Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On "Sketches".

Hi All, 

So it goes with being a muralist that before they give me a chunk of cash to paint all over their walls, clients want to see a sketch of what it's all gonna look like in the end. This puts me in an odd position because really, I don't know what it's gonna look like in the end. Part of painting, is planning, yes. If I don't plan, and make a crap composition, I could waste a bunch of time painting in, say, a palm tree and put it in a weird or distracting spot. So I plan where to put it before I paint it. This is especially true in mural painting, where that palm tree could be 9 feet tall, and a two hour-long project. Planning is definitely important.

On the client's side, I fully understand the need to know what you're getting into before trusting me and paying me money to totally destroy your perfect "eggshell" colored walls. I've also learned that some people have a much harder time looking at a blank wall, and imagining what it could be as a mural, than an artist might. Not everyone can "see" this way in their mind's eye. Some people are able to tell me EXACTLY what they want, and if I'm lucky, I can translate those words into pictures for them, and they approve my sketches right away. Other clients will just simply say, "I trust you" and let me go after giving me a very basic general outline of what they want. Others have no idea what they want. Sketches are important because they help mediate what is inside my clients' brain, and how I interpret that with my own. It's an important process for a happy client and a happy me. I get that. Intellectually, I get that.

But so much of painting is about responding to what you've already laid out on your canvas, or in my case, wall. The way I paint at least, it's a little bit of planning, and a lot of trusting my guts and hands and reacting to the paint that's already on the wall. So in that way, sketches annoy me, because I want to just tell the client, "It will look like this SORT OF, but in the end, not really at all. But it will all be FINE, I PROMISE!" 

(...In re-reading all that, did I just accidentally write a deep and meaningful metaphor about life and having to find a balance between making plans and trusting your gut? Cool.)

Here's a couple rounds of sketches for my next project. This is something I'm SOOOOO excited to paint, I can hardly wait. (I feel like buying a couple new flat brushes to celebrate. I have a problem...) I'm just super into this one - the colors, the subject matter, the style that the client wants, everything about this. Anyway, the first sketch included all the elements the client asked for pretty much, but it just wasn't enough of a party and it needed a warmer color palette. The client also wanted to get a taste of how I might tackle the more expressive style that they wanted, which you can't really get from collaging actual photos. This isn't going to be a photo-realistic mural. So onto Round 2, which is the second one here. Still waiting for feedback on this one. 

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