Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Muriel is an English name derived from Celtic elements meaning "sea" and "bright"

It always cracks me up when people call them muriels. This client didn't, she understood what she was asking for. This five foot tall and four foot wide mural is in her bathroom now. The funky thing is, the viewer will never be this far away in order to take in the big picture. In fact, the skewed perspective is in order to compensate for the fact that this is in a very narrow space and the viewer is right on top of it. . . no more than three feet away. The client wanted it to be like one was looking out a window; in fact, she will be framing the mural in, just like the doors and windows in the bathroom.

While I was painting this, I started to recall some story about some sort of painting competition that was held during the Renaissance. I don't know if this story is true or not, but it will be, once I outline it. As I want to tell it, Caravaggio is in a battle-of-the-brush with a popular hack of the time. They each get to hang their paintings on opposite walls of a long corridor into a church. The hack on the left goes home and paints the twelve stations of the cross in a gorgeous and flamboyant style. Caravaggio, on the other hand, paints his suite on the right as if people will be walking past them. Caravaggio considers the average height of the horizon line and that the viewers will be "entering" each canvas from the right, as they walk down the corridor. The big C wins the competition because he considers the context of the paintings and they are received more favorably.

While I was painting this, I got the bug to paint bigger. Painting with your entire body and dancing back and forth is really fantastic. Too bad shipping paintings from Ashland is such a hassle. The Marji Gallery in Santa Fe has moved into a big new space and the walls there are intimidating. Maybe I should consider the un-stretched method like Sharon Butler.


Mary Addison Hackett said...

Muriels? For a moment I thought you were referring to a flower genius.

Re: unstretched. Yes, Ms. Butler's unstretched got me thinking too, though I did that it many moons ago and again- once, not too long ago. The key for me is in the proper care immediately following. ie, roll it up on a tube, which means stocking up on tubes and having a wall for drying time (oil). Also, working on more than one at a time and the lack of spontaneity involved in moving them around and rotating them at all angles proved counter productive. Ergo, in my case, their limp and static presence proved ultimately fatal without an adequate aftercare plan. Deceptively carefree at first glance. You seem like the kind of guy who would have figured all that out ahead of time though. Studio life is sometimes unnecessarily complicated for me. I felt he need to share that.

The Marji Gallery looks gorgeous.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

^ apparently, so is typing.

Steven LaRose said...

Oh. . . I hadn't thought about the moving and storing factor. You've scared me off.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Unprimed acrylic would be the hassle-free way to go. A sheet of drywall or plywood would solve the moving around thing, but still. Mine from long ago were destroyed. The one from a few years ago ended up as a drop cloth. Low-maintenance on the front and back end, but high maintenance in-between, depending on your game.

lucy mink said...

what if you kept it to three ft by 4 feet or smaller, for shipping purposes, maybe that would not be to bad