, so we could play movies outside. There are all sorts of options for exterior screens but I wanted one that I could put up and take down easily and that would fit within the pergola, along the back of the garage. I decided to make one to fit the bill. 

The process was pretty easy. For the screen, I used black-out cloth. We got ours online, through Amazon. They sell stuff for "Carl's Place". The other items I used were two ten-foot lengths of PVC, two 10' packages of heavy-duty velcro, two eye-bolts and two screws.

I mounted end of the screen directly to a piece of PVC with the velcro, making sure that I was mounting the back of the screen so that the front would roll over, concealing the joint.      
For the bottom, I put velcro at the other end of the screen and used the opposing side of velcro a few inches away to create a loop in the fabric for the second piece of PVC.
 I then drilled holes into the top PVC and bolted eye hooks to it. I then mounted the hooks and hung the screen. It was pretty easy.
A benefit of the velcro is that it allows me to adjust the tension on the screen to remove wrinkles. I did a pretty good job at this - until a group of nine-year olds that came over to watch the movie decided to play hide and seek around the screen. The screen looks like it was meant for the space and it worked out really well.
The kids that came over for a birthday party screening of Despicable Me enjoyed it quite a bit also. We are also happy with the projector. Right at sundown, the picture is very good but once there is no light in the sky, it looks fantastic. 
It is even good enough to do my blogging on. Ha. I didn't actually blog on it but it gave me the idea that it would be funny to work out there some night.