Manda's Murals

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Manda's Murals

Post by Guest on Thu May 05, 2016 8:36 pm

So, February 22nd of this year, I quit my job of four years as a cashier at Price Chopper, to take a risk and start up my own art business, freelance. At first, I set it up as a portraiture business since I'm also very good at doing portraits of people and animals. But by chance, my mother asked me for help with a painting she was doing for her boyfriend's garage. He's a hunter and his garage is his man cave, very pristine, orderly and highlighting the things he loves - there's a Chevrolet on the one side, and upstairs is a pool hall with bar and filled with taxidermy animals from his kills, both local, and in Africa. Well, he wanted to do a scene of elk on one garage door and a scene of deer on the other. My mother being artistic agreed to the project but after painting the sky, grew cold of the footsies when it came time to paint the elk.

I dislike working with paints so, I was reticent to help but in the mood to take risks and let fate throw me new challenges and opportunities, I picked up the brush. I've worked with acrylics before but never oils, which had me nervous when attempting to paint this picture. At one point, I had flat brown on the elk's face and turned to her and told her I couldn't do it. With a bit of encouragement and the assurance that we could always paint over it, I went ahead and forced myself to the task. About 2 hours later, it looked like this:



So, thus began my discovery of this unknown talent I have to do the exact likeness with portraiture but also create it with oil paints. Something I had to learn while doing it. The paints we use are the Rust-oleum that come cheap in the cans and are for indoor-outdoor use and sold at the local hardware store. I don't use a palette but instead, prefer to mix the paints right on the canvas, putting first layer color down and then while it's still wet, adding different colors on top, mixing with the first layer to get the effects I desire. So far, I've made big bucks doing this and enjoyed every moment of the experience, each portrait presenting new challenges as the animals have different types of fur and such.


Size: 9' x 7'
Medium: oil-based paint
Time: 25 hours


Size: 10'x8'
Medium: oil-based paints
Time: 35 hours

Also some of the portraits that I have done:

Spoiler:





All of these were done on 9x12 paper and took about 3-4 hours to finish. My current prices are $10/hour for pencil portraits.




So that's what I'm up to now. So far, the work has been much more fulfilling and I make more than minimum wage for actual work that challenges me and fulfills me.


Last edited by Ten on Sat May 07, 2016 5:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Manda's Murals

Post by Guest on Thu May 05, 2016 9:00 pm

Dan, the current commissioner who has a monopoly on my time lately, has me working on more paintings for his garage. He wanted turkeys on the two doors on either side of his garage - a gobbler on the main door and on the other side of the garage, 2 hens. Like the deer and the elk, they would all kind of work together and bring a harmony to the murals. Thing was, the door has panels on it, like this and he wanted the turkey low to the ground. Not only would those panels be a bitch to paint straight over but also being low to the ground for a lot of it would have made the painting uncomfortable.

So, he got some fiberglass board, cut it to the right size, painted it red like the door and gave it to me to paint the turkey on. After we're done, he's going to screw it to the door.

So far, I've dedicated about 12 hours to the gobbler, who I've cheekily named Joseph of the many colored coat(I'm not religious but he's got iridescent feathers on him, and tons of them, so, it felt like it fit). I started with the face first because I was fascinated by the skin and textures of his face scrotum - his snood(little piece that dangles over his beak), his wattle(the neck and throat dangly bits that turn red when he's excited), and his caruncle(the nodules that cover the back of his head, looking like he's either got pimples on his pimples or major goosebumps).



But upon reflection, everything about this guy is layers and the feathers, from the perspective of how I'm painting him, follow a pattern where they overlay each other. So, after the head was finished, I changed gears and went for the last layer of tail feathers and am going to be painting each layer immediately after the next, so that they layer more naturally.



The feathers are super hard and nothing like how I dealt with the other animals. Actually each mural has been different from the last. The elk(Jimmy Olsen and Ginger) were fairly easy to start with because of the longish hair, my strokes had more freedom and could remain long.




The deer(Trump and Tina) were mostly done with stippling because of how short their hairs are.



