Sunday, December 23, 2007


Well, I have been trying to feel motivated to do something this weekend. I started working on two paintings that I wanted to make three dimensional using modeling paste. It was basically a disaster, with the cat stepping in the modeling paste / paint mixture, then walking around the living room, me constantly dropping the paintings face-down on the carpet, and more lovely incidents.

So.... I broke out the markers and made some silly drawings.

I call this one [above], "Applying to Graduate School." Hehe. I kind of really wanted to draw something with a pimple.

Then I thought how much I liked to draw noses, I thought of making a nose a thorn on a flower. I'm pretty impressed with my leaves, as I wasn't looking at anything when I drew them, so I am glad they actually look like leaves. I'm thinking of doing more drawings like this, with weird cartoon faces appearing in places on plants. Or maybe not just faces.... hmm...

Then, after a failed drawing, I went back to magazine ads, and drew this. I don't know why my people always look like they are starving. It could be because I emphasize lips and cheekbones. But I like cheekbones. I guess it's kind of how Gary Larson's people always look obese. It's just how it happens. I wonder what that says about me.

A big part of me wants to make art that I can sell, or put in a show. But another part of me just wants to watch CSI.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Abstract Painting

Here's my sample painting for my abstract painting class:

I used the same still life as I did for the life drawing sample. I kind of added some things in the background.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Life Drawing

One of the classes I'll be teaching in January will be a "Life Drawing" class. It's a basic drawing class, with fun still lifes that I'll provide (yay junk shops selling fun-shaped junk, perfect for still lifes). I had to make a thumbnail to give to the studio so they can advertise my class. I did a small drawing tonight while waiting for my friend to do the weather on the local news.

It's not amazing, but it gets the point across. I just ran around the apartment, picking things up: a vase, a bottle of wine, a pitcher and an avocado. (I love avocados) I was just using pencil on paper and it took about half an hour. The fun thing about using pencil is that it gets all over the side of your hand while you draw, which gives the shape a gray color that you can erase away, making the highlights. If only I could find my conte crayon, then I could really make some fun highlights, but I couldn't find my red conte crayon and I didn't want to use materials that I wouldn't ask the students to bring to class.

I'll be using the same still life as the basis for my thumbnail for my abstract painting class, "Abstract Painting I." I know, super imaginative names. That one is coming up when I finish it.

The Art Doesn't Stop Here

I think the mural may have kick-started my art-making. I recently bought some canvases, paper, and other supplies to keep painting. I'll be volunteering at the children's hospital leading art activities with the patients and I'll be teaching art classes in a studio about 40 minutes away. Once the semester starts, I'll be taking a ceramics class at the art school in one of the galleries near me.

I'm going to keep posting with pictures of new projects. I have about three weeks until the semester starts, so I am hoping to crank out some more work during that time. I want to start selling some of my work on, at craft shows and in cafes. SO.... I will be busy!


I realized I neglected to thank some important people in my final post about the mural project.

First of all, thank you to the store that hired me! I'm not posting their name, and probably they won't find this, but that's ok. Thank you!

Thank you to the people who helped paint - BagelLad and HillelLady!

And finally.... A gigantic thank you to my wonderful boyfriend, JewishGuy, without whom I could not have done this at all. He helped paint, he ran errands, he brought my lunch, he did it all. Basically, I wouldn't have been able to finish if he hadn't supported me so much. Thank you SO much, JewishGuy!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's Over


Today I was kind of racing against the clock, but then I ended up waiting around for two hours (waiting during a staff meeting and during other meetings), so I could have taken more time. BUT, I was emotionally done with it, anyway. I was ready to not be painting anymore.

The pictures.

This whole building took less time than the top of the building around the mirror

Doesn't appear to be different, I just did the sky

Building over the mirror


Three buildings in one shot

Three buildings the other way (plus some employees)

I hope they're clear enough, because they are the only pictures I have and they're the ones I'll be using to put in my portfolio for grad school. Well, these and the ones from yesterday.

Wow I am tired.

I also got a jacket. I didn't want to accept payment in product, but I felt like I couldn't sit and stare at their clothes for a week and not get anything. It wasn't so much out of the payment...

I just made a professional-looking invoice on Pages (yay mac programs) and sent it to them. I probably won't see the money until I get home from my traveling.

Wow, I can't believe it's over. And that I am leaving tomorrow. And how much work I have to do tonight, and I'm playing online and updating my blog.

PS, this blog isn't over because the mural project is over. Assuming I do more art, I will be posting it here :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lessons Learned & Rushing

I finished the front column and the back of the middle column:

Back of front column

Back of front column

Back of back column

Back of back column (close up)

Front of front column

I learned a few lessons today.

