Mural work

I have made a few murals, but nothing compares to doing them outside.  It’s a whole new game for me. I’ve been lucky these past few days – no rain, nice weather, shade.  I can’t complain. This mural is being completed in a beautiful backyard in Washington, D.C.  Of course it features the water bodies that surround DC and run through it – the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, as well as Rock Creek.  This mural will also feature many landmarks and symbols that are important to the people who live here.  Here’s a little bit of my process, I can’t wait to show you the finished piece!

A blank wall, not for long.
I first laid out a grid.  Each square is 12×12 inches (one square foot).
Sketches, drawings, references, and water. (Gotta stay hydrated out there!)
In some places I wanted to do a little under painting.  This helped me to see how the proportions looked and also allowed me to see how the wall accepted my paint.
Started to lay in some water and color variations using different shades of blue.    Painting on this kind of a surface is a real challenge.  I use a lot of paint, and tough bristled brushes.
Some land going in around the water.  Lots of mixing colors right on the surface to create the different values.
I started drawing and under painting the different symbols and landmarks.
These will eventually all have color and lots of detail.

Stay tuned! More to come next week.

New work on view tomorrow!

Come see new work at the Workhouse Arts Center.  I’m really proud of this body of work.  18 new pieces on wood.  18 rivers of the world represented.  When I started creating these works my goal was to experiment with the textures of the wood.  How would the washes lay on top of the grain?  What if I treated the wood before I applied the paint?  What if I let the paint soak into the grain?  Although the rivers come from areas across the globe, the common theme is movement and texture… and flow.

New work

I finally started working on a series of new pieces on wood. I’m really liking the random textures I’m getting from the sealed and unsealed pieces.  I have never worked with wood before (I know, shocker.), but I’m trying to experiment with the grain.  I like how it creates a pattern and is already there before I even paint.  Some of the pieces have been sealed before, so the paint lays differently on the surface. Other ones I’ve left heavier brush marks of left the wood untouched so the color seeps into the porous surface. I’m liking the different reactions I’m getting.

I decided to choose 20 major rivers around the world.  I also decided to draw the river from the mouth (the end point).  It’s really interesting to follow these lengthy rivers on a map to find out where the origin is, and how most of these rivers run along borders of neighboring countries.  Almost all of these rivers actually run through several countries, making them hugely important to many cultures who build lives along the banks of these water bodies.  I think it’s one of the reasons why I choose rivers.  All civilizations start along water bodies, cultures grow up alongside of these important places and create their own systems of living.  Even though I’ve lived in many different places, I’ve always lived very close to rivers. Sometimes even blocks away.  There is something rich and interesting about waterways.  Symbolic and purposeful.

Textures, washes, shades.


Blue and green left behind on the edges.  Separating colors.
Still soupy and wet, will be adding more layers.
Grain and green.
Adding in some maps for my version of the Zambezi.