Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mural Update

With the year coming to a close, here's an update about our mural progress. Over the past several weeks, Hannah, Jessica, and I have made a ton of progress on the mural and learned lots of things along the way too, like when Mrs. Rossi says house paint must be blended together when both colors are wet, that means do it that day or you'll have to repaint it all again the next day, that when you go to buy house paint you need to know what gloss you're looking for (or you'll be making another trip), and that no matter how neat you try to be paint will splatter and drip.

Last blog post we had just finished brainstorming ideas and painted the background color, our next step was to sketch our design on the wall. I was dreading this part, but it turned out to be really simple - we borrowed the ELMO and projected Jessica's design on the wall and then simply sketched it on in chalk.
Color scheme we chose

Then we had to figure out color placement, so we each took a blank copy of Jessica's sketch and tried different color combinations. We decided on Hannah's, which utilized bright complimentary colors to make the leaves pop out from the background and each other and gave the wall the desired whimsy.

Most recently, we've been blocking in the leaves in the colors we decided on. We've made some changes along the way as our ideas evolved, and as we saw how the colors appeared side by side on the wall. The most critical part throughout the whole endeavor has really been the incorporation of values. We started off with leafy green elodea-like plants, and realized that the values would really have to be very intense and exaggerated to give the mural the depth we desired. Now we have almost all the leaves blocked in, and we are going to paint in bubbles and fish with the last few days we have this week.

Successes with this project - One of the most important aspects of this project for me has personal ties as well as the obvious artistic ones. Through working on this project, I've reevaluated the role of art in my life, from a creative outlet, to something more, something that can impact others as well . It's been a fantastic opportunity to get to work on something this visible that touches so many people. Instead of working hard on a piece for hours and then setting it aside in a portfolio, I get to see people react to our work everyday, an experience which has reinforced the important role of art in my life and the lives of others. Other teachers have mentioned wanting a mural in their room, and now when the three of us are walking down the hallways, we notice the blank stark walls and think about what a difference even just a little bit of color could make, how much more welcoming the space would seem. Needless to say, collaboration has played a huge role in this project, not just between Hannah, Jessica and myself, but also with the teachers involved. They've given us their feedback as we worked, and Hannah even  set up a comment board on the door to the room which has enabled us to receive feedback from many other students as well.

We've had a few bumps along the way, at first we really had trouble blending the colors of the background the way we wanted, as both portions had to be wet. After the first few days we figured out that if we worked in teams of two blending the two shades together we could achieve the look we desired. Additionally, there are a few leaves we've painted over multiple times, as the first tries were to dull or, in one case, too similar to the background color, and so made the leaf behind it look as if it had a hole in it.

In painting this mural, I've had the opportunity to become part of a community I would never have otherwise. Never having taken a computer class, I wouldn't have even entered room 605, let alone spend many hours there. I've gotten to meet new people and see the manifestation of others' hard work in areas of interests different than my own, such as video game creation. I've gained an appreciation for how people with different skills and interests can come together and create something beneficial to both - we, the artists, gain experience and the classes and teachers gain a colorful addition to their room.

There are still some final touches left, bubbles and fish and the border of our portal to the sea, but here's our current progress.