Lesson #1: Communication is really important, and it's really up to me to make sure that everything is being communicated properly. I wasn't asking enough questions or anticipating questions well enough. For example, today, at least two people came up to me asking when I'd be done with the front and middle columns. They need to put their shelves up already and work on the poster rack. I thought it would be all right if I finished those tomorrow morning, but they informed me today that they needed to be done ASAP. I should have asked at the beginning, before I started painting, what the timeline would look like. Instead, I just assumed that I had to be done by Thursday, period. Also, I think that people just like to know what's going on, especially if they are investing money in the project.

Lesson #2: Take inventory before leaving every night. Yesterday I left without looking at what supplies I had left, assuming that I had overbought everything and I would be fine until the end of the project. Well, I ran out of matte medium today, which is probably the single most important painting item I have. Medium helps lower the viscosity of the paint so that it spreads better and so that I can use less. Medium costs $20 a tub, which is about 1/2 gallon, whereas paint costs $10-20 for a 50oz tube. I managed to finish the sky on the front and middle columns, but then I had to leave because I had run out of medium. I was planning on finishing the entire middle column today, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Today was my longest work day on this project and my feet are killing me. Also, my left leg hurts. I realized today that I use my left leg on the ladder for all of the going-up and going-down grunt work. I tried to switch it up but I almost fell off. Poor leg.

One more day!

The Difficult Day

Today was the difficult day. I'm sure there is always a difficult day in a process like this. I'm sure if the process were longer there would be more difficult days, and I'm hoping that this was the only one (as I only have two more days).

Remember my Goal Wall plan? With the contact paper stencil? Well, I should have planned more thoroughly and invested in a proper knife, because cutting with a pocket knife just doesn't do it. Obviously, the lines I made were jagged, although they looked straight to the naked eye. And obviously, I didn't have too much time to test it out, so I just threw it on the wall with no research or testing. This means it didn't go exactly as planned.

Well, the stencil worked. It came out legibly. But it was very splotchy and the lines were all jagged and bumpy. I spent two hours fixing it. And because I'm not especially good at making straight lines by hand (hence the stencil idea), I ended up with straighter but still kind of bumpy lines. Not jagged, just not as perfect as I'd want them to be. So I put in some shading, which helps make the lines look straighter, and did some really subtle things with the paint to help make everything pop a little more and look nicer. This is the result:

Not bad. Closer up:

The last "L" in particular was the worst. I couldn't position the ladder correctly (there were lots of heavy boxes right under where I needed to work), so I was stretching pretty far, plus that was where the stencil was especially bad, so I was trying to cover up a ton of splotches.

However, it looks fine from a distance, and unless you are really inspecting it, you won't notice that it's a little imperfect. And anyway, they wanted me to paint the letters on. They could have easily bought letters that you rub onto the wall, or made a banner on the computer. But instead they wanted me to hand-paint it on, so you get the human-touch, right? Right?

So, spending two hours on something I'd spend 45 minutes on kind of put me in a bad mood. Not a bad mood but not a good mood. I started working on the buildings again, but I was getting frustrated, and I was tired and my feet and back hurt from standing and stretching on the ladder for the "Goal Wall." Despite all of this, I was able to finish the building on the back column and the building on the front of the front column:

Tomorrow I am hoping to be there all day. I wasn't there all day today because I was taking pictures of my other work for my portfolio that I need to put together for grad school. Oops, I have a life outside of the mural?

My goals for tomorrow: Finish both pink-based buildings. The back of the back column and the front of the middle column. If I have time, I'll finish the entire middle column, including the back. Thursday I will do both green buildings (or one, if I do one tomorrow) and the sky on all of the columns, and then I am done, done, done.

It feels like it's been a long time, doesn't it? Maybe because I post three times a day.

Monday, December 3, 2007

You're not gonna make it

Apparently they are just opening the store on Friday - the opening party is the Friday after. So even if I delayed my flight, I won't be able to be at the party, and neither will JewishGuy, who could also represent me and my skizills. So! I just have to give them my card and hope that they will either 1) talk me up and hand out my card at the party; or 2) at least hand out my card to people who ask about the paintings.

I have mixed feelings about this. I want to be at the party because I want to be able to talk to people about my work and maybe get some more gigs. It's not that I don't trust them to give out my card, but I know there will be a lot of other things on their minds that night.

Well, in any case, this has been a lot of fun, a learning experience, some extra money and my work will still be in my portfolio for grad school.

