I've always admired the concept of Illustration Friday, but never quite pulled off the planning and execution. On checking With a Twitter reminder that today was the last day for this week's topic: golden. I happened to have an image that fits. It is the result of playing around with the digital color of the acrylic painting below.
Ta Da! The big reveal with detail shots! Want to see the mural in person? Attend a Theater Schmeater show; they're terrific. Or attend the Belltown Art Walk on the second Friday of the month. (Gentlemen, you will need an escort because it's in the Ladies' room)
And that's how I make a mural. Thanks for following along.
My first idea was to have two figures on the side wall, Harlequin and Columbine who are often played as lovers.
As I read more about the characters I decided to create a group setting.
Final composition on the wall.
First color block in.
I am regretting Harlequin's pattern about now.
The Captain's golden suit is based on a 15th Century illustration found here. The red suit is Pantalone, rich and greedy. The white figure in back is Brighella, pugnacious and devious. And still having trouble with all those diamonds, I painted out Harlequin's arm.
New arm, add hair and beard. More layers to deepen colors.
Change beard color, add Brighella's mask and Pantalone's cape.
I had some concerns about the wall base coat when I realized that it was a semi-gloss. Generally, it is easy to paint on flat, satin and eggshell finishes; it gets tricky moving into semi-gloss and gloss. In those cases you would usually want lightly sand or prime first. As this wall had only been painted a week before, the paint was still soft and I decided not to prime.
Artists acrylics work well for indoor murals and go a surprisingly long way. You don't need the best grade. Student grade is fine. For most of the colors I went with Amsterdam, recommended to me by Artist & Craftsman Supply. The colors went on smoothly but required more than one coat.
They also recommended Daler Rowney graduate acrylic for the white. It's a big jar. It has a sticky consistency that dries fast. It can't be reworked. You have to let it dry and then lay down another layer. I did like the texture it created but I might go with Amsterdam white for the next mural.
azo yellow deep
Naples yellow red
permanent blue violet
Liquid Metal blue
Finding the right kind of pencil to draw on the wall with took some trial and error. You want something that is water based so it will dissolve into the acrylics.
Watercolor pencil seemed like the right choice and that is what I used for the grid. It didn't work well for the figures. When I used it wet, it skipped. When I used it dry, the tip left an impression in the still-soft paint. It did wash off easily. Regular graphite pencil also left a mark in the paint and didn't wash off.
Shopping for more paint colors, I laid out my problem at A & C. The clerk suggested Stabilo All which is water based and writes on paper, glass, plastic and metal. I bought orange and blue. I first used orange thinking it would be lighter and wash off more easily than blue.
Then I saw a warning on the Stabilo website that some of the colors, including orange, could leave a stain. Sure enough, it does not wash off completely. It is still visible in the finished mural especially around Harlequin's head, which I redrew several times. I could have painted over it with the wall color but I like to see process in other artists' work.
Pulcinella came to be characterized by white baggy clothing and a sugar loaf hat. He is either stupid pretending to be crafty or crafty pretending to be stupid. Punch in the Punch and Judy pantomimes is descended from Pulcinella, as is Pierrot.
I developed the sketch to have The Doctor and Pulcinella facing each other. The sketch is 2 squares by 5 squares so the figure on the wall is 2 feet by 5 feet.
The color sketches are taped on the wall for reference. I roughed in the main colors on The Doctor and my daughter, Jessamyn Bateman-Iino, roughed in Pulcinella's colors. This consists of putting down the basic colors with little detail work. The Doctor's plague mask is visible on the left.
This is the original Doctor. He has many costumes and masks. This is the Plague Doctor's mask. Supposedly, doctors wore masks with long beaks that they stuffed with herbs thought to repel the plague.
Finished colored sketch with squares. This is a way to transfer images. Squares are drawn on the sketch and on the wall. In this case the squares are 2" and the ones on the wall are 12". Whatever is in each square is copied to its corresponding square on the wall.
Basic painting done, still needs some details. The Doctor lost his cane and his arm is covered by a cape. The cane wasn't working and anytime you can eliminate a complicated thing like a hand, do it.
Why the tiny, tiny feet? Because they are cute and funny.