Today was spent starting the refining process on the mural bridge. I will (most likely) be completing it on Thursday (I have Wednesdays off). More major objects are scheduled to get roughed in on Friday. Lots to do!
See you at the wall!
Today at the mural was spent refining more areas, as well as completely changing others (though the subtleties might not be evident as yet). More work tomorrow, and the new news is I plan to stay on-site for a couple of additional weeks in order to provide a finished product I am happy with. More tomorrow…
I decided to do some undercoating on the waves today at the mural, in addition to starting the correction process on a few adjacent areas. There are sections now that I am rethinking; we’ll see how much time we have to make these changes (or not).
Have an excellent weekend and see you on Monday.
Today was “poshing up” and altering more small sections of the mural in preparation for some big changes to happen next week.
The weather held out today, which is a surprise for Florida in the summer. I’ll be back at the wall in the morning; stop by if you’re in the area! (west-facing wall of Honka Automotive: 1266 Court Street, Clearwater, FL).
Added some details on the mural today as well as cleaned up a few areas. Had a rain storm “come out of the blue” towards the end of my day, which meant the newly-painted areas ran.
This was a minor setback, but I waited out the storm and corrected the damage. I’ll be back on Thursday to be painting more details—it’s slow, gradual progress at this point. Still have several weeks left on site.
Start of a new week! Today was interesting for a variety of reasons, the most significant of which is that business is BOOMING at the site of the mural, Honka Automotive! There was so much business that some cars were double-parked. This is what I like to see! 😀
As far as the realm of painting goes, due to the amount of traffic (good thing), I could only position my scaffolding in a couple of areas. Consequently, I worked a little on the buildings, but spent the remainder of the morning on the bridge. I’m glad, as it’s now finally starting to take shape!
I had several guests stop by today, the most interesting of which was a man atop his Harley on a sojourn from Illinois. Beautiful bike and very nice man. He made a u-turn just to come in for a closer look and to let me know how wonderful it made him feel when he crested the hill. I love people going out of their way to convey this kind of feedback! 😀
As an added note, my original estimated target date of completion (July 31st) of the mural has been shifted into the future by about two weeks. So, invite one and all to come down to Honka Automotive (1266 Court Street in Clearwater, FL) and see me—a live artist-in-action—most weekday mornings. I’d love the company, and the mural is so vibrant up close!
I’ll be making a small paint run early in the morning; I really feel like adding some new wild and crazy aspects to the mural, but there is an order to everything, so we will see. 😀
Hope everyone is refreshed from their weekend off and had a great start to the week. See you tomorrow!
This is a rather late post from Friday; WordPress experienced some downtime.
As you can see, I’m still working on many little touch-ups and alternations here and there on the mural; Friday’s work ended up being primarily about the sun.
Due to the lateness of this post, it is short and sweet. 😀
I will see you all tomorrow after that day’s work.
Today was bright and sunny at the mural—in complete contrast with yesterday’s full day of rain that occurred in my absence. Good timing on my part! 😀
I spent all day roughing in a lot of details in many areas in preparation for some large additives that will be occurring next week. This is the part of the process where it can feel like you aren’t making much headway. This is due to the areas being addressed are so much smaller than the earlier stages. You just have to stay on task, keep patting yourself on the back and acknowledge the progress.
This entry is being typed up late tonight (almost midnight), so will be keeping short this time around. I’ll be back at the wall tomorrow morning and possibly either Saturday or Sunday. I have so much yet to do!
Thanks for being there. We’ll talk more tomorrow.
This morning I realized that I’m playing a kind of chess game out here with the elements. Always trying to second guess what the weather has planned and whether I’ll get a particular mural section dry before the raindrops decide to fall again. Definitely keeps me on my toes!
The rain did have the upper hand for a large part of the morning, but I triumphed by around 11 o’clock and was able to get a decent amount of paint on the wall.
Because of the intermittent rainfall, I was restricted as to what I could paint. The very short list included reaching all those not-easy-to-reach areas located under the eaves. These sections needed to be done, so what better day than a cooler one? 😀
Truth be told, today wasn’t one of my most spectacular days at the wall. In addition to the elements (and taking care not slip and slide on the scaffolding), I managed to run out of one of my mixed colors. 😦 Though this isn’t necessarily tragic, it’s always a minor setback when you realize you’re out of the base colors you used for mixing in the first place. Sigh…
So, what I did manage to get done today was blending all the remaining high sections and two red-to-orange areas, and well as beginning to define the bridge supports. The good news is today marks sealing up the last unpainted areas (finally)! All remaining white areas are exactly that: painted white (for the moment).