It's All Coming Together

Today, JewishGuy helped finish the last bits of base coat and I was able to start the first part of the final coloring.


Front of back column

Side of back column

Back of back column

Back of front column

Back of front column again

Painted over the stencil :)

Front of front column - FINALLY


The bottom half of the front of the back column is what I really worked on today. I spent probably an hour and a half on it. I think the back column is going to take 6 hours, total. The other columns won't take as long because there isn't as much space on them to paint.

I kind of went a little crazy on the paint-buying today at the art store. What can I say? I LOVE PAINT. But even with the ridiculous amount I paid for all of the paint (at least $10 a tube, and I can't remember how many tubes I bought but it was over 12), I am running very much under budget. So I'm going to keep the paint, since I'll be teaching painting classes next semester. Maybe this will also encourage me to do more painting in general - maybe I'll have enough for a show!

(This is a lot of hopeful thinking).

Anyway, I am super pleased with the progress. I really feel like the bottom half of the back column looks exactly like the sketch, which is how I want it to look.

Here, let's compare:

Column in real life

Column in sketch



Sunday, December 2, 2007

With a little help from my friends

A big thank you to JewishGuy, HillelLady and BagelLad! Look at all of the progress made today in 4 hours:

Back of front column

Side of back column

Front of back column (plus smiley face on the mirror - or is it a mummy?)

Side of back column

Back of back column

Back of front column

Front of back column

Back of back column

Side of back column

Amazing. The base coat of paint is almost done!

A New Baby

I'm pretty proud of it, as it took a while to put together and I kind of messed up my finger cutting it. I thought we had a good knife, but it ended up being crap. So I used a pocket knife. Bah.

It's 18x60". Today I am going to try to put it on the wall without punching a hole through the drywall - I have a feeling it's going to be more annoying to put it up than I can imagine. The contact paper is all curly and kind of flimsy. I'm looking forward to it.

Also, another new development, today my jeans gave birth to a knee:

I've had these jeans for about 4 years. This summer I realized that they were wearing thin and one day soon a hole would appear. I don't think I've worn them since the summer because they just aren't nice enough to wear in general anymore. But for painting and art stuff, they are perfect. Now, even more perfect than before.

Commenting on posts

I recently realized that the default setting for this blog was to block anyone but Blogger account holders from commenting. It's fixed now. If you feel the urge to comment, please do :) :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I can't use these fonts because they are fonts that someone else created. However, I am trying to use them as inspiration for the lettering that I have to do on the back wall. They're paying me in proportion to the amount that I am being paid for the rest of the job, which is good. They offered to pay in product, which is cool, but I need money more than I need more stuff.

(I like the one on the bottom left the best)

My plan for the lettering is simple. It sounds complicated, or at least other people have said it sounds complicated, but it's just a lot of simple steps. Here's another list courtesy of my compulsive list-making need.

  1. Draw the lettering to scale on a sheet of paper. I want the letters to be 18x60", so I have to scale it down to about 18%. That means 3.24" x 10.8".
  2. Go to the copy center and blow up the drawing to poster size - IE: 18x60" (555%)
  3. Tape this poster to contact paper that's at least 18x60"
  4. Cut the design out of the contact paper.
  5. Attach the contact paper to the wall. (This will be complicated because I will have to be on a ladder)
  6. Paint over the contact paper.
  7. When dry, pull the contact paper off of the wall and tada!

I came up with the idea while driving home yesterday from the store. I thought about how annoying it is that I can't find a projector, and how a project would be the right thing for the job. And then I thought about how hard it will be to draw lettering on a white wall, before it's painted, without leaving horrible eraser marks all over the wall. Then I thought about cutting a stencil out of paper, but this would still require painting by hand, and that high up it will be difficult to make a straight line. You can't just paint over a stencil you've taped onto the wall because the paint will seep under the paper and look awful.

Then I thought of a contact paper stencil! It's perfect. It's like when you put painter's tape down to keep paint off of the trim. I know I am not the first person to think of it, but I was excited because I thought of it before I tried using another, more difficult method.

Tomorrow morning, I will be drawing, enlarging and cutting. Tomorrow afternoon, I bring my army of helpers to the store to work on the columns inside the store while I work on the letters in the back. I think by tomorrow the letters will be done and the base coat on all of the columns will be finished. It's possible just the bottom half will be done of every column, but that's all right - I'd still be on schedule. Then I will have four days to finish everything. I could spend one day on each column and then one day finishing up.

Begin Painting ....... now. Right now.

I started painting today! How exciting.

I think they look all right already, even though this is just the base coat.

I will write more later! Chinese food and movie yay!
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