Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Purple, it needs more purple …. murals for Chris Ofili

I got an email from Scenic Arts Studios in March asking if I knew any painters in Aspen. Now that's a loaded question if there ever was one…. There are all kinds of painters but when it's a Scene Shop calling the question is "Do you know anybody who knows which end of a paintbrush to hold, how to mix colors without a swatch book, can climb a ladder, distrusts tools invented after Cromwell, shows up on time,  can paint in the dark, watched the Tony's (all the way through) , can quote lyrics to at least 3 Rogers and Hammerstein songs and knows what "a dead kitty on a stick" means?"

My response was predictable, "What do you need?"

My good friends at Scenic Arts did a full room mural for Chris Ofili's Night and Day at the New Museum in New York and now the show was traveling to the Aspen Art Museum.

Work in my hometown… with friends I hadn't seen in 25+ years?  Kidding myself that I could still work like a Scenic I said "Sure." Just my luck it dovetailed with the Aspen Ideas install. Well, at least that meant I could snag the inimitable Mr. Trumpler for a little work before we started at the Aspen Art Museum.

The concept is the film "Black Narcissus" …

1947 with Deborah Kerr in glorious Technicolor,  Production Design by Alfred Junge for which he won the 1948 Oscar  and Cinematography by Jack Cardiff who also won the Oscar.

Six Scenic Artists,  

Ron Gottschalk charge, 

and me (photo Allan Trumpler),  

four 14' high walls (40x70) and six days… 

here's the sequence:

Charlotte arrived early on Wednesday and mixed all the colors.

Full crew shows up Thursday morning. The walls have been base coated by the Museum and protective flooring has been laid down. We start by making a thread grid of 4' squares around the room. Joe and Deb Forbes - owners of Scenic Arts Studio and Studio and Forum of Scenic Arts show up for lunch in Aspen ….

Some cartooning (sketching with charcoal) is done on Thursday. On Friday we start laying in the first layer.  The trick is dark/ chromatic/ translucent over lighter opaque tints which keeps the glow in the paint.  Want the complete explanation of both the chemistry, the physics and the color theory? Go to your copy of Ralph Mayer or you could go to a personal favorite The Practice of Tempera Painting

Friday Sketching  and lay in continues….  

here is a video of end of day Friday:

Saturday… RAFT TRIP!  (No Joe, we did not die on the river)

Sunday… day off for the crew and a chance to see a little bit of Colorado.

photo Allan Trumpler

Meanwhile,  I plant some late potatoes with help from a couple of local young athletic gentlemen- could I sell this as "more than cross-fit"? Surely flipping a tractor tire isn't as difficult as breaking up my clay "garden" with a broad fork. It is the ab workout from hell.

Monday through Wednesday we continue with layers of color, glaze upon glaze to get that rich Technicolor glow… 

Ron giving us some direction:

Here's a video of the end of day Wednesday:

and some finished details from Thursday:

crates of Art ready to go on the walls….

All done… 
Time for an evening snack on the Mall… with some Folklórico music and dancing.

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