The turkey's feathers are very different because they allow for neither strokes or short tiny dabs of the brush. It's actually, a constant adding of colors to make sure the variations of colors all get in there. I'm scheduled to go over there again tomorrow and Saturday and will have more updates on Joe the turkey. Aww

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Re: Manda's Murals

Post by Guest on Sat May 07, 2016 6:00 pm

So, finished for the week with Joe the turkey. It was a bit of a mixed bag going back after taking a week break(because of scheduling conflicts, I was not able to go over there at all the past week nor at all during this week until yesterday). On the one hand, the break helped me jump back into the project with both feet, completely stress free and my mind wandering but my body taking over. Half the time I was dancing to the radio and I'd step back and realized my hands had been creating magic without my supervision.

Spoiler:



On the other hand, all of my containers of paint were dry and had to be cleaned(which is fun because you get to peel the soft, yet dry paint out of the bottoms of the tiny plastic cups) and remixed. We got there about 3:30 PM and I didn't start actually painting until 6:30(half of that was me messing around and coming back to "right, I need this color and this color; do I need this color? or can I just have these 2 colors and be alright making that other color right on the board? Oooh! Starman is on the radio!").

Still, you can't argue with results. It was a beautiful combination of creative air space and exhilaration because I was conscious of not being focused on perfection. And yet being like "Meh. it's cool." acknowledging that it wasn't picture perfect, after moving on to the other feathers and treating each one this way...I'd step back and realized I actually had gotten it picture perfect. There's a disconnect from where I stand when I get into the picture perfect mode and observing a picture objectively. Because in pp mode, I'm zoomed in, seeing nothing but colors, the levels of variation. I don't see feathers, stripes, quills, or even shadow. It's blobs touching blobs to me in that mode and when it doesn't look exactly like the picture, I notice. stepping back... well... you can see it. It looks like I took actual turkey feathers and pasted them onto a board, overlapping them in a fan shape.

Anyway, I feel good about it and next is the black feathers on the back. There's some color in there that can be added once the paint is dry. After that, since they're the lowest point and underneath all of the other feathers, I'm probably going to work on the wing-tips.


Last edited by Ten on Sat May 14, 2016 6:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Manda's Murals

Post by Tartra on Tue May 10, 2016 11:50 am

Oh wow, those look really good! So you're doing this full-time now?
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Re: Manda's Murals

Post by Guest on Tue May 10, 2016 12:09 pm

Tartra wrote:Oh wow, those look really good! So you're doing this full-time now?
Thank you! Yep! I charge $15/hour for the murals, so keeps me busy and provides good bacon.


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Re: Manda's Murals

Post by Tartra on Tue May 10, 2016 12:13 pm

Very Happy Nice. Keep us posted on how the turkey comes along. The feathers look like a photograph!
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Re: Manda's Murals

Post by Guest on Tue May 10, 2016 12:25 pm

Tartra wrote:Very Happy Nice. Keep us posted on how the turkey comes along. The feathers look like a photograph!
Will do! And thank you, again! ^^

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Re: Manda's Murals

Post by Guest on Sat May 14, 2016 6:41 pm

Done for the weekend! I feel like I unlocked something last weekend. Like, I was very surprised how my self-consciousness took a backseat and because I was tired and feeling flighty most of the time, it made for a barely conscious working mode. Well, when I got there yesterday and felt the same way, I surrendered to it, eagerly and gladly, knowing what this feeling was and what it portended. And I repeated the scenario and had the same results.





This is where I decided to stop for this weekend. I prepped the next parts with solid color because the red paint doesn't take paint added on top of it very well. The mid feathers are going to be a bit of a challenge so I'm saving them for last.

Btw, this dude's just brimming with sexual energy. In full strut, male turkeys fluff up their feathers to display for the ladies. When my mom has gone hunting and made the female turkey call(which is actually just a box with chalked lid that squeaks over it very loudly), she's watched one of these guys come around, looking for where the bitches be at, fluffing himself up and strutting, just in case she might be looking even though he doesn't see "her" yet. They behave so adorably ignorant sometimes. Mamus will sometimes see them strutting out in the yard in the springtime early mornings and as soon as she opens the door and steps out onto the porch, these weenies smooth themselves down and run wildly away, like skinny nerds caught posturing before a mirror.


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