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Giant Garden Mural - start to finish

Giant Garden Mural - start to finish

The most exciting project I got to work on in 2017 was my largest painting yet. Heirloom Flats, a brand new apartment/condo complex in Bloomfield, CT hired me to create a mural for their lobby. The theme of the building is "modern farmhouse style." Think fresh organic community garden, rescued and rehabbed barn wood, living wall of plants, a giant grill-zebo, and a library stocked full of cookbooks. My project was to make a plant/garden based mural that was bright and fresh and huge.

Start to finish, from brainstorming to install the project took 6 months to complete, I just finished installing yesterday, November 9. Let's take a look at the project:

Here are my original concept sketches - I wasn't sure if I wanted to do a long skinny work or something tall and massive (I went with tall and massive). But I had been thinking of just jam packed, overgrown with flowers and leaves and plants and vegetables. 

I settled on an ultimate size (15' wide x 8' tall) painted on unstretched raw canvas with acrylic paint. I paint on the floor, so I unrolled the canvas, which covered most of the studio floor and got to work:

To help gain inspiration as I worked, I decided to listen to Walden by Henry David Thoreau as I worked. Some stand out quotes that I wrote down that felt applicable to the project at hand:

Making the yellow soil express its summer thought in bean leaves and blossoms.
Not until we are completely lost or turned around do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of nature.
For I was rich, if not in money, in sunny hours and summer days and I spent them lavishly.
— Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Ok, now we are ready for install! It was suggested by a friend that I should hide things in the picture - his particular suggestion, an aardvark. There isn't one, or is there? 

It was a bear to install - it's so big! But in the end we finally got it up:

An Overabundance
Bloomfield Mural

Officially titled Overabundance. It is located in the lobby next to the elevators and the gym/exercise area of Heirloom Flats, located at 25 Jerome St, Bloomfield, CT. 

The challenge is complete!

Well I set out to do 3 paintings in 2 days- in the end I did 2 paintings in 3 days, not too shabby!

The lights are much brighter (Downtown), acrylic on canvas, 2014

The lights are much brighter (Downtown), acrylic on canvas, 2014

This first painting is of downtown New Britain, my hometown. This is the intersection of Main St, Chestnut St, and Arch St. The building on the left is Trinity-on-Main where I worked for several years. I really wanted to have very intense colors on this one, I worked a lot of wet into wet and went with a big Van Gogh influence.  New Britain's colors are red and gold so I definitely wanted to work those into the overall scheme. 

Krakow Jazz Cafe , 2014, acrylic on panel

Krakow Jazz Cafe, 2014, acrylic on panel

I have had this painting in the queue for some time. I did a drawing at a cafe in Market Square in Krakow Poland one afternoon while they were having a free jazz concert on a sunny day and have been meaning to paint it for past 2 years. I would say this painting is a little more Matisse inspired as I tried to play up patterning. The buildup of paint is also thinner than the other painting. I tried to be more aware of layering - for instance I painted the umbrellas on the right bright pink first and after it dried painted a think coat of white so that there would still be a little pink shading peeking through.

3 hours into challenge

3 hours into my 24 hour challenge and I have three paintings sketched out working on the blocking. The flat panel will be of a cafe on the main square in Krakow that has long been in my queue. The square will be downtown New Britain, CT (my hometown!) from an image I was developing last week for a different project. The third is the large horizontal - it will be a painting based on my time in the the south of France in Sept. It is the view of the bay and the mountains from the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap Ferrat (recognizeable as Michael Caine's house in the awesome movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) It is hard to recognize now- as this is the only painting being painted over an old failed painting. 


24 hour challenge painting 1.JPG

"Ah Venice" painting from start to finish

venice 2.jpg

5 steps to a complete painting! This painting is of  of the Santa Maria della Salute Church in Venice, Itlay at the end (or beginning) of the grand canal depending on ones point of view. Want it? It's for sale here for only $95!