I had two new faces at the wall today; one was a gentleman who had been shopping up the street, noticed the mural and decided to walk all the way down the hill to tell me it looked great. Thanks, Gerry. 😀
Also, fellow Clearwater resident and Facebook friend, Sherry Van Hootegem stopped by with her adorable little dogs. It ended up being a quick visit—the rain started in once more—but she did mention she reads my mural posts daily, which means a lot to me. Thank you too, Sherry! 😀
Tomorrow I’ll be off again (as I am each Wednesday,) but will return the day after, bright and early. Positive weather thoughts for that morning!
Have yourselves an enjoyable middle of the week and talk to you again on Thursday!
Today marks the twentieth day since the morning I first drove into the parking lot of Honka Automotive and took a pencil to the bright white surface of this soon-to-be Clearwater mural. Time has flown!
I actually did the math rapidly in my head: I only work in the mornings/early afternoons, put in an average of around 5 hours each time I’m at the wall, so that equates to roughly 100 hours, or only 4 full days that I’ve been painting. Again, amazing!
When I arrived early on this 20th day, I had a mental list of all I wanted to get done and in what order, and promptly tossed it aside. I went to the complete opposite end of the mural and started there. Spontaneity, you know? 😀
So, to begin, I roughed in some palm trees and a bit of roadway. I then filled in a couple of needed second coats in several areas, as well as adding some touch-ups here and there.
Oh, yes! I had another fine artist stop by my worksite today: prominent Venezuelan artist, Salas Davila. He was a bright and bubbly gentleman who could not speak English, and I very little Spanish, but we ended up having a nice conversation anyway. 😀
Salas is an internationally-recognized figure in the arts, and I was very happy to make his acquaintance. He currently resides here in Clearwater, and is excited about creating and displaying his art in this area. My best wishes to his continued success!
And, as far as all the other individuals who are making a positive effect on me and my work, I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my family and close friends, in addition to all my many friends on Facebook, my blog, etc., who daily leave me the most fantastic comments. Thank you. 😀
Ok! More changes to be occurring at the wall tomorrow, so once again, nice to have you along for the journey and see you then!
Welcome, Friday the 13th—always a lucky day for me! Today was so wonderful to be up painting with passersby shouting to me from their vehicles, “Looking great!” and “Beautiful!” These remarks are SO encouraging! Thank you, all. 😀
When I first arrived this morning at the mural, I decided to just dive right in on the blending of the main sections of yellow and orange. I know many people were waiting for this moment as well. 😉
I still have the upper, can’t-quite-reach sections yet to do, plus several coats of additional layering, but so far, so good, yes?
I worked on those two sections – back and forth – until the wall heated up to where the paint was no longer fluid enough to move around properly.
That brings up an interesting point, and one that many would not consider: The paint on the wall dries very quickly – oftentimes TOO quickly – due to the surface temperature of the wall itself. This coupled with the drying wind, makes it very interesting in one’s attempt to keep the paint sufficiently wet for blending.
I addressed some of the physical and environmental factors in Florida exterior mural painting in my earlier post, An Article on Endurance. So, the above now stands as an additional example: if one hopes to do this type of paint blending during the summer months here on a wall situated as this one is, it must be done before about 10 o’clock in the morning. Just a fact.
After the blending stage, I boldly scribbled in a few lines under my 40′ brown horizontal “stripe” on the wall and ascended the scaffolding to start applying more color. Enough was added, I believe, so that there is not one remaining Pinellas County resident who has any doubt as to “what that stripe is”. 😀
Oh, yes: I met two very interesting people today. The first was another visual artist – the very first to come out to my project – by the name of Jon Lee. Very nice guy who is very interested in doing mural work in the area. We’ll be putting our heads together in the near future.
The other gentleman was Charlie Littlejohn. He’s lived in Dunedin all his life, and if his name sounds familiar, it’s because of the work he does in his community, in addition to being the husband of Susan Littlejohn, a very well-known and well-respected real estate broker here in Dunedin. Charlie and I had a very nice chat!
Well, once again I plan to take the weekend off. I’m very excited about next week’s work at the mural, however; a lot of changes will be taking place!
Have an excellent two days off, everyone! Be sure to enjoy it with family and friends.
See you Monday!
Today was all carefully planned, but ended up bringing one of my very own sayings to life: “Anything can change, and everything will.”
I got to the wall, had one hard look, and decided that a couple of hitherto (and large) “unchangeable” areas just weren’t working for me. And so, they changed. The overall “flow” of the mural is better for these adjustments, I feel.
Tomorrow will be my last day this week of working on the project. I feel as though I’ve lost some traction what with being off for two days. I will have to come up with an excellent strategy to “make up for lost time” over the next week.
