My summer days are currently filled with a project for the high school where I teach. The principal of my school approached me a few months back with an idea to paint the high school’s crest on one of the large blank panels in our main commons area. Although this panel might look small in the photographs, it is five feet by eight feet! This is the largest painting I have ever worked on.
When I create my abstract paintings, my strategy is much different from how I approached this project. My process has been carefully planned because I cannot mess something up that was this huge! Using a digital copy of the crest, I projected the image on to a five foot by eight foot piece of paper and traced it. I then attached carbon paper to the back of this enlarged image and attached the image to the panel. Pressing hard over the lines with a pencil transfers the image to its new surface. Two hours, two pencils, and two numb fingers later the image was on the wall!
I started painting on the third day. The red paint requires a minimum of four coats and I have to allow at least two hours of drying time in between coats. I spent the rest of the day repainting the banner that is above the crest.
I made hugs strides on the fourth day by painting most of the preliminary layers of the crest. Completing so much preliminary painting allowed me to arrive the next day ready to build the layers.
That brings me to the five an a half hours that I worked on the painting today! I started with another red layer of paint in the morning so that I was able to paint a third layer in the afternoon. The bulldog required three layers of gray paint and then I had to repaint the black lines to give it definition. I also completed the first layers of gray on part of the shield and the foliage around the shield. This project has taken me 23 hours so far and I expect that it will take a least ten more hours to complete.
I am having a blast with this painting! Not only do I get to do something I love, but I also get to operate and paint on the cool lift shown in the photographs!