Friday, November 24, 2017

two hundred eighty-nine

This beautiful home is a blank canvas.
It was a tossup between a squid and a peacock.  But before which animal was decided, I had to answer the question as to whether or not I would paint a mural on Sara's house.  "Hell yeah," I said.  And with that we started thinking about the upcoming project for a private dwelling in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, GA.

This beautiful taped paper is a blank canvas.
Man, peacock with the eyes and the colors and the feathers or the three hearted squid with undulating tentacles possibly wrapping the house.  Such a tossup here.  Maybe both?  They both have beaks.  Peaquid.  Squeecock.  Erm, we decided on the peacock, because it reminds me more of Sara; her colorful life; and the mythological reference to Hera and Argus and 100 eyes - a majestic symbol of our friendship.  Oh and her old bungalow seemed to be painted just right for the addition of a colorful bird.

This beautiful design is the accepted version.
A couple of preliminary roughs were sent and accepted prior to traveling to ATL.  Time was of the essence -- winter weather would soon be upon us.  So if a mural was to be painted, the Fates would need to be kind, and allow us to arrive at a satisfactory design quickly.  The bulk of the design happened while I was down in Atlanta.   I arrived on a Monday morning.  We worked on the design pretty much everyday until Wednesday at 11am.  There were breaks in there somewhere to take in the nearby graffiti; enjoy the trampoline with her family during the Thanksgiving Break; and share a bottle of Four Saints Brewing Company's "Helping Hand Of Ginger Imperial Wit" beer.

Nothing like a little bit of pressure to derive the design -- we got the green light late Wednesday morning, procured the supplies, and started painting on Wednesday afternoon.  Drawing to scale the 32nds and 64ths of inches was the most time consuming.  I gave others a headache just watching me.
This beautiful team paints the (left) canvas.

These beautiful rusted cans inspect the front left canvas.
The rest is a blur.  A colorful blur of smiles, community help, and flying paint.  We started cutting in the large sections on the old wooden clapboard siding.  But let me back up a step -- Sara worked from home this week.  She had already pressure washed the house for the upcoming mural.  She made and received all sorts of business calls (she sets up local restaurants with food supplies -- a busy time during Thanksgiving Week).  As a co-parent she also hosted her children and neighborhood children throughout the week.  She also hosted said artist and his design meetings -- providing constant coffee, food, Dark-N-Stormys, and feedback.  Sara also put together a Thanksgiving meal for 15.  See what I mean by the goddess Hera reference?  And all fortified with laughter, grace, power, and elegance.  Yes, she made it look easy - and it was quite inspiring. 

The beautiful team assembles on turkey carving day.
Next thing I knew it was Wednesday evening.  The sun was about to set.  Work lights appeared and illuminated.  A space heater was ignited.  While stretched out on a ladder she hollered at me from the ground, "support is on the way."  Several more brushes got wet as I met neighborhood friends here to be part of the magic.  Painting a mural is one thing.  Painting a mural on clapboard, in the dark, and creatively directing others for the first time - is another matter.  Oh but the reassurance came from the patron.  "Les, you are so good at figuring things out on the fly and using all the resources available to you."  That's coming from the co-parenting, high volume salesperson, who parks in the middle of a chaotic train depot parking lot, because she can -- and then directs traffic to not only get her car out of the jam -- but others as well -- and looks absolutely, naturally fabulous while doing it.  Mad-situational-can-do-high-functioning-woman.

The beautiful almost-completely visible canvas.
They say the finished painting is but merely the residue of the creative process.  I'd like to cite this experience as a reference to this concept.  Yes, the mural is pretty cool.  It integrates vibrant imagery and color into the existing structure.  Image and house now coexist  and the viewer has to walk about the outside of the house to experience the entire mural.  But the process -- 50 hours of designing and redesigning during the week of the painting and previous R&D from within the local library.  And then all that magic during those hours of painting -- neighborhood folk stopping by on their walk to inquire.  Catching a glimpse of a car slowing down to take a better look.  The ethereal passing 'oohs and aahs.'  The folks at the paint store getting jazzed when they hear about the project and one employee's discovery that her children play with Sara's.  Constant feel good music from Sam Cooke, Leon Bridges, and Alabama Shakes  while painting with others.  Catching up with dear friends, and making new ones.  Sharing brush techniques with others from 20 years of painting and learning about new ways to paint too.  And finally, hearing from my patron how happy she is to know that she will walk up to this house and see the residue of these experiences.  Every. Day.

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