I’m also hoping the weather decides to dump its moisture over my two days off this weekend so that I won’t be chased down from my scaffolding again on Monday. It’s looking more like the first week of August before I complete, what with the rains coming in for a daily visit as of late.
BUT, I’m optimistic as ever, and will give it my all again tomorrow. 😀
Speaking of which, I will see you then…
One of many beautiful sunset shots I took this evening in Dunedin, Florida.
Fresh off of a relaxing weekend, I put in some extra time today. It always feels good to be back painting!
The thunder and lightning made for a more interesting day on the wall, for sure, but since the storm was moving slowly in the opposite direction, there was no reason for me to stop the process.
I thought about not posting a photo today, as when the embellishments start there will be days when it won’t look much different from the last. For me, of course, even the slightest of changes are noticeable, and that coupled with having spent many hours elevated with brush in hand, there’s never a question in my mind as to whether I “did” anything. But, for the casual observer, it might seem otherwise.
I had a nice chat with a NAPA parts deliveryman today (the mural is on the west-facing side of Honka Automotive, here in Clearwater, FL). He asked me many questions about the making of a mural, and told me how much of a welcomed sight it was when one rounded the curve at the top of the hill. Very nice to hear. 😀
Today was filled with refinements which will have a full two days to dry. You won’t see me at the mural tomorrow or Wednesday; I have previous engagements to attend to, but will be back bright and early on Thursday.
If you’re in the area on that day, do stop by and say “Hi!”.
The Making of a Mural: Daily Chronicle by Tampa Bay Artist, Ana Livingston
Well, for today I had all sorts of marvelous plans of what I was going to pull off in the first three hours, but once I got my nose to the wall I realized that much of it needed a little sprucing up before the required layering I talked about yesterday.
It’s always best to make these types of large changes and additives at this stage of the process, and that fact coupled with the surface having the entire weekend to dry just made too much sense for me to do anything else.
I did tweak several other small things over the course of the day, but they would be detectable to only a few, so today’s progress photo really didn’t look much different than yesterday’s until I decided to take it from a different angle. 😉
Monday starts a whole new phase of the mural: the detail work (well, in addition to the remaining layering required). This is when concentration is key.
It was interesting to talk with one of the technicians today (at Honka Automotive, where the wall is,) as he thought I was on the last leg of the project and would be wrapping up next week. I told him that in actuality I was right around halfway. He was astonished. Yup, a lot left to be thought through and created.
I had over a half dozen friends stop by today, which was wonderful! Pretty soon I’m going to have to bring in some benches, set up a BBQ, and serve refreshments. Now, wouldn’t THAT be fun? 😀
I’ll be taking the weekend off, as usual, hanging up my superhero tights and being just me. I’m looking forward to it. In addition to “real life”, I do have two weeks of paint application to visualize before Monday morning rolls around and the paintbrush beckons.
I also wanted to state that I have thoroughly enjoyed the feedback I’ve received via emails, texts, on Facebook, my blog, in person, and elsewhere. It really feels like you’re all along for the ride and is so encouraging. 😀
Have yourself an excellent weekend—remember to have some fun!—and see you all on Monday!
Today started off great! The sun was shining as I was sewing up the last sections on the wall. I felt refreshed after having yesterday off, so was ready for a full five-six hours of brush work.
Well, that was until just before noon when the incessant rains kicked in. Hello, Summer (yes, the summertime is the rainy season here in sunny Florida)!
Not all was lost, however, as I have only a small section of the entire wall space that does NOT have a first coat on it. This is progress to me! 😀
I had three more friends stop by today–Mark and Linda Ferguson, as well as good friend and Tampa Bay preeminent pianist, Norman Thalheimer. Thank you, all!
Tomorrow I will be spending the first part of the morning mixing up some new colors. I have large sections of layering yet to do, and it requires variants of the existing base color. I am just hoping the rains stay away until at least mid-afternoon!
A snapshot of tomorrow will be to get all base color on the surface, quickly following by some gradient colors. Essentially, I would like to get the wall set up for me to go full bore on the first details starting Monday. It is still my plan to have the mural complete by the end of the month, so positive thoughts on me staying on track!
I’m hoping everyone enjoyed their middle-of-the-week day off. I certainly did, as not only was it a national holiday, but also my son’s birthday. 😀
July 3rd at the wall! Today not only marks the eve of the anniversary of the beginnings of national independence for this country, but also the day that the objects on the wall of Honka Automotive, here in Clearwater, FL are actually growing together and becoming one. 😀
It’s my tenth day of applying paint, little by little, and I think now it has come to a point— finally— where one can see what a good share of it means.
