Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Graffiti gone, Painting Restored

I've already dumped my frustrations on Tagging in a previous post. It's clear, I'm sure. I hate it!

It was quite an experience working on the restoration of the painting underneath the Tagging. Finding, choosing, matching, buying the house paint to match, that was fun!

Paint swatches never really match the dried paint, so I supplemented the paint colors with my own acrylic colors and this worked really well.

Mimic-ing another artist's paint style was tricky and rewarding. The muralist had a very loose, watery style and since my work is so structured and bright and strong I found it really freeing. At the last minute I grabbed an old wide and pretty battered brush from my studio and thankfully I did because it was the perfect 'texture' brush for this impressionistic and loose feathery mural. Hoorah for impulses.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cleaning up Graffiti

I actually like Graffiti. You know the kind that is imaginative, colorful, has interesting characters or social commentary and is under a freeway perhaps.

Tagging though... this is not graffiti. This is immature. It's hardly creative.

A local restaurant has a three panel mural on their patio, which was recently tagged. Each panel had black spray writing across it. The owner of the restaurant asked me if I would clean it up and restore the painting underneath, and was it even possible?

I've never cleaned up spray paint, graffiti or any tags but felt so badly for the artwork the taggers defaced, I thought I'd give it a try.

I read up online on Graffiti clean up. So, my first purchase was Mineral Spirits. This did nothing.
Did some more reading, stopped at the local Orchard Supply and found a spray of Graffiti remover. I sprayed that on and used a nylon brush to scrub loose part of the tag, then I lifted it off with the power-washer. LOTS of scrubbing! Not much progress and I was sore! There had to be a better way.

I knew I needed a tougher and longer handled scrub brush, so visited the Ace Hardware in Los Gatos. They happened to have a spray can of something called Goop Off, Graffiti remover so I bought that too.

Now Goop Off WORKS! Spray that over the tag, use a scrub brush and move lightly in small circles over the tag then spray it with the power-washer... and it comes up pretty well.

Next up was the restoration of the painting underneath. Not that the restaurant has kept it in great condition, but it still needed touching up. I fixed up the sky with a mix of house paint and Liquitex acrylic to get the colors just right. Next up is to fix a bit of the greenery and finally, I'll varnish the entire thing!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Goodnight and farewell

I had a commission to recreate one of my Chalk Murals as an oil painting. The piece is called 'Goodnight Sun' and it was always one of my favorite murals. The original was 9'x12' and created for the San Rafael Italian Chalk Painting Festival.

So I was asked if I would paint it on canvas in oil, something I'd already planned on doing down the line, but this would certainly make it happen faster ;)

I still love the piece. My favorite bits are the hands coming from the penumbra, holding the blanket of stars. If this wasn't a commission it would definitely be in my bedroom! (So probably best I sold it!)

This was the first time too where a client is out of state! Usually clients come to my studio to pick up the work but this time I had to have it professionally packed and it was FedExed to New York City. Not a calming experience... I knew it was packed well and being sent by a reputable company but still, what if??? I was super nervous until I received an email from the client saying it arrived safely. Phew!

I will miss this painting. I love it. I think it has a good home now and I was sure to get it scanned before I sent it away. Now I can have giclee and greeting cards and who knows what else made out of it down the line. Farewell beautiful painting, I miss you already.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chalk Mural Interview

A friend found this for me. I remember the interview and know the people who run streetpainting.tv but I hadn't seen this version!

More from Sedona

I'm pretty pleased with my little paintings from Sedona. Thought best to put more up!

This was a morning only piece, we painted from 8:30-noon and then met at the instructor's Studio for a critique.

A snake slithered under a tree to the right of me and behind me was bus after bus dropping off tourists to take photos of Bell Rock (to the left of this formation.) Nothing like painting outdoors with the sound of a diesel engine roaring behind you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sedona in Plein Air

I've always loved Santa Fe and the red rocks of Bryce and Zion in Southern Utah. But I'd never been to Sedona, Arizona which seems the obvious hybrid of the art and southwest vibe of New Mexico and the natural, unearthly beauty of Utah.

That is how I found myself enrolled in a 5 day Plein Air painting in Sedona workshop through the Sedona Arts Center.

I'm glad my first visit to Sedona was to paint. Meeting in secluded rock canyons or in the early morning at the river, I know I SAW Sedona. The real Sedona. The town of Sedona, the hodge-podge of tacky T-Shirt shops and fake Native American homages or woo-woo-psychic crystal nonsense... that's was a complete let down. What a disservice to the beauty of the land. What an insult to the power and energy you can't help but be humbled by when you stand beneath that incredible blue sky.

Sadly, even the galleries were bad. Super disappointing - I might as well have been walking on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Tacky, irrelevant, print after Giclée after poorly painted half dressed Indian maiden. UGH.

Thankfully, I was with talented painters for the week, exploring the natural beauty and being challenged to do justice to what we encountered. It was a gift to myself to paint consecutively for 5 days, from 9-4. It was exercise!

I'm pleased with my work and inspired to tackle more. I painted what I saw and what I felt... I painted with rhythm and color, shapes and mood. I can't wait to frame my little Sedona paintings so I can remember the 'real' Sedona, not the commercial 'Disneyland on Patchouli' version.