I had a very good friend stop by the wall today; hadn’t seen him in a year or two. Thanks for coming all the way down from Ohio for the visit, Paul! ;D Also, thank you, Jan, for dropping by. We’d seen each other taking walks near the Intracoastal, but today it was nice to officially make your acquaintance!
I’m off tomorrow, enjoying the day with family and friends, but with both Thursday and Friday left in the week, I plan to ensure the entire surface gets a couple of coats, and then the fun begins: detail work!
A big THANK YOU goes out to all who stop by, drive by, and/or have their thoughts with me. All of you are appreciated!
Have a great 4th!
At the mural this morning I got the distinct feeling that Florida did not want any of us to forget that summer was here. 😀 Regardless, I did get more color put in and the ever-needed second and third coats where they were due.
I was very happy to see more friends drop by; that always brightens my day! I’m constantly amazed at just HOW many people are keeping tabs on this artwork. It is, by far, the most vibrant mural in all of Clearwater— that is for certain! People are LOVING the colors!
I’d also like to take another quick moment and thank all the “guys” here at Honka Automotive. They are always there when I need a hand, and are a joy to work alongside. They are the best!
Tomorrow I plan to get in even more color. I am thinking that will be the day when the mural will start to come alive; where things will start to congeal.
More on my progress then…
Arts & Cultural Information in the Tampa Bay Region (featuring Artist, Ana Livingston)
It has been interesting, over the years, to hear individuals’ thoughts on the difficulty of doing exterior murals.
I would say on a whole that their views are split about 50/50. About half think it’s a walk in the park (“I mean, how hard can painting be?”), with the other just standing in amazement.
The fact of the matter is the reality differs from person to person, season to season, job to job.
I’ve worked on what I would consider substantial jobs (120′ horizontal walls on a graveled decline, meaning extreme attentiveness as well as four stages of scaffolding at the bottom,) to a 6’x6′ piece I could do standing on a 2-foot step ladder.
One of the biggest factors, and one most don’t consider, is the hoisting of one’s body weight up one, two, three or more stages of scaffolding dozens of times each day. And then there’s the obvious climbing back down, using the already-weary muscles. This coupled with the pure exhaustion of being out in the elements for hours on end can have quite a cumulative effect.
Another aspect most never think of is the fact that once you are up on scaffolding–which you are entrusting with your very life and never, ever, forget for a moment–is the fact that muscles are constantly tensed: legs and pelvis for support, torso for control, and ultimately your arm and hand for accuracy.
Additionally, you’d be amazed how one must contort their body–and hold it completely still–for entire sections of precise work. There are other instances, and any artist doing large murals can attest to this, where one must simply use their other hand. Now, I am left-handed, and am obviously very adept at using it artistically. BUT, there are always points in large projects where one really must employ the other hand. This action adds its own stress factors.
The other elements, literally, are the heat index, rain, wind, etc. These can have a profound effect on you, especially when you are elevated and at the wall’s edge. Winds are funneled which contribute to stability issues, and tend to rapidly dry out the paint; all in addition to leaving you physically parched.
Of the elements, the sun and heat are the largest factors. I currently limit my mural painting to that time of day when the sun is NOT directly beating down on me. This is just common sense, but even with that tactic I am not escaping the humidity (or, in the case of mural creation in Florida during the summer months, extreme heat anyway). The overall heat issue can be unbearable to many, but I just take it in stride.
Now, I’ve only talked about some of the physical and environmental factors extant in executing a mural. The rest are mental and artistic. When you are up in the air ten, twenty, or more feet and are standing two feet from an enormous wall surface, one CAN get lost in it. An artist has to continually “view” the entire work from, say, 30′ back from the wall. This is an interesting concept for sure, but without this ability, one would spend ¾ of their day climbing down and stepping back to see what they need to do next. Not very efficient. One has to maintain an overall sense of where everything is and their exact strategy on what comes next.
My current mural has an additional ingredient that makes it even more demanding. The original concept art was 8.5”x11”. I have had to recalculate that out onto a 9’x55′ wall. All this without throwing anything out of proportion. I’ve drawn in markers on the entire surface, but with many things, what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate into the real world. All this is to say that there are constant refinements and alterations taking place as I paint. Yes, more to make the project interesting!
In closing I want to add THE most important point in all of this: it is done very happily and for the sheer love of the work. This is my most favorite of art forms, and the gratification that comes back to me, when people go out of their way to tell me that the mural has touched them, is enormous. But even with that said, I don’t do what I do for me; I do it for anyone and everyone with the hope that it uplifts them, if only for that moment.
The Making of a Mural: The Mural Chronicle of Artist, Ana Livingston